True Memoirs of an International Assassin (2016): A Cracking Film (Review)

Kevin James and Zulay Henao

True Memoirs of an International Assassin feels just a tad like Romancing the Stone, without Joan Wilder and the romance. Both films take place mainly in South America and involve an author who uses research to come out on top.

Another thing that this film has in common with the 1984 movie is that it is a cracking film with the perfect mix of action and comedy. The biggest  difference between the two movies, emphasis on the “big,” is comic actor Kevin James.

James stars  as Sam Larson, a man who has written his first book all about an assassin named Mason Carver. With a little help from his  pool room buddy, Amos (Ron Rifkin) Sam gives the hero of his book the nickname of a real assassin, The Ghost.  

Unfortunately Sam’s new publisher adds “True” to his book title “Memoirs of  an International Assassin,” which puts his first novel into the nonfiction category.  Larson’s life changes literally overnight after a disastrous  live interview with Katie Couric.

Amos is upset with Sam for using his story about The Ghost and he feels betrayed. Book sales, however, are going through the roof.  Sam is abducted from his apartment and taken to Venezuela, where El Toro (Andy Garcia) asks him to kill the president of country.

When Sam takes on the mantle of The Ghost, he is hired by no less than three men to kill someone. As he gets in deeper and deeper a female DEA agent; Rosa Bolivar (Zulay Henao) steps in to help him out.  

Before the film ends, Sam  learns just what he is really capable of and takes his old friend’s advice on making his own story.

This straight to stream movie has a load of familiar faces. Andrew Howard, who puts a brilliant comic twist to his villainous drug smuggler, Kim Coates as the foreign president of the country and Maurice Compte as Juan, the man who shadows Sam’s every move. 

Rob Riggle and Leonard Earl Howze are the two CIA agents who are following Sam’s progress and Yul Vazquez is General Ruiz.  

True Memoirs of an International Assassin is fast paced comic fun. James is spot on as the writer who practices what his character does in the book.  Larson may be able to field strip a glock and  throw a dummy over his shoulder but he lacks the confidence and bravado to easily replicate these things in real life.

Zulay Henao, whose birthplace is, somewhat ironically, Medellin, Columbia where Pablo  Escobar became the richest drug lord in the world, convinces as the DEA agent who volunteers to help Sam survive his triple tasking.

Directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2, Cry Wolf) from the screenplay penned by Jeff Morris  True Memoirs of an International Assassin isa film that reaches out and grabs the audience’s funny bone.  

With an estimated budget of $40 million,the film looks great. From the real looking sets to the brilliantly choreographed action sequences, the movie works on every level.

James kills it as the new author whose unscrupulous publisher manages put him on the best seller list while endangering his life.  We like his character and cheer Sam on as he makes this journey.

Coates, Garcia and Howard all hold their end up and the Riggle/Howze double-act is perfect.

True Memoirs of an International Assassin is a solid 4 star film. Almost everything about this movie is spot on. The only real let down is that it is all too easy to guess the “twist” at the end. However, despite this, the comedy and the action fire on all cylinders.

(The “You brought a knife to a gunfight” is hysterically funny even if it is spoiled a bit by being in the trailer.)

The film is a straight-to-stream effort that is on Netflix right now. Head on over and catch this cracking film. You will not regret it.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

One thought on “True Memoirs of an International Assassin (2016): A Cracking Film (Review)”

  1. One should underscore the consistent practice by the “coffee-shop-publisher” to legitimize yet shield her identity from casual writers looking for a publisher.


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