Posts Tagged ‘Jason Bourne

22
Mar
19

Hardcore Henry, The Villainess

Hardcore Henry
A Chinese-financed, Russian-directed movie where you never see the protagonist’s face sounds like a great idea on paper. No wait, nevermind, it sounds like a terrible idea on paper, and it is even more terrible on screen. Hardcore Henry is an ode to the first-person shooter genre of videogames. I’m no stranger to the genre; I’ve played and enjoyed the classics from Doom to Goldeneye 64 to Portal 2 and beyond. However, this style of gameplay does not translate to the screen. In a game, you are the main character. In a movie, you can’t be the main character. You can’t empathize with Henry because there is no Henry, there is just what Henry sees and hears. A film requires the main character to be seen and heard so you can, with them, experience the situation and emotions they are caught up in. The first person gimmick might have worked for just the action scenes, but dedicating the entire movie to it just doesn’t work. It loses its novelty very quickly. Admittedly, a lot of the action scenes are fun and inventive, and I especially liked the motorcycle chase sequence, but almost the entire movie is action. There is no story. It’s just a parade of endless shooting and punching. The only glimmer of originality was the scene with Sharlto Copley’s clones dancing and singing, and I felt like they should have built the movie around the clone concept instead. Hardcore Henry has well-made action, and I laud the excellent choreography it had, but it was just not enough to make this a worthwhile experience.
Verdict: Shitty
The Villainess
The first scene in this movie is a ten-minute, first-person action sequence. I watched this immediately after Hardcore Henry, and I thought I had just inadvertently done a first-person double-feature. My heart sank. Fortunately, the movie never goes first-person again once the introductory scene concludes. The Villainess is a South Korean action movie about a super-assassin akin to Jason Bourne. And as amazing as the introductory sequence is, the film loses steam quickly and never fully recovers. The Villainess comprises two incredible action sequences that bookend an otherwise bloated and plodding middle. The bulk of the movie is learning the Villainess’ tragic backstory, her training to become an assassin, and her return to the real world. The movie is interspliced with flashbacks, but the audience gets no cue when the flashbacks begin, such as a fade or an auditory clue or a different color lens filter. Frequently, I couldn’t tell we were in a flashback until a good 30 seconds into one. The movie does this often enough it becomes disorienting. In the modern part of the film, the spy agency sends an undercover agent to manipulate the Villainess into marrying him, so he can keep tabs on her. However, this is pointless because she already has a handler and 24-hour surveillance. The marriage, in fact, causes the Villainess to botch an assassination, and unravels her entire life. Maybe this was the point of the film, but it’s impossible to tell. It feels more like bad writing as you watch it unfold. The middle section drag interminably until the Villainess finally confronts the main bad guy in a very cool bus-chase-ax-attack sequence. The camera moves with frenetic energy. Clearly, the director was enthusiastic about it, although he gets a bit gratuitous with the camera movements, sweeping up and down and around, when a simple static shot might have been more impactful. Plus, I could have done without the fish-eye lens shots. But, on the whole, the action scenes are refreshingly inventive, excellently choreographed, and thrilling. The Villainess has an ambiguous ending, but what is the audience meant to ponder? Is this an origin story? Are there going to be more films? She’s not villain-like at all, but certainly could have become a villain at the conclusion. In any case, The Villainess is a 2 hour film that should have been 90-minutes, and would have been improved with a more energetic second act. However, it’s action scenes are unimpeachable.
Verdict: Average
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01
Oct
16

The Bourne Mediocrity (AKA Jason Bourne 5)

Thirty minutes in, and right after a major action sequence, I checked my watch to see how much time was left in this movie. I grimaced when I saw there was still another ninety minutes to go. Jason Bourne, the fifth film in the series, is yet another one of Hollywood’s ill-advised attempts at resurrecting franchises. Instead of wowing, it falls flat on its face, and makes you wish they had stopped with the third film.

The fundamental problem with Jason Bourne is it’s a film stuck in the past. The original trilogy is undeniably phenomenal. It is one of those rare “perfect trilogies” that never makes a misstep. Expanding the series beyond that meant there was nowhere to go, and they would be doing nothing but rehashing old concepts.

Continue reading ‘The Bourne Mediocrity (AKA Jason Bourne 5)’

11
Oct
14

Fuck your cinematic universe

This is a movie I never want to see.

OK, we need to have a talk. A serious talk. Why don’t you sit down over there?

*takes deep breath*

I heard you were doing something you shouldn’t be.

*holds out hand to stop a response*

I know, I know, you were probably just experimenting. And that’s OK. When I was your age, I experimented with stuff, too. You’re young, and you want to explore the world. Maybe you want to experiment with the same sex, or drugs, or a different religion. You know what? That’s OK. That’s how you discover yourself and become the person you are going to be as an adult.

*crosses arms over chest*

But there is one thing you should never experiment with. Something that, if you get involved with, can lead you down a very dark path. You might never come back from it.

*narrows eyes*

I heard from a friend of yours, that you…

*sighs*

…were thinking of starting your own cinematic universe.

Continue reading ‘Fuck your cinematic universe’

18
Jan
14

The Bourne Legacy, Pitch Perfect

The Bourne Legacy

“Woah, don’t shoot me, I give up.”

