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Flashback Review: June 6th, 2014 Movie – Brain Twisters

brain twisters

I love when hurricanes wreck havoc on any sort of plans you may want to make. Yes, I am being sarcastic with that comment. Now don’t get me wrong. I am by no means trying to make light of the seriousness of a hurricane, as I have been through a couple of them in my lifetime. I just hate when you try to make plans and then have to change or cancel them because you have no idea how bad the weather may be. Now that I got that off my chest, time to get on with Brain Twisters. Now this is one of the movies from the Sci-Fi Invasion box set and I have a vague recollection of this movie from the first time I watched it but don’t really remember much about it. Now let’s see exactly what type of movie it is.

The plot: A woman is jogging along a road in the woods when she is run down by a car that had swerved to hit her. Meanwhile, Dr. Phillip Rothman is conducting experiments on consenting students to test their brain wave patterns when exposed to random patterns of colors and lights. As he is conducting the experiment on a girl named Yvonne, he receives a call from Wrightnour, his financial backer for the experiments he is performing, saying that they might need to terminate the experiment. Rothman puts him on hold while he pays Yvonne for her participation, then argues against terminating the funding and says he will get the funding elsewhere but Wrightnour tells him that he signed an agreement so all of the equipment is theirs. Later, Rothman is teaching his class and as the class ends, Rothman talks with Laurie Stevens about her signing up for the work study program and he tells her to giver her a list of her free time so that he can schedule her appropriately. Meanwhile, Denise is walking with her boyfriend Ted out of class and accidentally bumps into a landscaper as they leave the building. She apologizes but the man just stares at her and Ted calls the man a creep but as he looks up at the sun, he starts to space out. Later that night, Ted takes Denise back to her apartment but she tells him she will see him tomorrow, as she plans on working out with Laurie that night, which upsets him. As Denise is getting ready, someone breaks into the apartment and attacks her and when Laurie gets there, she finds Denise has been hanged. Laurie calls the police and she is questioned for a while by one of the officers before Detective Frank Turi takes over, asking her about Ted and where he might be. Meanwhile, another student, Michelle, goes to see Rothman and attempts to seduce him into giving her a better grade but Rothman doesn’t fall for it and offers to let her take part in the experiments to help her get a better grade and she reluctantly agrees. The next day, Frank has Laurie go with him to the restaurant that Ted works at and when she points him out, Frank approaches Ted and asks to speak with him alone. Frank starts asking Ted some questions about his being with Denise last night but the lights from the nearby pinball machine begin to affect Ted, causing him to attack a customer. When Frank pulls him off the guy, Ted pushes Frank away, then stumbles around before jumping out the window and falling to his death. Later, Frank asks if any tests were done to Ted’s body to see if he was the one to kill Denise and he learns that Rothman’s company had claimed it and taken it with them. Frank goes to see Rothman and tells him they need Ted’s body to prove or disprove he is Denise’s murder and when Rothman refuses to hand it over, saying Ted had signed an agreement to donate his body to the foundation but Frank hands him a court order remanding Ted’s remains to the county morgue for autopsy. Rothman tells him he has an urgent matter to attend to but he will be back in an hour to let him have the body. When Frank returns with a hearse and some officers, he discovers that Rothman had severed Ted’s head and placed it in a jar and angrily tells Rothman that he needs the head as well as the body. As Frank leaves, Laurie arrives at Rothman’s lab and confronts him about how he questioned Ted but Frank tries to defend himself. As the body bags are wheeled out, Frank tells her about Rothman having Ted’s head in a jar, causing Laurie to be a little disturbed about Rothman’s actions. Laurie heads into the lab and Rothman tells her she could go home if things are to disturbing but she wants to be there to keep her mind off Denise and Ted’s deaths. Later, Frank is back at the precinct and has his partner tell him the information he has found out about Rothman when their Captain interrupts them and calls Frank into his office. When Frank gets there, he finds Rothman seated inside and the Captain tells Frank that Rothman has a court order for Ted’s remains. Rothman taunts Frank by saying the same words Frank told him earlier, then tells them he just wants Ted’s head. After he leaves, Frank asks how he managed to get the court order so fast and the Captain says that he must have some connections. That night, Michelle shows up at the lab to take part in the experiment and Rothman places her in the chair before starting the program. The next day, Yvonne is swimming in the school pool with Laurie but she spaces out as she stares at the shifting reflection in the pool. Yvonne’s boyfriend shows up and offers to take them to get some food but says he needs to