Netflix UK film review: True Memoirs of an International Assassin
Surprise at lack of "fat man falls down" comedy8
Surprise at anything else2
Andy Garcia's beard8
Ian Loring | On 13, Nov 2016Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Kevin James, Zulay Henao, Andy Garcia
Watch True Memoirs of an International Assassin online in the UK: Netflix UK
Netflix continues its crusade to release films from Adam Sandler’s friends so people don’t have to put up with them in the cinema with Kevin James, a man who never quite seemed to make the transition to the big screen expected after the success of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. He teams up here with Jeff Wadlow, a man who seemed to torpedo what big screen career he had with the franchise killing Kick Ass 2. This is not a recipe for success, but True Memoirs of an International Assassin certainly isn’t a disaster, although it’s not terrific either.
Part of the film’s success can be put down to the fact that there is surprisingly little “fat man falls down” comedy – like Melissa McCarthy’s Spy, we aren’t subjected to James attempting to run and falling over something repeatedly. Indeed, a moment of unintentional comedy actually comes up when James bizarrely seems to ape Tom Cruise’s run from the end of Mission: Impossible 3 and frankly looks like an idiot in trying to do so.
Instead, the film gets some chuckles from the increasingly outlandish situation James finds himself in. Setting up a fantasy world, which then gets played out in reality, is a narrative trope as old as time, but it is fun watching James get more and more out of his depth, after becoming involved in a plot to kill three different people all trying to kill each other. Kim Coates, Andrew Howard and Andy Garcia all have fun playing stereotypes, Howard, in particular, doing a riff on his Limitless character and crafting a fine sense of insanity throughout.
Wadlow does OK with what is obviously not the highest budget and gives us some decent fight sequences, as long as they don’t involve James, and at 97 minutes, the whole thing is pacey enough to never get all that boring. Zulay Henao gets some crunchy action in between her scenes with James – you get the feeling she’s a cut-price Gal Gadot, but given the somewhat budget nature of the whole enterprise, even that feels appropriate.
That nothing of any real surprise doesn’t occur here is almost forgiveable, given the overall “just fine” feel of the whole thing. The result is a Netflix original that’s aggressively average in most ways, but considering what True Memoirs could have been, that’s more than acceptable.
True Memoirs of an International Assassin is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.