Franchise Frenzy with Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne

It wouldn’t be the summer movie season without franchise entries galore, and although I proudly shirk most, two series I have always enjoyed are Star Trek and Jason Bourne. The latest episodes opened on back to back weekends and both are entertaining, serviceable entries providing escapism that hit all their required marks. But it was interesting to see how one was almost undone by its director’s ambition with action sequences, while the other was so taut and perfectly executed in its action as to take the film to another level. If Justin Lin’s smash-and-grab acrobatic incoherence is the perfect example of what not to do with action sequences, then Paul Greengrass’ intense hand-held location shooting is the masterclass of modern action direction.

Star Trek Beyond Damnit Jim Its Bright In Here

Being with the same cast for the third time around gives Star Trek Beyond a nice lived-in feel. We know the characters so well, as these actors have come into their own doing great jobs with Simon Pegg’s scripted witty and goofy banter that harkens back to classic Treks, especially Karl Urban as Bones. The plot is pretty basic. And since it seems like The Enterprise needs to get destroyed every time now, they wisely dispense with this in the beginning when the crew crash lands on an uncharted planet after having fallen into a giant space booby-trap. On hand as the villain, is a growling Idris Elba who seems to be the go-to guy for villains with crazy accents these days. The flick is fun and quick paced, and the special effects (especially the giant space station/city Yorktown) are colorful, bright and dazzling.

I was happy to see J.J. Abrams move on from the franchise, but Justin Lin was not the right choice to replace him. Lin made quite a name for himself orchestrating some of the most gleefully over-the-top car/truck/tank/plane/whatever smash-em-ups in the otherwise brain-dead Fast & Furious franchise. Sadly, his flair for the outlandish stunt doesn’t translate as well into space.   Continue reading

A Review of Paul Greengrass’ “The Bourne Ultimatum”

Bourne Again Fan, 7 August 2007
8/10

Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

“The Bourne Ultimatum” begins recklessly mid-chase and in pulse-pounding fashion explodes from there as Jason Bourne (Matt Damon, absolutely superb) tracks down the masterminds behind the CIA black-ops that turned him into the perfect killer in a final attempt to learn his true identity. A devastatingly icy David Strathairn as the “man behind the curtain” is added to the returning cast of regulars including Joan Allen (excellent) and Julia Stiles (non-existent).

Like the second entry in the series, I wished Paul Greengrass’ shaky hand-held camera would go static at least for the few minutes of downtime. However, that being said, it’s a perfect way to capture the tense, claustrophobic feel of the intimate hand-to-hand-combat scenes and works equally well in the chase scenes which are mostly on foot and across rooftops with the occasional big car pile-up. Part of the fun of the Bourne series is the constant globe-hopping and manipulation of technology and communications that seem to defy the laws of physics and current capabilities. The Bourne films seem to exist in some sort of gritty hyper-reality that is full of technological-based magic. It makes no sense that everyone seems to be just in the right place at the right time, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a blast to watch them get there.

With the absence of the emotive and involving Franka Potente, the writers attempt to create some emotional connection between Damon and Stiles, but she is so blank-faced an actress it never really leads to anything. Still, this can be forgiven, for unlike the “Identity” and the “Supremacy”, this “Ultimatum” reveals all and we finally learn the truth about Bourne’s past. It’s an entertaining and satisfying conclusion to the series, and if they have any good sense, and Damon gets his wish, this will be the perfect end to it.

The Jason Bourne films are based on Robert Ludlum’s popular series of books. 

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database:

http://imdb.com/title/tt0440963/usercomments-174