195 user 268 critic

American Ultra (2015)

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A stoner - who is in fact a government agent - is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he's too well-trained and too high for them to handle.


Nima Nourizadeh


Max Landis
4,876 ( 380)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jesse Eisenberg ... Mike Howell
Kristen Stewart ... Phoebe Larson
Topher Grace ... Adrian Yates
Connie Britton ... Victoria Lasseter
Walton Goggins ... Laugher
John Leguizamo ... Rose
Bill Pullman ... Krueger
Tony Hale ... Petey Douglas
Stuart Greer Stuart Greer ... Sheriff Watts
Michael Papajohn ... Otis
Monique Ganderton ... Crane
Nash Edgerton ... Beedle
Paul Andrew O'Connor Paul Andrew O'Connor ... Diesel
Freddie Poole ... Potter
Ilram Choi ... Newton


Small-town stoner Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) spends most of his time getting high and writing a graphic novel about a superhero monkey. What Mike doesn't know is that he was trained by the CIA to be a lethal killing machine. When the agency targets him for termination, his former handler activates his latent skills, turning the mild-mannered slacker into a deadly weapon. Now, the utterly surprised Mike must use his newfound abilities to save himself and his girlfriend from getting wasted by the failed test subjects that are sent after him by the CIA. Written by Mr.Moiz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There's nothing more dangerous than a stoned cold killer See more »


Action | Comedy | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, drug use and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



USA | Switzerland


English | Mandarin

Release Date:

21 August 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Operación Ultra See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »


Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,454,284, 23 August 2015, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,434,604, 4 October 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Auro 11.1 | Dolby Digital | DTS (DTS: X)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First film to be released with DTS:X sound track. See more »


At the very end of the movie Mike is talking to a Chinese man. Mike laughs and replies. The subtitles say "Sorry, I never knew I could speak Chinese". What he is speaking isn't Chinese. It's clearly an attempt to speak Chinese but a failed one. He must have read the words written down in pinyin format and pronounced them using the English alphabet. Pinyin doesn't follow the Chinese alphabet. For example Mike pronounced Zhongwen as Songwen as it would be with the English alphabet. However Zh in Chinese is pronounced like an English alphabet J so the word should be pronounce Jongwen.

Actually Mike was speaking pretty good Chinese, for a foreigner. I'm from Beijing and I teach Mandarin. He pronounced "Zhongwen" as "Zongwen", not "Songwen". Southern Chinese people (those from south of the Yangtze River) do pronounce the consonants "Zh, Ch, Sh" as "Z, C, S". They can't pronounce the two groups distinctively enough. So it's perfectly normal for a foreigner to pronounce them indistinguishably. See more »


[first lines]
CIA Interrogator: Where do you want to begin?
Mike Howell: [thinking, seeing flashbacks] Dustpan. Spoon. Noodles. Bear. Frying pan. Fire. Apollo Ape. "Marry Me."Where did it all begin?
Mike Howell: Okay, it started three days ago, in the town of Liman, West Virginia. It's where I lived with my girlfriend, Phoebe. She is the only good thing that's ever happened to me. I honestly cannot even remember my life before her. We were the perfect fucked-up couple. She was perfect, and I was the fuck-up. And we were really, really ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the closing credits, there is an "Apollo Ape" cartoon depicting the continuity of the film's final scene. See more »


Love Enough
Written by Bill Burgess
Performed by Bill Burgess
Courtesy of Fervor Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Original, not Memorable
16 September 2015 | by bardia-mooseSee all my reviews

American ULTRA is an action-packed comedy that doesn't deserve the bad rep it's been getting. The writing was really strong; Max Landis injected clever and quirky dialogue into a pretty simple story, giving it its own definitive personality. There's a ton of pot smoking, there's a whole lot of killing, and Jesse Eisenberg plays a badass action hero. Yea. If you're not down with any of that, don't watch this movie.

The chemistry between Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, who've worked together before, is one of the best things American ULTRA has going for it. You completely believe them as this young couple; the 'tree and car' metaphor in the film, despite being top-tier pot talk, was quite touching. I can't really say the same thing about Topher Grace though; almost everything he said was outright cringe-worthy and over-the-top. It's strange though because, on paper, his character is a perfect match for the kind of tone this film was going for. Unfortunately, he just ended up feeling out of place.

Many people are describing this movie as a cross between Pineapple Express and Bourne Identity, and it's difficult to argue against that. I know what you're thinking; it's a bizarre marriage indeed. But when you watch this, the amalgamation actually works. The jokes don't always hit, but the action hits hard. And while it's engaging and well choreographed, the film never takes itself too seriously; the balance between stoner comedy and crazy, bloody violent action is handled well, not as seamless as one would hope though. And through all the insanity that transpires, American ULTRA still manages to maintain a heart.

I can positively say that I enjoyed watching American ULTRA. Is it a great movie? Hell no! I wouldn't even call it good, but it's funny when it needs to be, the violence, while excessive at times, always fit the story, and it's original. If you're someone who wants Hollywood to simmer down with all the reboots and sequels, then go see American ULTRA in theatres. You'll have fun and, at the same time, be supporting originality in cinema.

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