In this latest Netflix exclusive Kevin James assumes the role of Sam Larson, an aspiring author and accountant who is mistakenly taken as an actual assassin following the publication of his novel as a non-fiction. As a result he becomes the target of the U.S. government, Venezuelan rebels, and a criminal overlord who all want him to do their bidding.
Netflix have funded and distributed documentaries that are on another level (13th, Into the Inferno) , they’ve been responsible for some truly fantastic programs (House of Cards), but they are really struggling to crack the feature film bit. Despite starting with the resonating Beasts of No Nation they’re heading down a slippery slope continuing to release the likes of The Do-Over and this latest 98 minute package of predictable story and bland humour titled True Memoirs of an International Assassin.
Despite how the film turns out come the credit roll, it actually starts with burgeoning potential. During an action packed opening scene that sees Kevin James assume the form of a human wrecking ball, fighting through a group of dastardly henchmen, we suddenly stall as he gets obliterated by an RPG. We then find ourselves with James’s character Sam Larson at a desk, it turns out it it was all just his imagination as he put the final touches on his novels climax. For a short while we to and fro between assassin action and author woes, as Larson tweaks elements of the story which he then plays out, and comes to a grinding halt when he can’t think of a good signature line to end the piece on. For anybody who has attempted to creatively write anything, it’s a funnily true moment that occurs all too often.
Then from the moment we permanently leave Larson’s imagination, when his novel is published under rather dubious conditions, it all goes downhill. His amusing thought process replaced by generic action comedy antics that do nothing to pump adrenaline, or raise a significant laugh. It’s a frustrating result to a film that started out well. If anything it’s the odd supporting role that offers a slight reprieve from the mundane main story. Kim Coates playing a corrupt Venezuelan president whose actually from San Diego is a nice turn. But not even the presence of Andy Garcia, Rob Riggle or Kevin James himself does anything to elevate the film from being a bog standard action comedy. For a film that was apparently on the 2009 blacklist it’s quite the disappointment, and the year of 2016 continues to churn out sub standard comedies.