Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart play characters that seem familiar to their fans. Eisenberg is a quirky but gifted semi slacker and Stewart is a dead eyed, almost helpless girlfriend in tow. But their roles have certain twists that make the storyline of American Ultra stand out.
Mike is stuck in a small town with his girlfriend when he's targeted for death. He defends himself with deadly skills he never knew he had, resulting in bloody carnage.
American Ultra is a surprisingly enjoyable, spy type action jaunt made humorous with oddly fun characters. Eisenberg plays to his type of being a socially awkward misfit, keeping his trademark line delivery and attitude, then breaking his usual facade by being unusually physically effective. Kristen Stewart doesn't really flex much of her acting muscles but strong side characters pick up the slack. Connie Britton as the concerned overseer and Tony Hale the gay assistant are of note, as well as Topher Grace's yuppie malevolence and Walton Goggins as Laugher the deranged psycho. The script is pitted with amusing, if coarse, turns of phrases and the small, funny antics lightens this dark comedy.
The violence is quite graphic, the squelch of knifes and blunt instruments penetrating flesh is both off-putting and satisfying. There is not much extended hand to hand skirmishes but there is a cartridge full of gunfire and pyrotechnics. Action junkies would be satisfied; even though the fight encounters are short and speedy, they are sharp, sweet or quite shocking. The final battle is particularly brutal and there's even a hilarious animated super spy mission at the end.
American Ultra would be a hit for those looking to have a bloody good time with fun characters and explicit violence. It's a surprisingly engaging teen action flick, not too polished but charmingly rough around the edges that adds to the almost indie appeal. And Philippines gets mentioned at well, despite the misrepresentation.