(2 stars out of 4) 1 hour, 47 minutes
PLOT: A sniper, his autistic son, a scientist and a ragtag group of ex-military friends face off against an angry, king-sized predator. The latter has come to Earth to hunt another of his species.
SCOOP: The film – the 4thor 6th in the franchise depending on if you count the “Alien Vs. Predator” flicks — has a retro vibe but doesn’t feel dated. It also has more humor than past entries, giving it some entertainment value. That said, the picture seriously overstays its welcome. Although only 107 minutes, it feels longer thanks to standard action-movie tropes and a plot that isn’t inventive or special. Director Shane Black (“The Nice Guys,” “Iron Man 3,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) has a nice style, but he doesn’t overcome the fact that this movie is basically a standard-order guilty pleasure.
STARRING: Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane
DIRECTOR: Shane Black (“The Nice Guys,” “Iron Man 3,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”)
Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star in the action-comedy “American Ultra.”
Photo courtesy of EPK.tv
Critical rating: 2½ stars out of four
Directed by: Nima Nourizadeh (“Project X”)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo and Bill Pullman
Rated: R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, drug use and some sexual content
The story: “American Ultra” is an entertaining action-comedy about a youthful slacker (Jesse Eisenberg) who easily dispatches two assassins that attempt to kill him, leading to the realization that he is really a former CIA agent who had his mind wiped. His loyal girlfriend (Kristen Stewart) is along for the ride.
The scoop: There are funny moments, and director Nima Nourizadeh mixes them with sequences of brutally graphic violence. Viewers will have a good time if they can look beyond the glaring plot problems and focus on the solid performances and Nourizadeh’s emphasis of style over substance. Those who demand more from their filmmakers will see “American Ultra” for what it is: a lightweight Tarantino clone.