The Bourne Legacy is the unfortunate fourth installment of the incredibly successful Jason Bourne movie series. Legacy is a massive disappointment for several reasons, perhaps most of all because it doesn’t feature titular character Jason Bourne. Legacy is a goddamn abomination from the very beginning. New scenes are interspliced with scenes from The Bourne Ultimatum (movie 3 in the series). This is done to let us know the events are occurring simultaneously. However, it doesn’t come across well at all. It ends up as far more confusing, and the scenes are unnecessary, adding absolutely nothing to the film.
Next, the lead character, Aaron Cross (played by Jeremy Renner), is nothing more than a prop meant to stand in for Bourne until Matt Damon decides to return to the franchise. Cross is a completely generic super-spy just like all the others we’ve seen before. He brings nothing new to the table. Renner does a decent enough job acting, but the material he has to work with is so bland that nothing could save it. Bourne’s character was interesting because he was an amnesiac, and plot revelations were earned over time to create an interesting mystery for the audience. Cross, however, already knows everything about being a spy, so there is nothing new for the audience to take in. The main female character, a random scientist played by Rachel Weisz, is one-note through and through.
The story drags from the beginning, and is only punctuated by a few brief action sequences. The storyline is a complete re-hash of the other films (rogue agent escapes as government tries to kill him). The rest of the film is very talky, but nobody is talking about anything important. Bureaucratic types (like the one played by Edward Norton) bluster at one another endlessly, spouting meaningless drivel. The final scene is a protracted chase scene where Cross attempts to flee his attackers, which include a villain who literally follows his scent. Is this movie fucking serious? The menacing villain SMELLS the hero? Jesus fucking Christ, where do they come up with this shit? Overall, this is a wretched film. It’s no wonder Damon steered clear of it. If they keep churning out scripts like this one, it’s doubtful he’ll ever return to the franchise. And he shouldn’t.
Verdict: Shitty
Pitch Perfect

The entire movie summed up in one picture.

Pitch Perfect is exactly the kind of movie I can’t stand to watch. It’s one of those made for tweens musical “comedies” that eschews logic or coherence in favor of SINGING AND MUSIC AND FART JOKES. The setting is a college, although it must be a college for retards or something, since everyone is about 10 years older than the average college student. A bunch of generic white girls audition for an a capella group called the Barden Belles. The Belles are about to enter a nation-wide a capella competition, and they have to do whatever it takes to hone their skills in order to win the trophy.
Everything that follows is a hodge-podge of tired genre cliches that have been done a thousand times before, not to mention a thousand times better. Anna Kendrick and her giant teeth play the main girl who loves singing. She attempts to overhaul the Belles by making them do music from recent years. However, the group leader, played by Anna Camp and her giant teeth, refuses, thinking that songs from the 1980s or earlier are the only way to go. This creates a rift in the group until Camp predictably gives in and allows the group to sing recent songs.
Kendrick’s character tells a boy that she has never finished watching a movie in her entire life, which is completely preposterous, but the reason why is because they are too predictable. That’s a fucking hilarious joke, since Pitch Perfect is as cliche and predictable as movies come. Guess what it’s about? A ragtag group of underdogs who enter a competition against all odds and are crowned champions at the end. Wow, I’ve never seen a movie like that before. Ugh. Kendrick’s character eventually watches the fucking Breakfast Club, and cries her ass off. Yeah, The Breakfast Club, what a tearjerker. Throughout the film, Kendrick tells the boy they have no shot at a relationship. Then, at the very end of the movie she kisses him. Um, what? Not only did she put the kibosh on a relationship several times, the two of them have zero chemistry on screen. The kiss comes pretty far out of left field.
Everything else in the film is idiotic: shy asian girl who can’t speak above a whisper? SURE, LET’S HAVE HER JOIN THE SINGING GROUP, WHY NOT? Of course, we have a quirky fat girl (who I have to admit did make me laugh a couple of times). And naturally, we have gross-out humor like the girls wrestling in a giant pool of vomit. Last but not least, with this being a college movie, classes or learning do not show up ever. It’s a tween’s ideal of what college must be like. In the movie’s favor, the singing was good and the people behind the songs are quite talented. But apart from that, Pitch Perfect has nothing else to offer.
Verdict: Bad
06
May
12

Avengers Assemble for a Giant Circle Jerk

The forces of Photoshop are here to save the day!

Ever since the 2008 film Iron Man was a success, comic book studio Marvel has been trying to get people excited for a movie starring several of its most famous superheroes. Four years, and four movies, later Marvel has finally done it. Marvel has been cramming all their other movies with unnecessary Avengers bullshit, just for the sole reason of getting people interested in the upcoming Avengers movie. Did Thor need a huge Avengers sub-plot where agents of SHIELD took his hammer and he had to get it back? No. Did Iron Man 2 need a huge Avengers sub-plot with Samuel L. Jackson trying to recruit Tony Stark into SHIELD? No. In fact, that particular bullshit ruined the entire movie. And I won’t even get started on what a hokey piece of shit Captain America was. Every time Marvel shoe-horned in an Avengers sub-plot into one of their movies, all it did was serve as an annoying distraction from the rest of the film. It’s almost as if Marvel was telling the audience, “Don’t worry about all this origin story nonsense, we just want to get this out of the way so you can watch The Avengers later.”

I was certainly not excited for The Avengers. In my attempts to become a world-class blogger, I typically watch a film 6-12 months after theatrical release, just long enough for my review to be irrelevant. I figured I would try something new this time. And since I am such a big fan of Summer Shit Spectaculars, not to mention excruciatingly long lines, and headache-inducing 3D, I really had no choice but to see this movie opening weekend. And how did it turn out? Well, it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it was going to be. I didn’t feel like Marvel was taking a huge fart in my face. But that doesn’t mean the movie was particularly good either.

Continue reading ‘Avengers Assemble for a Giant Circle Jerk’




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