FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “True Memoirs of an International Assassin,” which stars Kevin James (The King of Queens [TV series], Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2), Zulay Henao (Fighting, Boy Wonder), Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy [TV series], Black Hawk Down), Maurice Compte (A Walk Among the Tombstones, End of Watch), Andrew Howard (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Limitless ), Yul Vazquez (Captain Phillips, The Infiltrator), Andy Garcia (The Godfather: Part III, The Untouchables), Rob Riggle (The Hangover, Dumb and Dumber To), Leonard Earl Howze (The Lone Ranger , Antwone Fisher), and Kelen Coleman (The Newsroom [TV series], The Office [TV series]). It was directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2, Never Back Down), who also wrote it with Jeff Morris (You Did What?, The Honor System [Short]). Sam Larson (James) is an action writer who is looking for a big break. Little did he know that that break would involve him being mistaken for a real life assassin. After his assassin-in-action book is published online, bad promoting leads people to believe that all what is written is real, causing the wrong people to kidnap Larson and force him to do their bidding.
Kevin James portraying a man pretending to be an assassin; what could possibly go wrong? I for one am a fan of Kevin James. Not many are, at least from observation of most people I hang out with, but I am always willing to sit down and enjoy a good James flick here and there (as long as it isn’t “Mall Cop 2”). When it comes to “True Memoirs of an International Assassin,” what you see is what you get. There’s nonsensical action, Kevin-James-esque comedy, and plenty of silly instances that don’t make sense. Whether you take enjoyment out of this wheelhouse of entertainment or not ultimately decides your overall impression of it. For me, I was entertained throughout. I knew what I was walking into, and I didn’t expect anything grand to happen. This is a simple popcorn watch, filled with some jokes that’ll make you laugh, but in the long run it leaves no mark. The story explores the typical tropes of an assassin action flick, with the added factor of fiction writing. There’s choreographed fighting, a hot woman, and a big set piece at the end to really top things off. It’s all bloated, all silly. Of course, I enjoy action movies; they make an actor a total bada** and provide killer scenes to replay over and over again. However, this was a rather lackluster feature. The character development is hollow, the pacing leaves no time for gripping moments, and the story derails the further you go in. Kevin James himself was funny; I always enjoy his performance, though he couldn’t hold up the weight of this film by himself (like he is trying to in his new series, “Kevin Can Wait”). Just about the entirety of this feature is mindless, as it has nothing deep or enriching to grow attached to. After the first act, everything went into hyperdrive, with James’ character being given many conflicting missions, meeting many different characters, and being pushed into action sequences that are either real or not (which, admittedly, was a nice touch). It gets jumbled, and doesn’t take time to slow down, save for a few “emotional” moments amongst characters whom we hardly gravitate towards. The first act was done rather well. It had smooth pacing and really built around James’ character, right up until he is first kidnapped. In fact, the beginning felt like the only part of the film that the writers took their time to work out. Granted, there are moments throughout the experience that are cool or interesting, but they are too few and far in between to make the plot noteworthy. I didn’t hate this movie; I was just dissatisfied. The story doesn’t attempt to reach out to audiences, but merely keep them occupied for one night with buds. I had some fun in watching this, as I do like Kevin James as well as action flicks, but I would not regard this as a must-see, let alone a recommended release. I could’ve seen this picture going in a better direction, as it does have an interesting concept, however the writers took the safe route, and it ended in a ball of fire. If you are a fan of Kevin James, you may like this outing. Otherwise, I’d point you out to “Zookeeper” or some quality episodes of “The King of Queens.” FINAL SCORE: 69%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: