I read the book first. Because I when given the choice, I pretty much always read the book first.
When Mitch Rapp loses his girlfriend (or fiancé if you’re watching the movie) he makes it his goal to get retribution. A distinction he is very careful to make against revenge.
That’s pretty much all that the book and the movie have in common. I almost couldn’t finish the movie because I just kept focusing on how they are so different. So. Different. To finish the movie I pretty much had to pretend they weren’t connected at all. And given his different they were, (did I say so different?) this was pretty easy.
Of course, I preferred the book version. There was so much character development behind our lead, Mitch Rapp. He goes from small-town boy, happily in love with his college sweetheart. To ruthless, cold-blooded assassin. We watch as he goes through a kind of boot camp run by equally ruthless, Stan Hurley.
Even though the two don’t mix, they form a kind of begrudging respect for each other. And begin to perform missions together, missions focused around quietly removing certain types of people from the world.
But in the movie – we skip past the character building. One scene Mitch Rapp is happily on the beach with his fiancé, and the next he’s that ruthless, cold-blooded assassin. We don’t figure out how.
In both versions Hurley is captured and it’s up to Mitch to save him. In one version, though, it’s by terrorists who only know Hurley from past excursions in their country. In the book there’s a completely new character. An angry former American operative with a bone to pick with Hurley.
Honestly, I got confused trying to match characters between the two. Both the book and the movie were good as stand alones. I feel like I could have enjoyed the movie a lot more if I wasn’t trying to compare it to the book.
I’d say if you’re interested in American Assassin I would definitely recommend picking either the book or the movie. Personally, I’d go with the book. There’s just so much more you can do with a book. There’s more time to delve into the characters, to get more invested. But, if movies are your thing it’s really not a bad movie. But I wouldn’t recommend trying to do both like I did.