Now in the fourth decade of his career, Tom Cruise soldiers on as one of the last true movie stars. America Made proves to be a film that works for Cruise as a star vehicle - up to a certain point.
Based on a true story, Cruise plays a bored commercial airline pilot Barry Seal in the late 1970s. One day's he's approached by a "government official" played by Domnall Gleason who offers Barry a job of taking photographs from his plane of locations in Central America. Barry jumps at the opportunity and eventually finds himself working for drug cartels and eventually at the center of the Iran-Contra Scandal.
Other films have covered similar ground such Lord of War with Nicholas Cage and War Dogs from 2014, movies that force opportunist characters to face the reality of the situation. American Made refuses to put the audience through that, it's more of an amusement park ride with Cruise at the helm. A good old boy with a pseudo southern accent who can do wrong; like the rest of us, he's just trying to get by.
A subplot involving a nefarious nephew almost grinds the film to a halt.
Despite being predictable at times with Argo style use of stock footage, the last 20 minutes do surprise. A crowd pleaser from start to finish.