Tag Archives: CIA

American Assassin

Movie:  American Assassin

Rating:  4 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) had some tough breaks in his young life.  His parents died in a car crash when he was just 14, and his fiancé, the love of his life didn’t fare too well either.  So when life handed Mitch lemons, he decided to make some sour lemonade.  He created a personal training program that included firearms training, martial arts, and a knowledge of Arabic and Islamic theology to make himself a one man bounty hunter of terrorists.  Not surprisingly, this crusade of Mitch’s does not go unnoticed by the counter-intelligence wing of the CIA, and Mitch is recruited by Deputy Director Irene Kennedy to become a legitimate agent for the CIA.

Soon Mitch is whisked off to a top secret training facility in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia, where he and other wannabe agents are to be broken down and molded into killing machines by former navy seal and all around badass Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton).  Many are weeded out in the rough and tumble training site, but Mitch perseveres and is chosen for an overseas assignment.  The mission is a ballbuster, as terrorists are on the loose in the middle east putting together a nuclear device.  Complicating matters is the activity of a former CIA operative gone rogue known as the Ghost (Taylor Kitsch), who has a grudge against his former bosses.  So team leader Stan Hurley leads an operation to stop the latest terrorist threat, assisted by his maverick protégé Mitch and the very fetching Annika (Shiva Negar).

This is a terrific action film with a good plot and fine cast.  Michael Keaton is at his best as a tough guy trying to keep a rein on the impetuous rookie operative.  The action sequences come often enough to hold your interest throughout the film, but thankfully without a lot of special effects.   This film is a good one, and welcome as we await the next batch of blockbusters in November.

Mini Trailers:  Mitch to Terrorist – “I am prepared to die a martyr.”

Dep. Dir. Kennedy – “You wouldn’t have made it there another 20 seconds alive.”  Mitch – “I guess we’ll never know.”

CIA Director – “This kind of psych file scares the hell out of me.”

Stan Hurley – “You go down out there you’re a ghost.  No one is coming back for you.”

Ghost – “Thousands of Americans are going to burn, Stan.  All because of you.  Enjoy the show.”

Mitch – “You shouldn’t have come back for me.”  Stan – “Don’t get used to it, Kid.”

Stan – “What the hell you looking at?”  Dep. Dir. Kennedy – “You look like a mummy.”  Stan – “Yeah, mummies don’t have to write up a report.”


Kill The Messenger

Movie:  Kill The Messenger

Rating:  4 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   In 1996 investigative reporter Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) for the San Jose Mercury News slowly pieced together an amazing story.  Briefly put, Webb found evidence that the CIA was in cahoots with drug cartel types to transport huge quantities of cocaine into the United States in return for kickbacks of profits, which in turn the CIA used to finance and buy arms for the rebel units fighting in Nicaragua.  Of course, all of this CIA activity was highly illegal and very top secret.

The Mercury News prints the story…and all hell breaks loose.  Just in case you see the movie, this is the real message; what happens when a relatively small time newspaper breaks a major national story.   Especially when the government is the target.  Trust me, it isn’t pretty.

This is a taut well written movie that feels almost like a documentary.  It is a movie with a message, and you really feel for Gary Webb and his family.  This is the greatest democracy in the world, but there is still some scary stuff going on.  This film is not getting any marketing, but if you get a chance it is definitely worth seeing.

Actors To Watch:  You seldom get as many top actors in one movie to do supporting and cameo roles.  This film managed to get Andy Garcia, Robert Patrick, Paz Vega, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael Sheen and Ray Liotta.

Dialogue Nuggets:  “National security and crack cocaine in the same sentence; does that make sense to you?”

“I gave him six million a week – allegedly.  I was just an elf; Blandon was Santa Claus.”

“Now that you know the truth, you will be faced with the most important decision of your life; whether to share it.  Do you have a family?”

“My friend, some stories are just too true to tell.”