get his car washed first. As they go through the car wash, the lights, foam, and brushes trigger a reaction in Yvonne, causing her to jump out of the car and run off. Meanwhile, Frank and his partner go see Rothman and asks him about a former student at another school who killed himself and tell him that Ted had killed Denise as well as another girl, which shocks Rothman. Meanwhile, Yvonne is taking a bath while a costume party is going on downstairs but when the bubbles set her off, she wanders downstairs in her robe and proceeds to kill her boyfriend and his friend, then breaks down in tears as she snaps out of whatever trance she was in. As the authorities arrive and Yvonne is taken away in an ambulance, Frank notices Rothman had arrived at the scene and comments about it being a coincidence that so many of his students seem to be killing people recently. Rothman heads to a bar and after a few drinks, he calls Wrightnour and chastises him for not telling him about his former student’s death and that they should cancel the experiments as they are damaging the kids’ brians. Wrightnour tries to pacify Rothman but when Rothman hangs up on him, due to the flashing lights at the club triggering a response in him, Wrightnour tells the board that they should get rid of him. At the club, Rothman is staring around watching people and when a bouncer tries to escort him out of their, Rothman hits him in the head with a bottle, smiling as he does so, then leaves. The next day, Frank is told that they are dropping the murder cases, as the feds are taking over the investigation. He calls Laurie to talk to her and invites her to dinner, telling her he will cook, and she accepts but is unaware that Rothman was listening in to their conversation. Later, Laurie leaves her apartment to get some groceries and while she is out, two men enter her apartment. That night, Frank cooks dinner at Laurie’s apartment and he asks her a couple of questions about what she does for Rothman but Laurie doesn’t feel comfortable talking about her work. Later, as Frank handles the dishes, Laurie turns on the TV when someone overrides the signal and displays a flashing pattern of colors. Laurie heads into the kitchen, picking up a knife on the way, but when she approaches Frank, she suddenly kisses him and one of the men that had rigged her apartment calls someone and tells them that the plan failed. Back at the apartment, Laurie pushes Frank away, saying she isn’t normally like this, and when Frank goes to ask her a favor when she is at work, she yells at him to get out. The next day, Frank is sitting outside Rothman’s building as Rothman arrives for class. Inside, Rothman is giving a lecture but the color from the projector light causes him to stumble over his words and when he sees Frank in the room, he cancels class, then yells at Frank to leave him alone. Later that day, Laurie calls to apologize to frank for the night before but as Frank talks with her, his Captain tells him Rothman filed a complaint so he is suspended for 2 weeks. The next day, Laurie shows up to work and Rothman talks to her about Frank being her lover, then talks about how much he likes her and offers to get her some ice cream. As soon as he leaves, Laurie starts looking around and reads some of his files and when he returns, she makes up an excuse and leaves. That night, Michelle and her boyfriend Roger break into the lab and Michelle activates the machine and gets inside. When it finishes, She exits the machine and Roger wants to leave but she kisses him before ripping out his throat with her fingernails. At her apartment, Laurie is watching the video of Rothman undergoing the experiment when Rothman knocks on her door, attempting to explain what is going on. When he angrily starts banging on the door, Laurie calls Frank but gets his answering machine. Rothman breaks into her apartment and attempts to kill her but a spinning crystal chandelier stops him and he quickly leaves. Rothman heads back up to his lab and finds Wrightnour inside and when Rothman says he is out, Wrightnour tells him he isn’t finished yet, then he walks out of the room as Frank’s partner enters and shoots Rothman. Wrightnour tells Frank’s partner to kill Laurie and he heads over there while Wrightnour oversees the removal of all the equipment for the experiment. Frank drives by Lauries place and sees his partner pull a gun on him so he continues driving, then circles around and rams his truck into his partner, killing him. Wrightnour tells the truck driver where to take the equipment, then gets into his limo and tells his driver to drive but the driver’s head leans back, revealing his throat has been ripped out and Michelle appears in the passenger seat, then crawls back and kills Wrightnour. Frank and Laurie arrive at the lab and see it has been empty and Michelle is sitting in Rothman’s chair with a blank look on her face. Laurie tells Frank she thinks they did something to her the other night and asks if she is still affected. Frank assures her she will be fine and as he comforts her, Michelle bursts through the glass window on the door, screaming out like mad. Some time later, a kid is playing video games and when his mom tells at him to come down for dinner, the kid gets an angry look on his face and yells down, “I’ll be right there, Mother!”, indicating the game was using the graphics pattern that Rothman’s machine was using.

