NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are. THIS WEEK: After a seven-year hiatus (missing the previous installment with Jeremy “Hawkeye” Renner), Matt Damon again teams up with director Paul Greengrass for another installment inthe Jason Bourne franchise. This one focuses on JB coming out of hiding to track down classified info of his past and going after the baddies involved. Secrets are revealed, punches are thrown, bullets are fired, cars are smashed and Vegas gets trashed. (No relation to the 2012 indie movie of the same name.)
Written by Paul Greengrass & Christopher Rouse. Directed by Paul Greengrass.
• Three words: Stunts, stunts, stunts! The list of stunt performers here rivals the number of visual effects artists in an average superhero flick. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the Damon Bournes, but this one has to be near the top of ambitiousness. Great (and brutal) fights, and some amazing chase scenes.
MATT DAMON returns to his most iconic role in “Jason Bourne.” Paul Greengrass, the director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, once again joins Damon for the next chapter of Universal Pictures’ Bourne franchise, which finds the CIA’s most lethal former operative drawn out of the shadows.
• Speaking of chases: Car vs. motorcycle in Athens (through thick crowds of protesters and cops), car vs. SWAT truck through packed Vegas, and both at night! The cycle goes up and down steps and through fire while the SWAT truck literally plows through downtown traffic after a Dodge Charger. And it gets crazier from there.
• Nice casting: the hottie Alicia (EX MACHINA) Vikander as the ambitious head of the CIA’s Cyber Ops division, scary-looking Vincent Cassel as “The Asset”, Ato Essandoh as loyal CIA opp Craig Jeffers, and of course Tommy Lee Jones as the evil-at-heart CIA director Dewey.
• Subplot involving a tech entrepreneur Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) and his giant-size company “Deep Dream’s” launching of a new global app that basically lets everyone spy on everyone, and its string-pulling by the government, is topically timely considering the whole Apple/FBI fiasco earlier this year. (Makes you wonder which came first.)
• Some decent plot twists/reveals, even if some are minor or are telegraphed. You get more motivation for or reason to root for/against some of the characters.
• I’ve never seen the Vegas strip in general or casinos in particular (Bally’s) get trashed like this! Great fun, especially if you’ve been there.
• We finally get the rest of pieces behind Bourne’s origin in the Treadstone program, including the involvement and death of a family member. Any further franchise installments would presumably go forward. (And it’s left open for another.)
• Most of the film is really just one chase after another, from Reykjavik to Berlin to Athens to Las Vegas. Very little dialog and development. That’s cool with me, of course, but some of you brainy types may object.
• Major Suspension Of Disbelief Dept.: A character is nearly choked to death with rubber wire and his neck is shown magically unbruised. A SWAT truck (presumably with an unseen cow-catcher bolted to the front) plows through a dozen cars and trucks, brushing them aside and into the air, crashes through numerous barricades and obstacles, yet every light on the front end remains in perfect working order and only one shot shows wear and tear; every other one shows an immaculate front end. (Perhaps it’s borrowed from S.H.I.E.L.D. and made of Vibranium.) And as usual, Bourne and his fighting buddy are injected with Super-Soldier serum as they get beaten and bloodied and bashed into concrete without being knocked out.
• The movie ran just over two hours but seemed longer; some editing might help.
• The typical Bourne “shaky-cam” style makes certain scenes hard to follow, especially during night chases and fights. Several times I couldn’t tell who was chasing who[m] or how close they were, which lessened the suspense. Also, during fight scenes, it took away from the effect when I couldn’t tell what was really happening; a flash of random punches and kicks isn’t nearly as cool as watching the actors/stuntfolks do their magic.
• A likable character finally bites it.
• Another gross violation of my industry-standard “blood & bullets to boobs & butts ratio.” Plenty of murder and mayhem, yet we don’t even get to see Vikander in her undies; not a single Vegas stripper or showgirl is shown. WTH, Hollywood?
• Couple time-table issues: One character says, “Use SQL to corrupt their databases,” which I’m told by a real IT gal is laughable these days, and in some Vegas scenes, the famous Riviera hotel/casino is mentioned and shown, though it was imploded this June.
• No button at the credits to foreshadow the next installment.
If you liked previous Bourne flicks, you’ll dig this. Pretty much more of the same, though the plot is thinner and more linear. The addition of the Vikander character is good and you never really can tell if she’s Bourne’s pal or enemy. You’ll chomp at the chases on the big screen whereas they might be less harrowing at home. Probably more enjoyable/fulfilling if you can binge the first three Damon films before seeing this…and preferably while binging on brats an’ beer. Cheers!
P.S.: Talk about thrilling, how about an original Pascal commission for cheap? See yourself or a pal as a spy, a superhero, a cyberpunk, a slut or anything else.Just ask Craig here.
The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the USA, Interpol, Pol Andersen, Paul Greengrass, the late Grass Green, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, John Barrowman, Matt Damon, Damien the Omen or all men in general. Bru valiantly volunteers to spy for the CIA as their field female phantom, photographing and ferreting out all femme fatales with fantastic figures, for free (providing he can keep the photos).