Monday, September 12, 2016

Movie Monday: American Ultra

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had a rare weekend evening to ourselves, so we chose a movie - big occasion! We watched - and enjoyed - American Ultra, an action-filled movie with plenty of humor.

As the movie opens, Mike, played by Jesse Eisenberg, is living with his girlfriend, Phoebe, played by Kristen Stewart. Mike is clearly a stoner, working at the local convenience store in their small West Virginia town and getting stoned in his spare time (and sometimes at work, too). He seems to have some issues with anxiety, but Phoebe is supportive and Mike wants to ask her to marry him.

Their quiet, limited life changes in an instant when a woman comes into the convenience store where Mike is working and says some strange words to him. They make no sense to him (possibly because he is high again), and she leaves. Moments later, Mike goes out to the parking lot and sees two men planting a bomb under his car. They attack him, and his stoned lethargy drops in an instant as he easily kills both of them. He is left stunned, having no idea how he did that or what just happened.

It turns out (this is still early in the movie so no spoiler) that Mike is a sleeper agent for the CIA who has just been activated. Mayhem and hilarity ensue as two different factions race to get to Mike first, some of them bent on destroying him. Mike's CIA training is in conflict with his normal anxiety-ridden, stoned demeanor, as skills he didn't know he had kick into play.

This movie is just plain fun. The two lead actors (who were also together as a couple n Adventureland - a great movie) work very well together, and the supporting cast is very good, including Topher Grace and John Leguizamo. There are all kinds of secrets and surprises in store, both for the characters and for the viewers, so there is plenty of suspense to keep things moving. This is an action-packed movie which is not always my favorite thing, but in this case, it is paired beautifully with humor. So, yes, there is a LOT of gunfire, things blowing up, and other violent stuff here but set against Mike's typically chilled demeanor, there are also plenty of laughs and some warm moments, too. My husband and I both enjoyed this unique and fun rollercoaster ride of a movie.

We watched American Ultra on Amazon Prime, where it is currently free. It is also available on Netflix DVD (but not streaming). And it is on DVD.

The trailer kind of gives away a lot of the movie's best moments...but it is pretty funny, if you want to check it out:

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