Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nima Nourizadeh|
|Written by||Max Landis|
|Music by||Marcelo Zarvos|
American Ultra is a 2015 American actioncomedy film directed by Nima Nourizadeh and written by Max Landis. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman, and Tony Hale. It was released on August 21, 2015, by Lionsgate.
- Jesse Eisenberg as Mike Howell
- Kristen Stewart as Phoebe Larson
- Topher Grace as Adrian Yates
- Connie Britton as Victoria Lasseter
- Walton Goggins as Laugher
- John Leguizamo as Rose
- Bill Pullman as Raymond Krueger
- Tony Hale as Agent Petey Douglas
- Monique Ganderton as Crane
- Stuart Greer as Sheriff Bernie Watts
- Lavell Crawford as Big Harold
Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) is a stoner who lives in Liman, West Virginia, where he works as a convenience store clerk, and is planning to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart). Meanwhile, in Langley, Virginia, CIA agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) learns that her rival, Adrian Yates (Topher Grace), has seized control of the Ultra Program, a secret project she started to create sleeper agents, and ordered the death of all current assets, including Mike. Lasseter then locates Mike in Liman through her former assistant, Petey Douglas (Tony Hale), and activates him through a series of codes.
Mike finds Yates’ men planting a bomb in his car and is attacked, but his training allows him to overpower and kill them. Horrified, he calls Phoebe, who reunites with him just as they’re arrested for the apparent murders. Yates sends two Ultra operatives, Laugher (Walton Goggins) and Crane (Monique Ganderton), to kill Mike and Phoebe at the police station, but they evade Laugher and kill Crane before escaping to the apartment of Mike’s friend Rose (John Leguizamo), who agrees to hide them. Yates places the city under lockdown and attacks Rose’s apartment using knockout gas. Rose is killed by a stray bullet, while Phoebe steals a gas mask from one of Yates’ men and rescues Mike, who had been exposed to the gas. When pressed for answers on her knowledge of the CIA’s tactics, Phoebe begrudgingly reveals she’s an undercover agent assigned to be Mike’s handler, leaving him heartbroken.
Laugher ambushes the duo and captures Phoebe, while Mike is rescued by Lasseter and brought back to his house, where he learns that he volunteered for the Ultra Program in exchange and had his memories erased. Yates’ men locate him, but Mike and Lasseter fight them off, prompting Yates to order a drone strike on the area. Douglas refuses to follow his orders and secretly reports the situation to Yates’ superior, Raymond Kruger (Bill Pullman). Mike contacts Yates and arranges to exchange himself for Phoebe at the convenience store, but, with Lasseter’s help, sets off a series of fireworks and dispatches of all of Yates’ men before fighting and defeating Laugher, who is spared when Mike learns he is a mentally unbalanced man forcibly conscripted to the program.
American Ultra was fun and sort of refreshing. A unique twist on the “unsuspecting sleeper agent” type of thing that has been done before. Few surprises, but some great laughs, and well choreographed fighting sequences make for a great all around film. The violence is graphic so youngsters might get grossed out, otherwise, this film has everything a good movie needs, and then some! 4.5 stars – MR