This movie had a lot of potential as far as the plot went but it ended up falling a little flat in reality. The acting was ok, with Farrah Forke doing a decent job as Laurie. I also thought Joe Lombardo was good as Frank but Terry Londeree felt too monotone in his character of Rothman. The story was actually pretty interesting but I felt like they could have done a better job of really explaining what was going on. I mean, you don’t really figure out that Rothman’s experiment is turning people into killers until almost halfway through the movie. The special effects in the movie mainly consisted of a lot of flashing lights, which is honestly enough to give anyone a headache. Meanwhile, the action scenes were a lot of slow motion effects for the most part, which really killed any sort of tension they had going for them. I wish they were able to live up to the potential but it is simply a passable bit of time killing fluff.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 4th, 2014 Movie – The Brain Machine

the brain machine

Man, I am exhausted for some reason. Not the best way to start off the weekend. Then I find myself having to rewatch this movie and my head just went ahead and exploded. I had never heard of this movie before I bought the Sci-Fi Classics box set but the description sounded somewhat interesting. So I had some decent hopes going into this movie but they ended up being dashed when I finally sat down to watch The Brain Machine.

The plot: A man places a call to The General and tells him that there was a break in of the top secret files; with the only ones missing being the ones for the brain machine and Dr. Krisner’s file. The General believe Krisner was responsible and orders the man to get Krisner and have Saxon secure the grounds. Meanwhile, Doctors Carol Portland and Elton Morris are going over the test subjects that Dr. Roland Roth has selected for the Brain Machine; Minnie Lee Parks, Judd Reeves, Reverend Emory Neill, and Willie West. As they finish making their plans, Carol notices Krisner acting strange as he walks by their room and out the building. The General lands his plane and after getting in his car, he calls Saxon to ask how the search for Krisner is going and they tell him that they haven’t found him yet. One of Saxon’s men spots Krisner and fires at him but misses and when he chases after Krisner, Krisner manages to ambush him. The two struggle and Krisner accidentally shoots the man, then keeps running but fails to pick up his briefcase with the files that he stole. Krisner tries calling Roth to warn him about what the General’s plans are but when he sees two men approaching him, he is forced to run, knocking out one of the men and stealing his gun as he does. Krisner attempts to contact a senator but is unable to get through to him. The Senator contacts the General, as they are working together, and after the Senator tells him where Krisner is hiding, the General sends some men to kill him. After receiving a call that Krisner is dead, the General has a memo made up saying that he had been transferred and sent to the staff at E.C.C., then tells Saxon, the director of E.C.C., to have Roth’s team begin working on the brain machine without their knowledge, a move which Saxon argues against but is overruled. At E.C.C., Roth is greeting the test volunteers and explaining the rules of the study when he is called away to speak with Saxon, who tells him that their backers want him to participate in a different program or else they will hold up his funding. Carol is doing a test with Rev. Neil but when some of his comments unnerve her, she has Elton finish the test. That night, someone enters Minnie’s room and approaches her bed but she wakes up and screams, chasing the intruder out while Carol and Elton enter the room and comfort her. The next day, Ross chastises Judd for lying on his application and wants to kick him off the project but Judd convinces him to let him stay. The General orders his men to attempt to take control of Ross’s computers, using a fail safe circuit that was listed in the files Krisner stole, but they are unsuccessful. The test causes their computer to be unresponsive briefly and Ross has someone from engineering to check out the circuits and the worker notices something but when he touches the rogue cable, he is electrocuted, while a security guard sees him but walk off without helping. Later that day, Elton explains the test they will be participating in to study population explosion, saying they will be in a plus-shaped room, with the walls gradually moving closer to the central control hub as time passes. The next day, the General’s men attempt to take control of the computers again and manage to succeed this time, preventing Ross