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Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures


“American Made” is the newest Tom Cruise vehicle that, somehow, doesn’t involve the A-lister hanging off the side of airplanes or kicking off some overhyped cinematic monster universe. And that’s the best part. This is a film where Cruise is able to wink and nod to the audience, acknowledging the ride we are about to embark on. “American Made” doesn’t have that much when you dig deeper into the surface, and suffers from an ending that feels rushed. But this is Cruise in “Top Gun” form.

Forecasting the unbelievable true story, of Barry Seal (Cruise), who was a pilot, then a CIA informant, followed by a drug mule for the Colombian drug cartel, is quite the amount to take in. And the way it’s delivered to us, you’d think director Doug Liman wants us to shake our heads. The movie spans over the course of the 1980s, during the Reagan era, where the war on drugs was at it’s peak. Seal is as “macho” as you get, with an adoring wife (Sarah Wright) and family, but when a CIA operative whose name may or may not be Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson) takes notice of the pilots skills, opportunity comes knocking.

The task is simple enough: take a few pictures of some highly classified areas, to help their own slick agenda. Which is all fine, until his CIA duties interfere with the business of a squad of thugs, whose most notorious criminal, you've probably heard of him, is Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Mejia) - one thing leads to another, and, so be it, Seal is now on their payroll too.

This job involves more risk, dropping kilos of high quality cocaine product into the depths of the United States most certainly isn't easy. Soon enough, the playboys antics, and overflowing cash problem starts to catch up with him. Showing up on the radar of the D.E.A and FBI to name a few. But it’s how Seal handles all his problems that make the film tick.

No matter how scary and tense a situation seems to find itself, Seal always has a charismatic way to charm his way out. The result is almost laughable, because most of this is illogical, but with Cruise doing most of the selling, I can dig it.

Liman, who directed Cruise in the universally acclaimed “Edge of Tomorrow,” keeps the pace moving with enough action going on around our anti-hero, that it helps sell the idea of a movie not solely based on Cruise playing the leading man. It’s a breezy trip, and one worth taking. B

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