Monday, August 02, 2004

"Bourne" Again

Yum-Yum...this is crispity, crunchity, butter-topped summertime entertainment with few stubborn unpopped kernels. Matt Damon returns again as hitman/spy/amnesiac/goverment tool Jason Bourne on the run from Russian oil baddies and wicked CIA types. Can't they just let him be with his tormented quarter memories, hottie Euro chick and beachfront bungalow in India?

There are a few reasons why this movie escapes the traditional hum-drum sludgy sameness that afflicts most yawn-ful Hollywood special fx action "products:"

First, an uncluttered plot. Pay some attention! Pay no attention! You'll be fine. It turns out that ironic answer to the elusive mix of "balls" and "brawn" that many similar films aspire to is keep the plot simple. Simple! This film refuses to hold all of its cards to the end...instead it deals a few out throughout the movie, keeping you in the hand.

Second, strong like bull action sequences. Many times in a car chase/gunfight/boat explosion/cat scratching scene you can tell when the actor is in the frame and when the stuntman is while the star is off in his trailer tagging the local Starbucks "Coffee Artist." "Supremacy's" action sequences, most notably the two car chase scenes feel totally seamless as any I've seen on film.

Third, speak softly and carry a big chip on your shoulder. Damon's Bourne character is given little to say in the movie, his actions speak volumes and, when is commanded to speak, his words are curt and to the point. Even better are the small scenes where nothing is being chased/blown-up/killed/maimed/molested, and you can catch your breathe, which are done very well. For example, the one between Damon and the young hot Russian daughter of a family from his past: "My, I didn't think you would be that old...mmm-mmm."

The director, Paul Greengrass, who made the excellent small-budgeted Irish docudrama "Bloody Sunday" shows that he can take a bigger budget and maintain. I have rarely seen scenes shot from so many different, but very interesting (and mostly hand-held) angles and cut together in such a way that drives the incredibly frenzied pace.

Studios spend billions and billions of dollars on just getting your $10.25 ass into the theater often to beat you over the head with a 2 hour exploding, dummified trailer for the video game and the forthcoming special/limited/boo-ya-ka-sha edition 6 disc DVD set with the caterer's commentary. Finally, we get a movie that will outshine either.

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