and Elton from being able to use the cameras in the test room to view the individual subjects but they are still able to view the control panel. The General’s men then begin feeding false questions into the computer for Elton to ask the subjects, causing tempers to start flaring up in the room. Suddenly, the biometric sensors go on an overload, causing all of the subjects and Carol to experience intense pain, all at the behest of the General’s men. Ross figures out that Saxon is somehow behind what is going on and argues with him, while the General’s men continue messing with the computer. As Rev. Neill has a dream about an affair he had, the computer was able to read his brainwaves and prints out a question to ask if he was the one to enter Minnie’s room and about the affiar. When Carol asks the question, Rev. Neill gets upset about the fact that he is not allowed his provate thoughts and he activates the fail safe to leave the room, which instead traps them inside as the walls begin shrinking in. Ross argues with Saxon that he is killing the people in the room but as he leaves to go try to get them out, he finds armed guards outside the door with orders to keep him and Elton inside the computer room. In the test room, Minnie hangs herself and as Rev. Neill prays over her body, Judd gets upset and starts yelling at him to shut up. When the feedback occurs again, Judd and Neill are killed and Carol is rendered unconscious, with Willie being the only person still awake. As the walls get closer to them, Carol regains consciousness and Willie grabs and pulls her closer to the central chamber. In the computer room, Ross and Elton tell Willit to smash through the control panel in the center of the room and hide in there with Carol. As Willie does that, Saxon enters the room with the two guards and Ross and Elton go to help rescue Carol and Willie. The guards refuse to allow them to leave, even when Saxon says they can, so Elton, Ross, and Saxon incapacitate the guards and take their weapons. As Saxon holds the guards at gunpoint, Ross and Elton rush to rescue Carol and Willie but as they climb down the control panel to get them, the door closes and is locked on them, and they end up being electrocuted to death inside the panel. The General and his guards appear at the computer room and when Saxon asks how he plans on covering all these deaths up, the General shoots him. Some time later, a news report talks about how Willie had gone nuts and killed himself and everyone else in the E.C.C. testing room when he smashed a control panel and electrocuted everyone. The General and Senator are watching the report and when it ends, the Senator asks about Saxon and the General says that he has been transferred. The Senator then says that the test was a success and that they should get the brain machine out of there and the General says it is already being done, as a truck is seen leaving the E.C.C.

God this movie is somewhat of a train wreck of confusion (although that might have been exacerbated by my exhaustion). The acting was ok, with James Best (who will always be Sheriff Rosco Coltrane from The Dukes Of Hazard to me) putting in an interesting performance as Rev. Neill. However, everyone else honestly was either two boring or wooded to warrant much attention. The story was honestly pretty confusing the first time I watched it and didn’t seem to get any clearer this time around. I mean, I understand the basic plot was that a secret government project piggybacked onto another project and when things went horribly wrong, they covered up all of the deaths. However, the way they went about doing this was poorly explained at times and just kept flipping between the two experiments, which didn’t make things any better. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects and the drama was decent at times but some of it felt forced at times which didn’t help the movie any. A confusing bit of a thriller that isn’t really worth watching.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 3rd, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Legacy

the bourne legacy

So when Matt Damon decided to step away from the Bourne franchise, the studio decided to create a new character and a new actor to fill the void. Enter Jeremy Renner, fresh off the massive blockbuster The Avengers, and the studio was hoping to cash in on his new found fame to bring in the audience.  Yes, I know that The Bourne Legacy was filmed before The Avengers hit the screen; doesn’t mean that my previous statement isn’t what the studio was thinking. Anyways, I didn’t get around to seeing this movie in theaters and only picked it up so as to complete the series. The question is, how good of an impulse buy did I make with this movie.

