John Boyega doesn’t like what he sees in Detroit. (Annapurna Pictures image)

Reel Reviews: Murder Morals

We say, “Detroit is epic. American Assassin is near average”

This week, Taylor decided to review an excellent film about racism that possibly might be Oscar worthy in Detroit, a film you’ll have to find on your own. Howe reviewed American Assassin, a movie about a young American who decides to take matters into his own hands to gain revenge on the terrorists who killed his girlfriend while on vacation.

We say, “Detroit is epic. American Assassin is near average.”

TAYLOR: In the summer of 1967, Detroit police raided an illegal, after-hours drinking club. They arrested many of the patrons in a public display that raised the ire of the neighbourhood, which led to ongoing, escalating riots, looting and arson. The national guard was called in and for the summer of 1967, Detroit looked like a war zone. A curfew was instilled and a lot of people were arrested and hurt simply trying to live normal lives, already under the pressures of racial tension, poverty and crime in the big city. Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit is a forceful and direct epic translation of a particular day during this summer, where a few racist police officers committed an ugly crime.

HOWE: When I heard that Taylor Kitsch was in American Assassin, I thought “Oh no.” Now I can tell you, this is not a bad movie. In fact, it surprised me how good it actually was. It has action as well as some touching moments. With the Bourne film franchise, there is no dialogue from our leading man. Here, Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) delivers his lines well. I am not saying this is on par with the Bourne trilogy but it did keep me entertained for the just under two hours that it is on.

TAYLOR: Starring in Detroit are John Boyega (Star Wars:The Force Awakens) as a gun carrying security guard trying to keep the peace between the guests of the Algiers Hotel and the authorities who have arrived because of shots fired; Algee Smith (The New Edition Story) is a guest of the hotel and a singer who just wants to make it to Motown and make a million bucks. His smooth tones aren’t enough to soothe the jangled nerves of Will Poulter (The Revenant), a DPD officer who wants to know who fired the shots. Already on edge and full of adrenaline, this officer and a couple like-minded individuals get carried away with their interrogation techniques, resulting in murder. The film is sometimes uncomfortable and takes a little too long to end, but you won’t be able to look away.

HOWE: The story line of American Assassin is a little far-fetched, a little too packed together if you will. They crammed it full of action with car chases, fist fights and large explosions to satisfy the die-hard action flick fans. I just wished that they had made it slightly longer and a little less tidy at the end to zip it all together. Will they make another? In a way, I hope so.

Taylor gives Detroit 5 tigers out of 5.

Howe gives American Assassin 3 wedding ring necklaces out of 5.

— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears every Friday.