I couldn’t remember the last time Tom Cruise has starred in a film that isn’t some kind of big budget action/adventure, I don’t know if he’s not getting offers to do more dramatic roles or he just likes doing action pictures. Whatever those reasons maybe, he’s now back in a role that’s well-suited for him.

Based on a true-life story of Barry Seal (Cruise), who is a pilot for TWA Airlines. Seal is a very good pilot, he also smuggled Cuban cigars into the States to make some extra cash. This caught the attention of a CIA agent named Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson) who asked Seal to come and work for the agency. Bored at his work and also intrigued about working for the CIA, Seal accepted the offer. His job was to fly an advanced airplane with camera attached to it over South America countries and take photos of the communist armies.

After several successful missions, Seal caught the attention of drug runners including the infamous Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Mejía). Escobar and his buddies wanted Seal to smuggle their cocaine into the States and offered him quite a bit of cash for his troubles. Since the CIA wasn’t paying him that much money for his work and his trophy wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) wasn’t too happy with their current living situation; Seal decided to take Escobar’s offer and work for the drug runners too. As the story progresses, Seal must try to balance his work for the Agency and drug runners and things will never turn out well when you work with powerful people.

This role is perfect for Cruise. The character is charismatic, cocky and greedy and Cruise looked like he had a great time playing the part. Seal’s a man who loves to take risks and of course being a greedy person, he’d never turn down a chance to make lots of money, even from dangerous people like Escobar. He’s also cares for his family and understands that he won’t be able to make the big bucks by just being a pilot. I don’t know anything about the real Barry Seal and I’m going to assume many of the things that happened in the film was made up for dramatic purposes. But Cruise shines here as the man who would do anything to be successful. Unfortunately, none of the other actors made much of an impression on me. Sarah Wright played the typical trophy/worried wife and Gleeson was kind of bland as the man of mystery. Other characters were just there to fill the scenes so Cruise can be the star.

The script by Gary Spinelli didn’t really offer anything new for this kind of genre. It’s pretty much been there done that kind of story. In fact, I thought the first half hour was kind of boring and nothing happened that got my attention. But as the story progresses, it got more interesting, but again I’ve seen these kinds of stories many times in other films and TV shows that I was not surprised at what’s going to happen next. Director Doug Liman decided to shoot the film in style of the 70s and 80s to fit the period and I thought he did a good job capturing the look and feel from those decades. His use of constant handheld and shaky cam style on some scenes were quite annoying though.

This is a good film that belongs to Tom Cruise, so if you’re fan of his then I think you’ll enjoy it. Crime dramas are hard to do these days since it’s been done so well in films from years past. So even though I enjoyed this film, I just can’t give it a higher rating.



So have you seen American Made? Well, what did you think?

19 thoughts on “AMERICAN MADE review

  1. I have no interest in seeing this. I just despise the fact that Tom Cruise is playing roles that are suited to actors who are younger than him and could probably provide something different. Instead, he just does the same old shit. He’s a fucking dinosaur now.

    1. Like I said I don’t know anything about the real Barry Seal so I can’t agree or disagree with you about the age thing. But this is the kind of film that’s hard to get made if Cruise isn’t involved. If you can’t stand him then this isn’t a film for you.

  2. Don’t agree with Ninvoid99 this time. If an actor is good enough doesn’t matter what age they are, male or female. He’s been focusing more on action films so good to see him expand his range more. Would love to see him do something like Collateral again.

    1. Yeah it’s nice seeing Cruise doing something that doesn’t involved big stunts and explosions. If this film came out in the late 80s or 90s, it would probably be a box office hit. Cruise can sell any kind of film back in those days.

  3. I am sure it is a good film, but I also have this feeling that “yes, it is yet another Tom Cruise film…what we are going to do”. Most Tom Cruise films are super entertaining, but something more is needed here now. I will be watching it because the plot appeals to me (in all honesty, the mention of Escobar sells it to me lol)
    On another note, I am glad to see Domhnall Gleeson so active recently. Mother!, American Made, and he is in Goodbye Christopher Robin, cool.

    1. It’s definitely a Tom Cruise film and I thought it’s entertaining. I think the big difference than most of his other films is that they injected a lot humor into the story, it’s not a straight up comedy but it’s not violent or dark like other crime films.

  4. PrairieGirl

    I might see this just to see how they treated the 70s-80s time period, always like seeing something different that isn’t present day. Nice review, Ted!

    1. Ha ha, I think most people are getting tired of seeing Cruise so i’m not surprised people were turned off by this film. Of course it didn’t help that the studio marketed the film as an action picture, which is not accurate at all. If you do see it then hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

  5. Hi Ted –

    for the record – the question was when did Cruise last do a non-action kind of role –

    I found two:

    Rock of Ages in 2012. He played a rock star
    Lambs for Lions in 2007. Cruise played a US Senator

    as for the film, likely I will see it/

    Also for the record – Cruise will also give Top Gun – Maverick (2) in 2019
    and Mission Impossible 6 which is currently filming.

    I haven’t any problem with Cruise doing the action roles. He sells tickets and is box-office really what Hollywood is about?

    1. Hey Mike, I forgot about those two films you mentioned, I haven’t seen either of them. I’m looking forward to Mission: Impossible 6, not sure about Top Gun 2 though.

      I have no issues with Cruise doing action pictures either, as long as they’re good. His last two action films, Jack Reacher 2 and The Mummy were awful. Cruise is one of my favorite actors but his box office draws haven’t been that strong in recent years. In fact, the only films he starred in that were box office hits were Mission: Impossible 4 and 5. I think Edge of Tomorrow was a decent hit but it seems his box office power hasn’t been the same like it was in the 80s and 90s.

  6. I enjoyed it. great role for cruise and 3out of 5 stars sounds about right. He did seem a bit old for the role. I liked his accent. Had no interest in mummy but glad this worth the money.

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