The plot: At a Department of Defense Special Operations Group training site in Alaska, Aaron Cross emerges from a frozen lake with a dead drop container that was left as part of his training mission. Meanwhile, CIA Director Ezra Kramer goes to visit Retired Navy Admiral Mark Turso, telling him about the situation with Simon Ross and his looking into Jason Bourne, Treadstone, and Blackbriar. When Turso chastises Kramer for his handling of Bourne and the Black Ops programs, Kramer says that maybe he should let Colonel Eric Byer know what is going on but Turso tells him that he is in enough trouble and to let him contact Byer. Later that night/early morning, Turso meets up with Byer as he goes for an early morning jog in the rain. Back in Alaska, Cross spends the night fending off a pack of wolves and when day breaks, he begins making his way across the mountains. In Washington DC, Byer heads to the National Research Assay Group, which he oversees and Turso runs, and gets his team to go over everything possible related to Treadstone, Blackbriar, and their own operation; Outcome. Meanwhile, at Sterisyn-Morlanta, a biogenetics company that does support for Outcome, Dr. Marta Shearing approaches an Outcome operative, called # 6, and tells him they need a full panel work on him since he had been out in the field for so long. Meanwhile, Byer’s team discovers a video of Dr. Albert Hirsch of Treadstone socializing with Dr. Dan Hillcott, Outcomes Director of Medical Research, and as Byer shows the video to Turso and Terrence Ward, he tells them that their best course of action to ensure that they don’t get linked to the mess that Treadstone is finding themselves in with Bourne, is to go ahead and burn everything surrounding the Outcome program and start up the beta programs. Back in Alaska, Cross opens a pill kit he carries and noticing he only has one blue and one green pill left, he hides them in his boot as he heads to cabin, firing his gun several times to alert anyone there of his approach. He is met by Operative # 3, who is surprised to learn that Cross had gone over the mountain, shaving his time by 2 days, and invites him into the cabin. #3 tells him to go ahead and get his blood work started but Cross tells him that he lost his chems and needs replacements and #3 is reluctant to help him. While all this is going on, Ross is assassinated by Paz, and when Bourne shows up in New York City, CIA Agent Tom Cronin, Pamela Landy’s assistant, calls Byer to let him know. Byer goes through with hsi plan to begin eliminating the Outcome agents, sending their handler’s yellow pills to give the agents, who tell the agents that they are new chems, but when the agents take them, they are shown to be poisoned. In Alaska, Cross and #3 are at the cabin and Cross hears a drone approaching but, believing that something is wrong, he decides to leave the cabin just as the drone fires a missile and blows the cabin up, killing #3. Cross then makes a run for it as the drone’s pilots notice that Cross’s signal is still active and circle the drone around for another pass. Cross uses a pot to mask the signal coming from the tracing beacon implanted in his thigh, then uses his rifle to shoot down the drone as they try locate him. Cross heads back to the wreckage of the cabin and tries to find #3’s stash of chems but finds that they have all been obliterated. Meanwhile, Byer learns that Cross is still alive and he heads to the drone control room to ensure that the kill Cross with their next drone. In Alaska, Cross removes the tracker from his thigh, then lures in one of the wolves that had been following him, snaring it in a trap, then feeds the tracker to the wolf before chasing it off. As the second drone reaches the area, it fires a missile at the wolf, thinking it is Cross, and as they confirm the target is dead, Byer thinks back to one of his first meeting with Cross when he recruited him to Outcome. Later, Byer and Turso are talking with Ward about Pamela Landy’s upcoming Senate hearing and they tell him that they are not concerned about Landy’s testimony as they will make it seem like she is a traitor. In Sterisyn-Morlanta, Dr. Donald Foite makes his way into the research lab for the chems, locking and disabling the doors as he enters the lab, then he begins to kill everyone inside the lab, with Dr. Shearing being the last one alive. As security makes it in there and fires on him, he appears unfazed by the bullets and turns the gun on himself. As Cross makes his way to DC, Shearing is questioned by the police about the shooting incident before heading to her home. The next day, she is interviewed by some federal agents, who want to make sure she is cleared and has not broken her confidentiality agreement. When she says she hasn’t told anyone what she was working on, the two agents questioning her grab her and attempt