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August 06, 2007

Bourne Supremacy: what a mess...

A couple of years ago, I raved about the second part of the Bourne Trilogy. I've been eagerly waiting for the third and final act to come out, and last night I finally got to see it. 'Disappointed' is too weak a word to describe how I felt. There may be a few spoilers below.

Gone was the sense of reality. According to this movie, the CIA is listening in to all -- yes all! -- cell phone conversations in the whole world using voice-recognition software. They can take control of any CCTV camera in the world, and operate with such impunity that they can burst onto a bus in London, flashing guns, to stick a needle in the back of someone's neck and drag him away. And, oh yes, they have brainwashed super assassins lounging around hotel rooms all over the world, five minutes from any location, awaiting a text message on their phone telling them to kill someone. And if by some chance they fail, well, there's a back up assassin on his way soon. The agents in The Matrix would be in awe of the incredible reach and power of the CIA.

Gone were the coherent action scenes. The interminable chase scene in Tangiers -- yes, there are CIA super assassins waiting around in Tangiers, too -- made no sense. I had no clue in what was going on in the (quite short) car chase in New York.

Gone was any kind of logic in the story. Characters' actions were frequently baffling. The main CIA bad guy brings a known Bourne sympathizer into his team and tells her about all the terrible and top secret things they do. A CIA agent throws away her career and betrays her superiors for Bourne before knowing anything of what's going on. One of the brainwashed assassins has Bourne in his sights and Bourne says to him, "Do you really know why you're supposed to kill me?" This convinces the assassin to reconsider his career options and he lets Bourne get away. There's some madly dumb stuff in this flick.

I could go on and on about the plot holes and general stupidity, but what really bothered me about this movie was its attitude. It's a film made for truthers. The CIA bad guys operate from their command room in Manhattan. Dozens and dozens of people work there, not looking too stressed as they obey their boss's orders to send assassins to kill reporters or former colleagues. It's just another day on the job for them. And the movie makes it clear that this is all sanctioned by the American government. They control absolutely everything, you see.

But the most offensive part was at the end. In a flashback sequence, Bourne is volunteering to join this new special ops unit that is being formed. Square jaw jutting forward, he is shown to be doing it because he is a patriot and believes he will be saving American lives. Cut to the program's evil mastermind leering almost sexually at him. The message wouldn't be any less subtle if they flashed the word "SUCKER!" over Matt Damon's face.

And yet the critics rave! It's Sky Captain all over again.

August 01, 2007

'You're all suckers!'

That's what Homer tells the audience at the beginning of The Simpsons Movie, and I have to say I agree with him. The show has been pretty lame for a long time, yet I thought that with the focus and polish that a movie requires the creators would be able to create one last gem. But no, it was pretty much like the current episodes (or so I imagine them to be, as I never watch the show anymore), just longer and slower. Other than the 'Spider-pig' segment -- which was very funny -- I don't think I laughed out loud during the whole film. But if you like to see Homer get hit in the head or fall down, you'll love it; 85% of the jokes involved one or the other.

I didn't frown through the whole thing either. It was an amusing film. But I just expected more. Sad to say but The Transformers was funnier.