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American Ultra

American Ultra

USA 2015 - with Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, Bill Pullman ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:American Ultra
Genre:Action, Comedy
Direction:Nima Nourizadeh
Cinema release:15.10.2015
Production country:USA 2015
Running time:Approx. 96 min.
Rated:Age 16+
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Mike (Jesse Eisenberg) really only knows two real passions in his boring life: his girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) and smoking pot. He spends his days either on the couch or behind the counter at the local supermarket. But then something completely unexpected happens: when a seemingly strange woman (Connie Britton) says strange things to him, it activates something inside Mike. A short time later, the supermarket is robbed and Mike is able to fight off the crooks with incredible skills. As it turns out, Mike is a sleeper agent, highly trained by the CIA, who is now about to be wiped out. Reactivated by his former superior Victoria Lasseter, he must now face down the CIA's nastiest killers. And so he soon leaves a bloody trail in the small town that will reveal quite a few more dangerous secrets.

The idea that director Nima Nourizadeh (Project X) presents in his latest film American Ultra literally screams cult film: a notorious stoner is actually a dangerous secret weapon of the CIA. The young man who can't leave his small hometown because of anxiety issues and who draws comics about the adventures of a space monkey turns into an unstoppable fighting machine who eliminates one hitman after the other in a rather drastic way. At his side, the rather quiet girlfriend, who put up with his foibles with an angel's patience (and the odd joint), and who suddenly mutates into a fighting Amazon as well. Her opponents include an arrogant CIA upstart and toady (wonderful: Topher Grace) and a crazed assassin (delightfully over-the-top: Walton Goggins). These are all extremely well done and amusing ingredients that actually have some inherent cult potential.

Unfortunately, these ingredients are mixed together to create a not-so-spicy whole. The film is extremely entertaining, but overall falls short of its potential. This is because some scenes come across as too over-the-top, while others simply lack the necessary bite. This is a shame in that when this action stoner comedy works, it's really a lot of fun. That's not only because of the absurd story, but also because of the good-humored cast. Jesse Eisenberg is great as the fighting machine against his will and also Kristen Stewart, who once again works with very reduced facial expressions, fits her role perfectly. Especially when the humor is served a little blacker, the two and their co-stars really go into their game and ensure that the entertainment value is clearly screwed up.

With a little more speed at the beginning of the film, some more sizzling implemented jokes and a more biting basic tone throughout American Ultra could actually become a real cult film. It's a shame that it didn't turn out that way, to be sure. Still, there are enough positive aspects that make this slightly different Bourne variant an enjoyable cinematic experience. And so in the end, despite a few small hangs, it's still enough for a: Absolutely worth seeing!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "American Ultra (USA 2015)"
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