Dylan O’Brien has proven himself as both a blockbuster action hero and engaging leading man in The Maze Runner trilogy and last year’s hidden gem Love and Monsters, while he even managed to emerge unscathed from the wreck that was Paramount’s Mark Wahlberg blockbuster Infinite.
However, when an attempt was made to reinvent him as a straightforward square-jawed badass in a potential franchise starter, things didn’t go so well. O’Brien plays Vince Flynn’s popular literary creation Mitch Rapp in American Assassin, a highly transparent origin story for a rookie CIA agent who doesn’t blink twice when it comes to getting his hands dirty.
On paper, there’s plenty to like about the movie. Michael Keaton delivering grizzled exposition never gets old, certain sequences come bearing plenty of visual polish, and Taylor Kitsch is the surprising stealth MVP of the entire operation. Unfortunately, American Assassin was a bit of a damp squib.
A 34% Rotten Tomatoes score and $67 million box office total are not the numbers on which a multi-film series is built, so O’Brien’s tenure as Rapp ended up as a one-and-done effort. However, Netflix subscribers have proven ten times over that mid budget action thrillers are always worth checking out, so it’s not all that much of a surprise to discover American Assassin has infiltrated the platform’s most-watched list, as per FlixPatrol.