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True Memoirs of an International Assassin also known as “Autobiografia di un finto assassino,” “Die wahren Memoiren eines internationalen Killers”

MPAA Rating: None (TV-14)

Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Older Teens
Spy Action Comedy
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Netflix: November 11, 2016
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Relevant Issues
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murder in the Bible

spies in the Bible

Featuring: Kevin JamesJoe / Colt Rodgers
Zulay Henao …
Andy GarciaEl Toro
Kim Coates … President Cueto
Kelen Coleman … Kylie Applebaum
Emilie Ullerup … Stephanie
Maurice Compte … Juan
Yul Vazquez … Gen. Ruiz
Cheyanna Lavon Zubas … Girl in Pool / Sexy Girl
Lauren Shaw … Sabine
P.J. Byrne … Trent
See all »
Director: Jeff Wadlow—“Kick-Ass 2” (2013), “Never Back Down” (2008)
Producer: PalmStar Media
Global Film Group
See all »
Distributor: Netflix

“The man. The myth. The memoirs.”

“True Memoirs of an International Assassin” is one of Kevin James’s better films, perhaps one of the better action-comedy films out there. The action and special effects are just as convincing as some that I’ve seen in regular, higher-budget action films. The original premise is brought to life pretty well. James plays Sam, an author who writes a fictional book about a CIA assassin. But when the publisher passes it off as nonfiction, and Sam plays along with the scheme, he can’t seem to stop being kidnapped by evil people who want him to use his skill against other evil people. First, a squad of political extremists want him to kill the president of Venezuela. Then, a rival gang wants him to kill the leader of the extremists.

Poor Sam! Now he has to pretend to use these fake skills just to avoid getting killed. Where does it stop! With each kidnap and escape comes a new twist or turn, and the audience is left guessing right up to the end! For older teens and adults who aren’t too sensitive to violence, this is a fun ride.

This is NO Paul Blart! Because of the violence, I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone under the age of about 15. It’s not nearly violent enough to be TV-MA, but it’s on the heavy side of its TV-14 rating. The bullet wounds and blood spatters are not gratuitous, per se, but they are pretty realistic. That said, the good guys never do kill anyone unless in direct self-defense. Two scenes where the bad guy murders an employee are the only scenes that I thought contained particularly unnecessary violence.

The language is only occasional, with five uses of *ss, four of b***h, three of h*ll and s**t, two of d**n, and one of p*ssed and d*****bag. There is also one misuse of God’s name, and an instance where Sam starts to say the f-word, but doesn’t finish.

Sexual content is minimal, which is a relief, because I never know what to expect in films like this. There is a reference to a man sending nude photos, giving one’s left “nut” for something, and some non-explicit innuendos when a man and woman go upstairs to fight, but make it look like they’re going to have sex to avoid panicking the crowd. There is also some male and female immodesty around a pool.

In terms of moral messages, the first one that comes to mind is the consequences of the publisher’s greed in publishing fiction as fact, so it would make more money. The writer shares guilt in this, too, because he could have stopped it, but didn’t try to because of inconvenience. This results in him going through a lot more inconvenience, to say the least! However, there is a also a mixed message about honesty at the end, when he acts like his real adventures never happened, to avoid being dragged into more.

But in all he goes through, he learns to actually become a hero, and not just write about it. He writes grandiose tales of bravery and triumph, but, as a man, he’s a bit of a loser. Being thrown into an actual adventure inspires him to learn a thing or two from what he writes about.

This is also a very capitalist film, but the murderous capitalist extremists are also portrayed as evil—end does not justify means, and Sam lives by this philosophy, even when faced with imminent danger. Oh, except he does steal a motorcycle to escape once. That always bothers me.

In the end, this film isn’t especially memorable, but it is a decent popcorn flick. If you asked me to recommend a good action movie, there are so many better ones I could list that this one probably wouldn’t even come to mind. However, if you like Kevin James or want to watch a fun film on Netflix (where the choices are very limited), this is one to consider.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Enjoyable and funny, without all of the common, yet over the top, sexuality and offensive language. There are some injuries that might be scary for young children, but teens and up would be fine. Usually action films overdo it on testosterone and stoic emotions, this had the excitement of action with a character who is vulnerable like the rest of us, but acts in courage. Thoroughly recommend for a refreshing change of pace.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Heather, age 39 (USA)
Positive—I thought this movie was quite acceptable for teens and young adults. The cinematography, costumes, and sound were exceptional, while the acting, true to modern form, was a bit corny and over-the-top, without being ridiculous. As a tongue-in-cheek comedy, they avoided vulgar language and gross sexuality, while creating a laughable but lovable hero.

Overall, it’s a cute exposition of the kind of mess you can get yourself into when you represent yourself to be something you are not, but there’s an interesting side story regarding the CIA’s interference in the governance of Latin American countries, and the questionable motives behind seemingly just revolutionaries. In the end, nothing is as it might seem on the surface, but by being true to moral principles, one may just come out okay. Yes there is profanity, but it’s very tame compared to Hollywood. I think Netflix did a pretty good job on this.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
Steven Best, age 65 (USA)

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