Sunday, August 26, 2007

"He'll make you wish you hadn't been Bourne"

If that had been the tagline I might have enjoyed the Bourne Ultimatum more. As it is I came out feeling distinctly underwhelmed.

The pace is kept up pretty well and the film keeps you on your toes. Unfortunately unlike in better thrillers where the pace of the action gives potency to the core drama in this film it seems designed to cover up for the lack of a compelling underlying plot.

The first five or so minutes are a Guardian writer's wet dream with all the unsubtle conspiracy theories that implies. According to the BBC, Greengrass, this film's director, is a "political filmmaker". Unfortunately his political thought does not rise above the dismal Hollywood norm. His criticism of the CIA is about as telling as Culture Club's attack on militarism: "The CIA, The CIA is stupid, and people are stupid".

The question I kept coming back to is simple: why should I care about Jason Bourne?

He does appear to have been treated pretty poorly by the CIA spooks but he's such a robot I don't feel much more empathy than I would for a mistreated vacuum cleaner. When the film tries to get to the emotional root of his character all we find is another robot.

My not caring fed into my regularly wanting the bad guys to win, always a bad sign. Particularly a North African CIA assassin called Desh who appeared to be using 'terrorist' techniques such as bombs detonated by mobile phone. The CIA terrorist was quite an interesting character and appeared to succeed through being cleverer than meathead Bourne. I wanted him to win.

This film is brainless Hollywood entertainment. If you can switch your brain off for a couple of hours you could really enjoy it. I couldn't which is, I guess, my problem.


James Higham said...

This is more than interesting because I blogged on this on August 3rd but hadn't seen it, of course. Now you hve and it's a bit as I expected.

Pity because the first one, with Franka Portenta, seemed to be better as a flick.

By the way, I had to shift you to a different Blogroll, Matt, to recognize your new status - you're now White, for what it's worth. :)

Ginro said...

Get some sleep Sinclair, you look tired.

*cue dramatic music play out as Sinclair stands up from his computer keyboard and stares up at the ceiling wondering how I could be spying on him, worry and confusion etched across his face* lol!

Personally I love the Bourne trilogy and have never really been a fan of the Bond films, preferring something with a little more realism. I thought the Gardiuan reporter came across as a bit of a wimp and an idiot, over-reacting and refusing to listen to advice from someone who knew what he was talking about, which then led to the reporters demise - probably a very good depiction where Gurdiany reporters are concerned.

Mountjoy said...

That's the problem with sequels, Matthew, as they're never as good. Brown is the sequel to Blair, after all - nuff said. :-)