Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

American Ultra


A stoner – who is in fact a government agent – is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle.



Jesse Eisenberg – Mike Howell

Kristen Stewart – Phoebe Larson

Topher Grace – Adrian Yates

Connie Britton – Victoria Lasseter



If, upon exiting the cinema, someone asked me to sum American Ultra up in one single word, I think I would’ve automatically said, “PATHETIC”.

What we have here is a trashy, almost unnecessary attempt at comedy gift-wrapped in smokeable drugs. I say attempt at comedy.. this movie was fucking clinging to the genre for dear life, barely hitting the mark at all. It is difficult for me to pinpoint a specific scene where what was done or said genuinely made me laugh. Overall, the concept wasn’t bad; average stoned American is actually a high-tech machine-like assassin undernath. Simple. And produced in the right way could have delivered laughs-a-plenty by a very funny ensemble.
Unfortunately, the humour was tacky immature crap on such a bad scale you wouldn’t even find it in those particular TV shows that make you cringe with irritation at the awful script. Added to this was the script writer’s obssession with the word fuck. Evey other line (near enough) contained the word – there was a hell of a lot of fucking going on; even during scenes involving Victoria (Britton). The woman as a character was quite sultry – tall, dark blonde hair, grand posture, delicate features. But when she opens her mouth this ‘nice woman’ image is shattered, knocking her down the status ladder.

Believe me, I enjoy ‘fucking’ as much as the next fucker but for fuck sake – this was just ridiculous, almost like an in-joke amongst the cast where something happened involving the word or action ‘fuck’ and they decided to throw due to finding it funny.

Wasn’t funny.

2AB926E400000578-0-image-a-86_1437540023448Jamie-Lee Jesse

When I first laid eyes on the poster for American Ultra, I looked directly at:


..and thought of:

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 22.27.31

I swear, the man could be offspring of the famous Hollywood actress. His face seems to have the same ‘puppy’ features as Curtis; dark slitty eyes and wide mouth.
But, on the performance side of things how did he do?..

..same as he always does.
Jesse coasted through this movie just like he does in ever other; with a casual stance (slight hunch) and classic all-American teenage attitude. The actor is 32 in real life, but seems to radiate a teenage aura. It appears age doesn’t necessarily bring acting development though as the man portrayed Mike just how he portrays most of his other characters in different movies. His main habit being speaking to other characters in that classic ‘I’m better than you, I hold a substantial amount of intelligence which is on a higher level than yours’ voice. Let’s face it – Eisenberg is always the smart kid. In everything. And although playing the part of a stoned shop boy, he was more or less the same. I say more or LESS – because on the less side, there were one or two parts that he did actually seem different to usual; one part for example sees Mike and Phoebe laying on top of his car smoking drugs and talking about their lives. For once, Eisenberg was actually engaging – looking at his on-screen partner with mournful eyes and speaking in a soft, meaningful tone. A few tears also.. he actually pulled me in a little.


..and then it was suddenly back to that bowed head, arched eyebrows educated kid who stares at other characters as though they are a human mathematics equation he’s trying to work out.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 22.54.54

The Action

On the action scale of things, American Ultra wasn’t bad at all. Plenty of firey explosions, screeching vehicles, slick violence. And even fireworks. There’s even a fight scene which takes place in an ultra-violet basement hangout which is just plain weird; Stewart being the main entertainer as she tries desperately to escape (I laughed out loud at a close-up of her face as her features remain dark but her teeth glow shockingly white. Practically a human torch).
Yes – Stewart actually did something funny. It may sound like I’m picking on the two lead cast members, but I’m serious:
He always plays the smart kid.
She always plays the laid-back ‘doped up on romance’ girl.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 22.43.43Although she was basically the same as all her other features also, Kristen Stewart added a nice bit of comedy during scenes where it was needed. Disheveled hair and confused facial expressions added to this.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 22.45.38

Anyone else ever want Stewart to give us a character who is completely different?
I’m talking funny; running around dressed like Paris Hilton whilst screaming or giggling. (think Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde). We literally never get anything different from her.

American Ultra is a tacky piece of rubbish. Built firmly on a drug-inspired structure, the movie lacks any form of genuine moral or message. Ironically, there are plenty of substances flowing whilst the movie lacks any substance itself; it really is just guns, drugs and a load of swearing.
I’ll be honest – I hated American Ultra. I really did. I wouldn’t sit through it again if paid to do so. This movie was basically a producer throwing everything (that could be wrong) about a person at a drawing board, hoping it would make an entertaining watch. Yet in reverse, it had me shaking my head slightly and tutting – and my morals aren’t even massively high.

American Ultra contained a story that I couldn’t have cared less about. A lead character whose personality traits were nothing I haven’t seem before. Unnecessary dialogue and language. Irrelevant backing characters. And above all, those classic, “that just wouldn’t happen” moments whether the situation is a movie or not.
Oh don’t get me wrong, some viewers will be highly entertained by this movie – that’s the way of the world. But from a practical point of view (taking into account story, setting, acting, engaging characters, etc.) American Ultra is one to let slide.

..into the nearest bin if possible.

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This entry was posted on September 10, 2015 by .
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