Killer Rob Movie Review

Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) is an airlines pilot who has tired of long, boring, standard flights. He has pretty much lost his passion for commercial flying. One evening at an airport bar, he is approached by a man (Domhnall Gleeson) working for the CIA who knows about Barry’s previous minor smuggling operations with illegal cigars.

Barry is offered a state-of-the-art world class plane to take snapshots of communist operations in South America. Barry is able to capture many valuable photographs giving the CIA great intel. He also has a direct connection to Manuel Noriega, delivering money in exchange for communist information. Attempting to hide extracurricular activites from the CIA, eventually Barry graduates to running cocaine for the South American Medellín Cartel.

Barry routinely makes trips for the cartel from South America to Louisiana, dropping the packages of cocaine down into the Bayou swamps for waiting drug dealers on the ground to retrieve. After troubles arise with the Cartel and the governments of both South and North America cracking down on drugs, (North America’s main interest being Communism), Barry is forced to relocate into hiding, but he is made a nice offer by the CIA to start running guns to Nicaragua.

While running guns, Barry’s drug operation expands to the point where he adds additional pilots and starts making more money than he can handle. However, when brother J.B. (Caleb Landry Jones) shows up at their home one day, as the viewer you immediately know that this scripted dumbass would eventually result in the downfall of the Seal family.

Ofcourse that’s what happens and J.B. gets arrested with suitcase full of cash. Barry bails out J.B. and gives him some money, drops him off at his car, and tells him to leave the country. Once J.B. gets in the car, he drives about a hundred yards and it explodes, courtesy of a car bomb planted by the Medellín Cartel.

In a overly-embellished almost comical hollywood scripted scene, the DEA, ATF, State Police, and FBI uncoordinatedly all arrive at the EXACT SAME TIME to bust Barry and his pilots at the airport for guns, money laundering, and drug running. Wow, nice timing for a ridiculous, absurd hollywood scene but in real life raids don’t go down like that.

Barry and company agree to get intel from the Cartel for the DEA, even though they realize that attempting it is most likely a death sentence. Unfortunately for Barry, the death sentence intensified when the DEA and President Reagan published and aired photos captured by Barry of the Medellín Cartel drug operations during a speech to the nation address. At this point the Cartel order Barry’s head on a platter.

Barry moves his family to Baton Rouge and lives anonymously hoping to hide from the Cartel’s attack. He moves from hotel to motel on a daily basis to survive. But ultimately, as the saying goes, ‘you can run but you cannot hide’, and Barry is assassinated one morning after leaving a motel. Shortly thereafter, the Iran-Contra scandal was exposed.

American Made is based on a true story. The film makes you realize how wild and chaotic that the events were in the late 70’s and 1980’s. How governments and politics were combined hand-in-hand with illegal drugs and arms dealings. The shots of the plane flying through trees and the mountains of South America were really well done, showing the danger of being a pilot with less-than-desirable runways and flight paths.

The movie will forever be compared with the similar styled drug smuggling movie 'Blow’, starring Johnny Depp. Unfortunately for Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman, they will always come in second when the two movies are compared. American Made just lacks heart and substance that the movie Blow delivered. Although it needs to be stated, American Made was better with the second viewing, which is always a good quality for a movie to possess.

You have to give Tom Cruise props for pulling off a role of a 30 year old man when he is in his mid-fifties. He has a beautiful young wife in American Made played by Sarah Wright Olsen, and they have three young children, and it all works. Cruise is one of the best actors in the world and the fact that he can pull off a role that’s designed for someone 20 years his junior is very respectable.

If you were alive to remember people like Manuel Noriega, the Iran-Contra affair, or the wild cocaine frenzy of the 1980’s, American Made is a decent movie that captures that time in history. Ofcourse, if you’ve already seen 'Blow’, American Made just seems like a slightly inferior imitation that doesn’t measure up.