American Ultra

Rated 3.0

A strong cast led by Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart and supported by Connie Britton, Topher Grace and John Leguizamo elevates this lame-brained, fidgety actioner written by Max Landis and directed by Nima Nourizadeh. Eisenberg plays a sweet but psychologically shaky West Virginia stoner who discovers that he's actually a Jason Bourne-like, deep cover supersoldier, and he gets activated into a one-man killing machine just as CIA hitmen descend on him and his girlfriend (Stewart). Nourizadeh keeps the story wheels chugging at a pace that's fast enough to distract you—it almost feels like you're flipping through comic book pages rather than reading them—and there's throwaway style and hard-R splatter to burn, but some of the nonsensical second-half twists feel like studio-mandated compromises. American Ultra is just as unfocused, hazy and nihilistic as its hero, which is a good thing, until it isn't. D.B.