American Ultra is far better than it should have been. The basic story – a stoner grocery store assistant (Jesse Eisenberg) is actually an advanced agent from a secret programme that was shut down before his memory was wiped – sounds like pretty standard fare and doesn’t really suggest a great film is in order. A fast pace, short running time and well-judged performances make it an enjoyable romp.
Eisenberg is well cast and it’s a wise move to keep him in reluctant stoner character throughout, though it would have been easier to make him magically turn into an alpha male. Kristen Stewart makes another case for the ATL (Anti Twilight League) to take her a little more seriously with a solid performance and there are great turns elsewhere from Bill “Was That Bill Pullman?” Pullman, Topher “That 70s Guy” Grace, John “Luigi Mario” Leguizamo and Tony “Loose Seal” Hale.Perhaps this film doesn’t justify a trip to the cinema, but when it hits the steaming platforms it should be near the top of your list.
American Ultra is out now at cinemas in the UK.