“I’m the gringo that always delivers.”
Directed by: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson and Sarah Wright
Tom Cruise needed a win and he gets one here. Aside from the Mission Impossible franchise Cruise hasn’t exactly been dominating with his films. Critical reviews as well as box office results have been lackluster. American Made may change that streak. Although the box office hasn’t been kind the critical reviews have all been positive and I am one to join that train.
This movie is based on a true story about Barry Seal (Tom ‘biggest smile in Hollywood’ Cruise). A pilot for TWA, Seal has been looking for more. He starts smuggling cigars from country to country when the CIA picks him up. They’re not mad at the cigars but more impressed by Seals talents. They recruit Barry to fly covert operations for them taking reconnaissance photos of South American cartels. Barry is more than eager to sign up. He enjoys his new job so much that he then gets involved with the cartels themselves. He starts working for Pablo Escobar himself and begins running large quantities of drugs back to America.
Now is when the fun begins! Seal turns his little drug running operation into a legitimate empire. He moves his family to a small town in the south and quickly takes over. With the influx of cash he injects the town is more than willing to turn a blind eye to how exactly that money is obtained.
Now with a lifestyle that his wife Lucy (Sarah ‘steals every scene she is in’ Wright) can quickly adjust to, Barry gets hungry for more. He grows his operation to involve more pilots, more drugs, more danger and of course….more money! He obtains so much money that he runs out of room to hide it all. Don’t ya just hate when that happens?
Of course all good things must come to an end. Not only does he start to lose his government protected backing for all these trips, but also the cartels are starting to get a little antsy. He’s lucky to stay out of federal jail but still has serious trust issues from Escobar and crew. Despite all that danger what ultimately fails him is family, too many hands in the cookie jar and trusting too many folks. A pretty common downfall to many a villain.
This movie is a lot of fun. The acting across the board is well done, especially Domhnall ‘all grown up from the Harry Potterverse‘ Gleeson as the CIA contact. There’s a litany of aerial scenes with high intensity flight sequences. Plenty of action and near death situations that will have your attention throughout the film. Then there’s Cruise. He does what Cruise does best. He owns the screen, he flashes that smile and engages the audience in every scene. Per usual he does his own stunts and although there’s no running in this film he does actually land a plane by himself. Eat your heart out Harrison Ford.
The Mexican drug cartels are kind of the ‘flavor of the week’ in Hollywood right now and this film fits right in with them. This one though not from the law enforcement or cartel perspective, but from the middle man who made a fortune. Action packed and entertaining, I recommend seeing American Made.
7.5 out of 10