American Made – Blu-ray/DVD Combo Edition

Together again with his Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman (Fair Game, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Minority Report) is back on the big screen and trying to shake off a streak of dogs he’s been on of late. The Mummy, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and Oblivion are some of his most recent films and they were not well received critically. Even worse The Mummy lost money. If there has been one consistent in Cruise’s career it is that he makes money for the studios. If that is gone, what is left? So there must have been some pressure making this film. He wanted to return to the money maker Tom Cruise. Though I am most certainly am not his biggest fan I have to say that American Made is a good Tom Cruise film.

Based on a true story, a story, that in many ways, that is largely about the pursuit of the American dream. Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) was a pilot for TWA. He was married to Lucy (Sarah Wright – The House Bunny, 21 & Over), a woman he loved and had a couple of kids. They lived comfortably, but Barry wanted more. So it was hard to walk away when CIA agent Monty Shafer (Domhnall Gleeson – Ex Machina, About Time) approaches him with a deal or job. The job is to fly a plane over different places in South America taking spy pictures for the government. The U.S. government was worried at this time, late 70s, of the communist incursion in countries like Colombia and Nicaragua. He even, after a while, is tasked with bringing Contra soldiers in from Nicaragua into the U.S. so they could be trained to fight better.

While in Colombia, Barry crosses paths with three men who would eventually go on to become the leads of the Medellin drug cartel. Jorge Ochoa (Alejandro Edda – from television’s Fear the Walking Dead), Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Mejia – from television’s Narco) and Carlos Lehder (Fredy Yate Escobar – first film) propose that while he is flying back and forth from the U.S. to Colombia that he transport their cocaine. When he realized how much money he could make, Barry jumped at the chance. And became a very rich man living now is small town Arkansas as a result. So rich that he ran out of places to hide his money and then could not establish enough bogus companies to launder the money. Barry also has to hire a few more pilots to do all this, so a whole operation is given birth to.

All the money, along with the (mis)behaviour of Lucy’s brother JB (Caleb Landry Jones – X-Men: First Class, Contraband), begins to attract the attention of the DEA and FBI. Barry becomes a hunted man. When he makes a deal with all the American authorities in order to stay out of jail then he becomes the enemy of the drug cartel. Between a rock and a hard place!

Tom Cruise does a really good job in this role. Not something you usually hear me saying! He makes Barry very likable. Even though he is doing plenty of illegal things and getting quite rich off of it. You sorta look beyond that. Because he has a way about him. He invests a lot of energy into the character and in that way it reminds me of performances he did early in his career.

What is most interesting (and I am not sure an intended message) about the film is how it shows how the U.S. government (and I am sure many others) callously uses people then abandons them when they are no longer useful or things go belly up. Lots of the problems here for Barry were of the self-made variety, but that still does not excuse how the U.S. government behaved. Doesn’t show them in a good light. They are not the good guys here. I don’t know who is (though Barry as he is portrayed is quite likable) in this story.

Loads of action and fun to be had here. Once it begins it does not let up.

Special Features

 

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cruise & Liman: A Conversation
  • American Storytellers
  • In the Wings
  • Flying High
  • Shooting American Made
  • American Made: The Real Story
  • Feature Commentary
  • In the Wings
  • Shooting American Made
  • American Made: The Real Story

 

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