Sunday, 31 July 2016

#49 JASON BOURNE


Starring Matt Damon,Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles and Riz Ahmed. Written by Baron Silas Greenback and Christopher Rouse. Directed by Baron Silas Greenback. Running time 120 minutes and $123 million budget.

Bourne, now amnesia free, is making his living traveling the Baltic states taking part in bare-knuckle fight bouts, his technique varies between one punch take-downs and standing there letting his face be used as a punching bag until his opponent collapses from exhaustion. He's older, grey at the temples but still an utter bad ass. Meanwhile, angry, pouting Julia Stiles breaks into the CIA computer and downloads the list of utra-top-secret, 'off the book', black-op, wet works, covert missions. You know like, Treadstone, Blackbriar and Outcome to which we can now add Iron Spanks and Sausage Factory.

The CIA react quickly by letting its rising star, 13-year old Alicia Vikander take control of the situation and bug Stile's memory stick, for her own nefarious purpose. Her boss, old and craggy-faced Tommy Lee Jones, who joins a long list of other old and craggy-faced actors to play her boss, CIA Director Dewey Decimal System. He's working behind the scenes for his own nefarious purposes. He announces that Jason Bored is behind it all and unleashes his 'asset', Vincent Cassel to angrily travel the world killing everyone who stands in his way of killing Jason Bored, for his own nefarious purposes.

Stiles tracks down Bored at another bare-knuckle fight and tells him that she's uncovered something really important about Bored's dad, but rather than tell him in, you know, words she's dropping massive cryptic hints and tapping her nose while winking dramatically at the camera and nodding slowly with her mouth open wide.

Bored, perhaps because of the massive head trauma he's just suffered in his fights, decides to investigate by riding his motorcycle really fast through the middle of a Greek riot and frowning very hard. Still lacking the requisite motivation, Stiles dies in front of him and Bored finally gets it and embarks on a globe trotting adventure towards the showdown with the big baddy, Ol' Craggy Face and thereby discover the latest secret about his past that this whole tired adventure has unlocked. You know, the big secret about his daddy and who killed him. Perhaps daddy wasn't the victim of a terrorist bomb, conveniently exploded just after he'd told his son something really, really important about, you know, that thing. He too avoids using words opting for half-finished sentences, just so we don't get guess the truth too soon, but we do.

Apparently in the next film, there's a big secret about his mum, and in the film after that there's one about his second-cousin Vinnie and his best-friend's sister's neighbour.

Anyway, because the actual secret and Bored's tired trudge towards understanding it is incredibly slight and rather un-involving there's another plot that's sort of dropped like a huge dollop of cold porridge onto the proceedings that hint at another big secret thingie involving something called Deep Dream that isn't Facebook and its billionaire tech-genius inventor, Riz Ahmed and Ol' Craggy face.

All that's left now is for all these broken ends to be glued together at the big, dramatic show-down finale and Bored and Vince can have that huge mano-a-mano fight before Moby's 'Extreme Ways' can spew it's vile electronic 'wee-wah' shriek into our ears and the credits can run and we can all go home, bored by yet another dull, dreary summer dull-buster.

But enough of the plot. What about the film, you're begging.

It's awful and utterly unwatchable.

And it's unwatchable because there isn't a single moment in this  film when the fucking camera doesn't just sit still without shaking all over the place. Shake, shake, shake. Even when Bored is just sat on a train reading something. "shake that fucking camera!" Greenback whispers to the camera man, while stroking his white caterpillar, "I'm not paying you to stand still! SHAKE IT!" And so shake it he does, while he waits for Danger Mouse to save him. He shakes it in every scene, the quiet ones, the action ones, the important plot-heavy ones, the car chase ones, indeed every single fucking one. And boy is it distracting. Indeed so distracting is it that rather than make us feel we're right in the middle of the action we are actually yanked right out of the moment and reminded we're sat in a cinema watching a film. A really good film will make you forget you're sat in a cinema. You'll become utterly engrossed by it. Clearly Greenback hates this idea because he does every single thing he can think of to remind you - that you are sat in a cinema for each and every minute of this film's 120 minute running time.

So disorientating is his shaky-cam that each single fight scene, car-chase and action beat is rendered unwatchable and the only way you can work out the outcome is to wait until it's ended and you can see who's still standing. Greenback gets round this rather cleverly by having all of the action sequences narrated by the CIA command centre just so we know what's going on. Thank god for that.

This is one of those films where we, the audience, have to play catch up. Everybody in the film knows what's going on and they're making sure not to tell anyone until the end. Which is unlike the vastly superior Bond films where we know what the villains are up to and then we watch Bond uncover the truth. In the Bored films we have to wait for the penny to drop for Bored before we can understand the big secret thingie that's been hinted at for the entire film.

