In 2009, Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart teamed up for teen romantic comedy Adventureland and though it was an odd set-up on paper, the movie was a hit and now the two have returned for American Ultra, once again showing their on-screen chemistry.
A struggling stoner with anxiety, the film follows Mike Howell (Eisenberg) as his frame of mind confines him to his small home town. The best thing in his life is his girlfriend Phoebe Larson (Stewart) but she wants to their relationship to go to the next level. What Mike doesn’t know is that he was enlisted in the American government’s ‘ultra’ programme for sleeper agents and when the government deem him a liability and attempt to terminate his existence, his training is unearthed as he becomes more of a threat than anyone could imagine.
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh, director of Project X (2012), American Ultra is visually advanced with surprisingly artistic cinematography and some excellent action sequences, not forgetting the grand performances by Eisenberg and Stewart. The film also excels with its dialogue and has the ability to be significantly heart-warming for a genre of that doesn’t often have that aspect. Unfortunately for American Ultra, it does have a fair few flaws. For example, some of the CGI looks questionable, and some of the shots were just plain odd, though this doesn’t ruin the entirety of the film.
If you go to watch American Ultra, don’t go expecting a masterpiece of film. Instead, expect some strong performances paired with witty dialogue, explosive action, great visuals, and moments that’ll have you grinning stupidly. American Ultra tries to challenge the boundaries and conventions of the modern action film, and it completely succeeds.