to force her to shoot herself. Suddenly, Cross shows up and kills them, then asks Shearing if she has any chems there but she tells him know. When a 5th member of the assassin group radios in for a sit-rep, Cross pretends to be one of the team and says that Shearing is dead, then proceeds to pour kerosene inside the house and set it on fire before leaving with Shearing. As they are driving, Cross asks her where he can get some meds and they begin arguing over their situation. When Cross reveals that he is taking green and blue pills, Shearing is shocked that he is still taking greens as he had been virally modified so that the effects of the green pills were permanently in his system, meaning he did not have to take them any more. When he asks if the same could be done for the blue pills, she says yes but they would have to travel to the other side of the world to do it, as that is where the facility is. Meanwhile, Byer, Turso, and Ward are trying to figure out what happened at Shearing’s house as they come up with a cover story to use for Shearing’s death/disappearance. Later that night, Cross and Shearing are talking and Shearing asks why it is so important for him to get more of the blue pills. Cross shows her a file online that is his death certificate, saying he was “killed in a roadside bomb” in order to take part of Outcome and he needs the blue pills, which raise the user’s intelligence, in order to keep them both alive and because his recruitment officer lied about his IQ and wrote it down as high enough to meet the army’s minimal requirement and he doesn’t want to revert back to how he was. Cross makes some fake passports for both of them, and as they wait to board the plane for the Phillipines, Cross sees a news report that Dr. Hirsch had died from a heart attack before his scheduled testimony at the Senate hearing while Shearing sees the news report that Byer’s team cooked up about her printed in the paper. Cross and Shearing manage to make it to Manila and head to Sterisyn-Morlanta’s plant there so that Shearing can give Cross the viral package to permanently alter his brain. Meanwhile, Byre’s team has managed to track Shearing and as they try to figure out who is helping her, they discover it is Cross. Byre clears out all the unnecessary people from the room, leaving himself, Truso, Ward, and two other and they realize that Shearing had gone there to inject Cross with the viral stems so he no longer needs the chems. They contact building security there but Cross is able to take them out, then he and Shearing escape. Realizing they have a limited window to deal with them, Byre orders LARX-03 to be activated, shocking Turso as he didn’t know that the proposed “super soldier” program was up and running. Cross and Shearing are walking the streets of Manila when Cross begins to suffer flu-like symptoms from the viral stems, and starts having flashbacks to when he first joined Outcome. Shearing rents a room to tend to him and he tells her that he has money and spare passports in his jacket, wanting her to run if things get bad. Shearing goes to get Cross some medicine while the police and LARX-03 both head for their last known location. As Shearing is paying for the medicine, she notices the police surrounding the building and she screams out a warning to Cross, telling him to run before running herself with the police in pursuit. Cross manages to escape onto the roof and make his way across the rooftops following after Shearing, eventually rescuing her from one of the cops that manages to catch her. As they continue walking and trying to evade the police, Cross spots LARX-03 following them and he quickly steals a motorcycle to try and escape. The police chase after him, as does LARX-03 in a stolen police car. Cross manages to evade the police but LARX-03, stealing a police motorcycle after his car is totaled, continues chasing after them. Cross and LARX-03 both shoot at and wound each other but they keep going until Shearing is able to cause LARX-03 to crash into a pillar. Cross loses control of his motorcycle due to his blood loss and as he and Shearing slide to a stop by the docks, Shearing begs a boatman to help them. In DC, Byer and his team are getting video of the room Cross and Shearing stayed in, where they see Cross’s pill case hanging from the mirror, with the words “No More” written on the glass. Meanwhile, Noah Vosen is testifying to the Senate Committee, where he lies and says that Blackbriar was created with the sole purpose of tracking down a rogue agent, Jason Bourne, and he doesn’t know why Landy chose to ally herself with him. As Landy is leaving the hearing, she is besieged by reporters asking for her thoughts but she refuses to respond. Meanwhile, Cross and Shearing are on the boatman’s boat, sailing towards some islands where they hope they can disappear together.

