Movie Date: Jason Bourne (PG13)
The spy franchise may be Bourne again, but it isn't the best one
STARRING: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles
DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass
THE SKINNY: Former CIA assassin Jason Bourne (Damon) has been off the grid for years. But when former colleague Nicky Parsons (Stiles) tracks him down to get his help to stop a new CIA black ops
initiative, he is again hunted by the CIA. Hot on his heels is CIA tech expert Heather Lee (Vikander), who has some dark secrets of her own.
Jason Bourne is one of the most boring characters in cinema.
There's nothing to him, no personality at all.
He's basically a cockroach - scurrying around, trying not to get killed.
His mysterious history is supposedly his allure, but it's something out of a comic book. Like Wolverine, he is a weapon created by a secret government organisation.
We spent three - or was it four? - movies trying to get to the bottom of that.
Now we learn there are more secrets, this time concerning his father.
Dude, it's time to move on. LET IT GO.
So the story is basically a bunch of secret agents running after Bourne, either to kill him or "bring him in".
As far as I can tell, there are no twists or turns.
Also no humour or emotion, aside from grim determination.
Unfortunately, director Greengrass' visual style is as dull as his supposed drama.
Every shot is either blue or brown, or maybe blue and brown. Manly colours, you know?
They're giving us no reason to care about Jason Bourne, his father, or his existential problems.
Vikander is the only one who holds my interest, probably because she's pretty.
It's certainly a relief to look upon her after enduring the craggy, scowling mugs of Damon, Jones and Cassel.
I've always thought the Jason Bourne movies are better than the James Bond ones.
Damon's lethal spy and the crazy, complicated espionage he's involved in are grounded in reality, unlike the frivolous activities Bond engages in - the pre-Daniel Craig Bonds at least.
Bourne thinks on his feet and uses whatever is handy as weapons. No need for flashy cars and fancy gadgets.
He's not well dressed. He's just another man on the street. So to see him return to action is exciting - though the story is as convoluted as the last three films.
Damon plays his Bourne well. He certainly looks like someone on the run for years. He has aged a fair bit too, but he's a survivor, which means that those who cross his path generally end up in the sorry pile.
The issues in this latest instalment are relatively current. The danger comes not from terrorists but from those who crave power through data-mining.
The action sequences are spectacular, but nothing new. While this is a welcome return, its predecessors were more engaging.
Vikander not only serves as eye candy, she represents the "new" digital world.
You can be sure she's poised to be the next powermonger, since this does open doors for more Bourne adventures.
But sequels do need to work more on simplifying the story and giving it more purpose if they want to hook Bourne back to the spy business.
THE CONSENSUS: The spy franchise may be Bourne again, but it isn't the best one
Movie Review: Skiptrace (PG)
The mighty have indeed fallen.
Jackie Chan, once the esteemed action hero of Asia, has now become a clowning travel host.
It's not a bad retirement job, especially since he does it so well in Skiptrace.
However, the Hollywood movie is supposed to be a road trip action flick. I guess the China investors had different ideas.
Chan's police officer Bennie is searching for crime boss The Matador.
Enter Johnny Knoxville's Connor Watts, a gambler who stumbles across evidence that implicates Bennie's niece Samantha (Fan Bingbing), who is then captured by the bad guys.
The story is pretty straightforward but will take you on a massive detour around the touristy spots of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi and Guizhou provinces.
The chemistry between Chan and Knoxville is nonexistent.
The amazing stunts are nothing new. Chan has officially passed his expiry date.
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
What It Looks Like: Charlie Hunnam stars as Arthur Saxay, a male model who winds up in medieval England. Bedazzled by his hunky looks, the peasants make him their king. With his fancy cloak and tunic designs, King Arthur turns Camelot into the fashion capital of the world.
What It's Really About:
Director Guy Ritchie puts his spin on the legend.