Taking the celebrated IMDB Top 250 as a basis, here is a list of movies I have never watched. There’s many more on the 250 but the list below are titles that at least interest me or have interested me at some stage.
So we come to the third movie in this popular franchise and this is where several plot threads begin to get tied off as deadly former assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) searches for the answers he needs to his identity. Along for the ride this time around in the form of a new ally is Julia Stiles who tries to help Bourne piece together the final details whilst the CIA, headed by Joan Allen try to cover everything up.
Paul Greengrass once again takes directing duties and much like the last movie has a flair for shaky camera rapid-fire editing, but unlike Supremacy the plot is at times less coherent and the confusion that blighted that movie’s final act seems to be in full force here. It’s certainly fun watching Bourne out smart various CIA surveillance teams and uncover skeletons in various closets, but it also means this is probably the most repetitive of the franchise, with the run time mostly dedicated to watching, sneaking, getting into a fight, then more watching and sneaking.
This does bring together the storyline of all three movies well and the viewer is given some closure about Bourne even if questions still remain unanswered. Yet thrilling car, bike and on-foot chases and plenty of action meant I was far from bored. The movie just needed to have more character moments and a bit more downtime between scenes to catch one’s breath (simple office scenes are filmed like they take place in the middle of an earthquake). However, this was still entertaining despite struggling to forge it’s own, er…identity and therefore by default is the weakest entry so far.
The Blu-ray is again impressive and is packed with extras including a director commentary and wealth of behind the scenes footage and interviews. The image is perhaps the best of the franchise up to this point and even though the shaky camera approach causes issues with focus, it’s still pops off the screen. The same can also be said for the sound which envelopes the viewer in a wall of sound and atmosphere throughout. A treatment somewhat undeserving but welcome all the same.
I don’t know why, as someone who enjoyed the first movie in this franchise, I didn’t get around to seeing this sequel until the other day. Matt Damon is once again hard-as-nails CIA assassin Jason Bourne who lives a life of leisure with his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente) until he gets set up for the theft of some top secret files. Soon his former employees are out to get him as he struggles to stay one step ahead and unmask the real culprit.
Taking over directing duties this time from Doug Liman is Paul Greengrass, who despite lacking some of the subtlety and finesse of Liman has made a tighter, albeit rapidly edited but more exciting movie. Support comes in the shape of Joan Allen as a CIA chief out to apprehend Bourne and Brian Cox also returns as Bourne’s former boss. I felt the stakes seemed a lot higher this time and although the finer details on certain plot threads connecting certain sequences seemed to get muddled as the action kicked in (including possibly one of the best car chases I’ve seen) … I was still gripped from beginning to end.
Unlike the last movie, there’s nobody to really touch Damon’s performance that is once again complex, emotional and bad-ass. Allen seems particularly under-developed. A superior sequel in the adrenaline stakes then, which suffers a couple of coherence issues. Yet as it stands, this remains a thrilling follow-up that left this viewer thirsty for more.
The Blu-ray is very pleasing. The image looks great (a little dark but a clear step up from Identity) and the audio packs a hefty punch and is clear and atmospheric. The extras are again plentiful with several featurettes, behind the scenes footage, interviews and an invaluable commentary from the director. A great treatment to what is possibly the most underrated movie in the series.
(Updated: 18/07/2016) Possibly one of the most heavily criticised movies for a long time before anyone actually saw it. Now that it’s out however, although public opinion hasn’t completely reversed it seems the movie might actually be worth your time … and I’ll say straight away that it certainly is.
Is it OK to say I have a crush on Kristina Wiig? The Bridesmaids star heads an all new female cast who join together to rid the city of New York from a supernatural phenomenon, despite government and the media struggling to take them seriously. So far so very much the original plot, and this movie bares a very close resemblance to what came before along with many in-jokes and (a slight overkill) of cameo appearances from the original actors. That being said this also has it’s own flavour – in the form of a great cast all doing a fine job bringing their individual personalities into the action. Melissa McCarthy whose brand of often slapstick humour I feared might have been misplaced, is very good as are a somewhat unhinged Kate McKinnon and a fun Leslie Jones. The effects for the various ghosts and creatures are above average and the ghost busting action itself is often thrilling, funny and utterly entertaining.
Inevitably comparing this to the original, I’ll admit the movie doesn’t hold up as well, replacing creepy atmosphere and characterisation with at times corny humour and an overdose of CGI (and gunge). Yet taken on it’s own merits I enjoyed several fun encounters (slimer and mrs slimer?), it made me chuckle often and it was seriously feel good in places, making this more than a simple cash-in … and for a new audience it possibly works even better. So I say give this a chance. It does a lot right and everyone involved (including a dopey Chris Hemsworth) look like they are having a blast, which came across strong enough to this viewer to leave him with a big, satisfied grin.
With some hype being drummed up for a new Bourne movie, I thought it was as good a time as any to revisit the movie that kick started this franchise. I’ve always liked Matt Damon as an actor and he especially impressed most recently in Martian. However at the time of this movie’s release few people saw him as an action star, especially the fan-base of the best selling books by Robert Ludlum.
However time was to prove the naysayers wrong and here, Damon cements himself as a tough-as-nails guy left for dead in the Mediterranean sea. Once back on terra-firma, he’s out to unravel both the truth behind his own identity and why people are trying to kill him. Along for the ride is a German woman who crosses Bourne’s path, played by the decidedly yummy Franka Potente (Run Lola Run), and the two make for a good pairing as the thrills and spills kick in.
The Bourne movies are sort of like the more serious Bond before Bond went more serious and were a likable alternative, but with a focus on surveillance and teams of assassins out to get our man than over-throwing some megalomaniac villain, and is therefore routed in real-world espionage. Support from the likes of Brian Cox and a near-wordless cameo from Clive Owen bring some colour to proceedings and assured direction from Doug Liman (Mr & Mrs Smith), brilliantly-choreographed fight scenes and a stand-out car chase … this delivered the necessary thrills. In the wake of more violent fair like the first Taken for example, this could have really gone for the jugular, and at times seems to have a rather leisurely pace. However, Damon makes for more than just a believable bad-ass and with his acting credentials conveys vulnerability and charisma. It leaves the viewer in the dark about much of who this guy is though, but I guess that’s what sequels are for.
The Blu-ray is very pleasing. The image itself is acceptable but for a little softness and the muted colour pallet prevents it really popping … but it suits the movie’s tone regardless. However the punchy DTS Master Audio mix hits hard on several occasions and dialogue is crisp. Extras are exhaustive for this release with behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes and a look at the series of novels that inspired a series of movies. A commentary by the director is the icing on a very commendable cake.