The Bourne Legacy met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “It isn’t quite as compelling as the earlier trilogy, but The Bourne Legacy proves the franchise has stories left to tell — and benefits from Jeremy Renner’s magnetic work in the starring role.” When Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) explains the origins of viral engineering, she refers to a 1985 incident at a U.S. Army base named Fort Detrick. Fort Detrick is an actual U.S. Army base and, during the early Cold War, was the home of the U.S.’s biological weapons program until then President Nixon closed down the program in 1969.The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $276.1 million off of a $125 million budget.

I have to say, as far as spin-off/sequels go, this one falls a little flat. The The acting was ok but honestly, Jeremy Renner (Cross) and Edward Norton (Byre) both seemed to be pretty boring in their portrayal of their respective characters, while Rachel Weisz (Shearing) just didn’t seem to really to be too into her character. The story was really odd, with the main plot basically focusing on a DOD operation that was running somewhat parallel to Treadstone/Blackbriar, but the whole bits where they tried to fit it in with what was happening during the last movie just made it feel too forced. I think it would have been better to just have it be it’s own movie and not try to force in the tie in with the original Bourne trilogy. The action scenes were pretty good and probably the best part of the movie but they couldn’t really help the lackluster plot and uninspired acting in the movie. Soo much potential but it simply got wasted away with this movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 2nd, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Ultimatum

the bourne ultimatum

Full confession time here. Today’s movie is the only movie in the franchise that I have ever seen in theaters. After renting the previous 2 movies, I knew that this would be worth going to see in theaters and I wasn’t wrong on that part. The funny thing is that even when the newer movies came out, I still didn’t go see them in theaters. Anyways, The Bourne Ultimatum came out at a time where a lot of changes were going on in my life so I really needed the brief distraction from reality that this provided me. Now to find out just how good of a movie it really is.

