You have to love the 80s. It was a golden era for horror, and a time when horror could be fun as well as horrifying. Today a lot of horror movies go straight for the jugular and can be way too nasty They’re almost a test of endurance. That can’t be said for this rather under-appreciated 1988 remake of a 50’s b-movie of the same name.
When a meteor crashes near a small town, biker rebel Kevin Dillon (The Rescue) finds himself thrown into a battle for survival alongside high school cheerleader Shawnee Smith (Saw). Even as authority figures and adults dismiss the disappearances along with sightings of a weird goo … of course it’s up to the kids to find a way to stop what’s happening. Yeah, there’s nothing all that clever here, but it retains that b-movie tongue-in-cheek tone that perfectly suits such a silly concept, with cast all doing a great job of going along for the ride. Director Chuck Russell (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors) piles on some effective gore with still great practical effects and a couple of genuine shocks (the kid in the sewer). Also I’d forgotten how likable Shawnee Smith is, and well Kevin Dillon’s always been a great bad-boy (where’s he gone?).
It reminded me at times of John Carpenter’s seminal The Thing remake but fares poorly in comparison due to clichéd characters and only passable acting, and that silly tone stops it from being scary even for a second. Yet as it stands this is still a great deal of fun and is certainly worth your time.
The Blu-ray is rather a pleasant surprise … image quality may seem a bit soft but colours are vibrant and overall the picture is clean, and free of any print damage. The sound gets the lossless 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio treatment, but seems to lack a bit of ‘punch’ overall. Extras feature a trailer and a director interview, but that’s it. Considering the movie at time of writing still lacks a UK Blu-ray release this Region B Australian release is a godsend.
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.