American Made: It’s Just Fine

Sure it’s based on a true story which sets some limits, but a change of pace here and there would have been much appreciated.


This is the story of Barry Seal (played by Tom Cruise), a tired TWA pilot recruited by CIA agent ‘Schafer’ (Domhnall Gleeson) to run reconnaissance flights in Central and South America. Over the course of the movie Seal evolves into gun runner, drug smuggler for the Medellin cartel, and informant for the DEA. Through all this Barry and his wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) raise a family and contribute to their community. As you can imagine, juggling so many jobs, things start to fall apart.

You’d hope that a film starring Tom Cruise and directed by Doug Liman (responsible for such action-packed flicks like The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Jumper, Fair Game, and Edge of Tomorrow) would have some excitement and good action. Especially if that movie is about a guy simultaneously working for the CIA, DEA and Escobar. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there was a lot lacking in terms of pace, excitement and much emotion of any kind. I left the cinema not really filming anything, but not quite feeling like it had been a waste of time.

The story is an interesting one and the actors play the characters well, there’s even a few decent laughs thrown in; but the film itself had no dynamics, it seemed to sit at the same level throughout. I can’t fault the actors for their portrayal, they were smart and most importantly believable; especially Sarah Wright as the wife, she was often skeptical of her husbands behaviour and was pretty vocal about it until he told her the truth.

More than likely it’s the script that has no flavour and lacks the changes in pace to make this film a little more intriguing. Unfortunately, in this case the story of Barry Seal has been narrated, but not really told.

Still better than The Mummy though….

‘Never Go Back’ : Splendidly Ordinary

‘Jack Reacher’ wasn’t really a film I was interested in, but I decided to check it out on Netflix one night out of boredom! I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a well done, edgy, action thriller. It also surpassed expectation at the box office too, which meant that a sequel would be inevitable.

‘Never Go Back’ follows on from the events of the previous film, which we follow Reacher (Cruise) trying to help exonerate one of his colleagues Major Susan Turner (Smulders) from accusations of espionage. This ends up with our hero being framed for a murder, on the run from the authorities, and discovering the revelation of a daughter.


One of the strong points of the first film was a story line that would slowly unravel the truth behind the shootings of the victims. Eventually finding out the reason to why they were killed, and who was behind it all, if was an engaging plot. The story here is a lot of straightforward, we know quite early on in the film who is corrupt, so that removes that thrill. There are 3 ‘villains’ in the movie, but only one of them is vaguely interesting, the aptly named ‘The Hunter'(Heusinger) who at least has some degree of tension with our protagonist. The other 2 are pretty forgettable.

The action scenes is where the film excels in, as will all film featuring Cruise, the actor will always give 100% in any role, regardless of the physicality. We sat in the new ‘D-Box’ seats at Cineworld, which move to offer motion feedback. This is the perfect kind of film to see how this new feature brings to life an action film. I have to say, that any high intensity scenes like a fight or car chase were really improved by the seats. That said, none of the action scenes are memorable, their highlights of the movie, but none really leave a lasting impression. It’s obvious to see that director Christopher McQuarrie from the previous film was missed, whose work includes wonders such as Edge of Tomorrow & Rogue Nation.

The introduction of the daughter (Yarosh) character seemed like a cheap plot device, only there to move the story forward by getting into trouble; she does have some moments to not feel like a total liability, but most of the times, you just don’t feel much for her. She feels like an inconvenience to the story, and one that the film probably could have done away with. The resolution to that particular story line was probably the best way they could have gone.


If the daughter was a bit of a miss, the introduction of Major Turner was most certainly a strong point. Cobie Smulders has done similar roles to this, such as Agent Hill in the MCU. But this was a far more powerful role, where she was perfectly capable to work and defend for herself. It’s not the kind of role Smulders is known for, but she did a tremendous job of it, and it would be interesting to see her do more of these roles.

The film isn’t as enthralling as the first, and the story-line is quite vanilla. But the leading duo are very strong here. The film also has several moments of humour, which helps the film a lot, and there’s enough action here to enjoy a night at the cinema.

Director : Edward Zwick

Starring : Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Aldis Hodge

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