I have to say, I loved the first Bored film, thought it was great fun and a nice twist on the whole secret agent genre. But as this series has gone on they've just become more and more unwatchable. And yet so many critics will tell you how immersive and exciting these films are, they're hail Greenback as the greatest of all action directors, they hold the Bored films up as examples of how dreadful the Bond films are.

Well, if we're talking truths here's one. Greenback is the living embodiment of the Emperor's New Clothes. His camera tricks are dreadful, they've influenced a whole generation of lesser directors to pollute a generation's worth of action films, to render them unwatchable. Please Hollywood, just stop it now. It's as tired as the Nolan's Booms. Action films are not fly-on-the-documentaries, i won't feel as if I'm in the middle of the action if you're shaking the camera, I'll just feel motion sick.

So disorientating was the final car chase in this piece of shit film that I just closed my eyes and listened to it. I recommend you try it too. Don't worry you won't miss anything. Just listen to the sound effects, the repetitive crunch, crash, bang, shreik, you'll get the idea.

This is another one of those dreary, Hollywood sequels that promises so much and delivers so little. It's a loud, bombastic, shouty, shaky, shit-fest of tedious banality. If it wasn't for the fact that Matt Damon is so likeable this would be a total trainwreck of a movie. As it is, it's just another perfect example of all that is wrong with the modern Hollywood dull-buster. All style over content.

3/10


FINAL. SPOILER ALERT. TWENTY QUESTIONS THIS FILM RAISES THAT AREN'T ANSWERED.*

PLEASE DON'T READ THESE IF YOU'VE NOT SEEN THE FILM.

Here are some niggling little questions the film leaves you with.

1. How is Bored able to travel the world on CIA issued passports without being stopped?
2. How come in the middle of a riot so bad, the Greek government issue a 'state emergency' are all the roads and streets in Athens empty so that Bored and Vince can have a car chase?
3. How is Vince able to run up 5 minutes of vertical staircases carrying a sniper rifle without being out of breathe or perspiring slightly?
4. How is the murder of four CIA agents in London Paddington not major news? They are killed in the street and their bodies just left there in broad daylight?
5. Why doesn't Stiles work out that the Asset killed her men in London? If she does why doesn't she do anything about it?
6. Following the disastrous CIA sanctioned mission in London, why isn't Ol' Craggy Face questioned, why isn't Stiles arrested? Why is nothing done?
7. Why does the Berlin based CIA rapid response unit leave both of their cars unguarded?
8. How is Bored able to walk away from the serious amount of head trauma he suffers? In one scene he suffers a motor bike crash with no helmet. In another he smacks his head on a wall and falls at least three stories. In another he's pistol whipped and struck across the head by a dumbell. And he lets another fighter use his head as a punching bag. And yet he never sufferes a single bout of concussion. I thought the Bored films were supposed to be 'real'?
9.Why do the Las Vegas police only issue a APB for the stolen Dodge Charger that Bored takes and not the SWAT van that Vince steals?
10. What about the simply shocking collateral damage that's suffered on the streets of Las Vegas, where were all the other police cars?
11. Why, when Vince is identified as the 'asset' in Las Vegas and he's just killed another Secret Agent, isn't his photo passed to every law enforcement officer?
12. How come there isn't a CIA guard detail on Ol' Craggy Face's suite?
13. Where are all the Las Vegas police men when the assassination attempt goes wrong in the packed auditorium?
14. How is it that by simply wearing a baseball cap you can avoid any detection at Las Vegas security check points? And how is it that suddenly your baseball cap no longer offers you cart-Blanche security invisibility when it's needed?
15. How is Bored able to survive a gun shot to the stomach with no blood loss or any serious injury? Also how is he able to survive an protracted car chase and crash, followed by a lengthy brutal MMA fight in a sewer while shot in the gut?
16. Why don't the Las Vegas police deptarment chase Bored and Vince into the sewer after their car chase has ended?
17. How is Ol' Craggy Face's death not huge news, he's killed in Las Vegas for pity sake!
18. How come Bored's stolen Dodge Charger's driver air bags don't deploy when he's involved in a head on crash?
19. How is Bored able to just turn up in the middle of Washington and not be caught? And how is Bored able to bug the conversation that Stiles has with her boss in a car traveling in front of him?
20. How and why is Baron Silas Greenback still considered to be such a great director when all of his films induce motion sickness?

*FEEL FREE TO SEND ME YOUR OBSERVATIONS AND I'LL ADD THEM TO THE LIST.

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