The plot: During the events in the previous movie, a wounded Bourne is attempting to evade the Moscow police before he makes it to a restroom so he can treat his wounds. As he is working, he has another flashback, this time of when he first started at Treadstone, just as two police officers enter the room. Bourne knocks out one of the officers, then points his gun at the other, who begs for his life, but Bourne says his argument is not with him, then leaves the room. 6 weeks later, Pamela Landy is in a meeting with CIA Director Ezra Kramer, where she plays the recording of Ward Abbott’s confession for him. Though Landy argues against it, Kramer feels that Bourne is still a serious threat to the agency and wants her to continue looking for him. Meanwhile, reporter Simon Ross meets with a source who gives him information regarding Bourne and Operation Blackbriar, the CIA program that replaced Treadstone. In Paris, Bourne goes to see Marie’s brother and tells him about her death. In London, Ross has just returned from his trip and phones his editor, telling him about the information his source gave him, unaware that the CIA had picked up his use of the word Blackbriar during his call and begin tracking him. At a CIA building in New York, Deputy Director Noah Vosen tells his men to keep tabs on Ross, bugging all of his phones and car, so that they can figure out who the source is, putting an asset on standby in case they need him. Meanwhile, Bourne is taking the train from Paris to London when he reads Ross’s article about him in the paper. Bourne contacts Ross at his office, calling someone else’s line to ensure that the CIA couldn’t listen in, then arranges to meet with Ross at Waterloo Station. Bourne arrives at Waterloo and purchases a pre-paid phone, then waits for Ross to show up. Ross leaves his office and as he hails a taxi, the CIA mobile team uses a mike to learn where he is going, then Vosen orders teams to get in position at the station, as well as calling in the asset, Paz. When Ross arrives at the station, Bourne watches him briefly then notices the CIA team getting into position. Walking past Ross and slipping the pre-paid phone in his pocket, Bourne calls him and alerts him to the CIA surveillance teams watching him, then gives him instructions on what to do. Bourne has Ross act like he is talking to someone at a bus stop and as the bus pulls up, he tells Ross to walk away, leaving the CIA to abduct the man he was supposedly talking too while Bourne takes out one of the surveillance operatives. Bourne meets up with Ross and starts asking him questions and Ross tells him about Blackbriar being the program after Treadstone and how his source knew Bourne. Bourne sees some agents coming and tells Ross to answer his phone as the walk away, allowing Bourne to direct him into avoiding the security cameras and agents looking for him. When Ross panics and deviates from where Bourne was directing him, Vosen and his team spot him and Bourne directs him to a place to hide as he works on taking out his followers but he ends up being spotted by one of the cameras. When Vosen realizes that Bourne is the one helping Ross, he tells his men to seal the exits and orders Paz to take out both Ross and Bourne. Bourne tells Ross to wait for him to make sure it’s safe but Ross refuses to listen and ends up leaving the store he is in, where Paz promptly shoots him. Bourne goes to Ross’s body and searches it, finding his notebook, and goes to leave when he spots Paz and tries to catch him but is unable to stop Paz from boarding a train. Later, Bourne heads to an internet cafe to look over Ross’s notes and when he sees mention of a company and that it is located in Madrid, he leaves the cafe to head there. Meanwhile, Ross’s source hears news of Ross’s death on the television and he quickly opens his safe and grabs the money inside before quickly leaving. The next day, Vosen meets up with Landy, who had been ordered to assist him in finding and capturing Bourne, but Landy and Vosen have differing opinion on how they should handle things. As Landy and her assistant Tom Cronin head to the office and begins coordinating with Vosen’s men, the determine that Bourne was not the source for Ross’s information. Realizing that whoever Ross had spoken with had a high security clearance, Landy is able to determine that the leak was Neal Daniels, a section chief in Madrid, and Vosen orders a heavy team to be sent there, telling Landy that Bourne is probably heading there as well. In Madrid, Bourne reaches the address for the company and determines that it was a CIA office. As he looks around, he notices a picture on the ground of Daniels as well as another man, causing another flashback. When he recovers, he realizes that the CIA team is there and he sets a trap to take out the two men but when a third person shows up, Bourne goes to meet them at the door and is shocked to find it is Nicky Parsons, who was stationed there after her run in with Bourne in Berlin. Bourne starts to question her but Vosen calls and Nicky answers the phone. Vosen gives her a call sign and when Nicky gives the all clear response, Vosen asks her about the men, Daniels and Bourne. Landy then talks to Nicky and tells her they are still looking for Bourne but she doesn’t think he is a threat like others do. Vosen then tells Nicky to stay there and back up will be there in an hour but when Nicky hangs up, she tells Bourne they only have 3 minutes. She tells Bourne that she knows where Daniels is and Bourne calls the police to cause a distraction so the CIA won’t be able to follow them, then they leave and head for Tangier. Back at the office, Landy questions Vosen about what Blackbriar is and he tells her it is the umbrella that all of their Black Ops operations runs from. Elsewhere, Bourne and Nicky are waiting for the ferry to tangier and Nicky asks Bourne what brought him back. He shows her the picture from Daniel’s office and she recognizes Daniels but can’t place the other man. Bourne tells her that he met him when he first joined Treadstone and Daniels was the one to introduce him. Bourne then asks why she is helping him and she tells him that it was difficult with him, indicating that something happened between them before he lost his memory. Vosen’s team learns that Daniels is in Tangier and they send an asset there to kill him and when Landy learns about this, she tries to call Kramer but he refuses to take her call. Bourne and Nicky arrive in Tangier and after she gets online, she learns that Vosen has sent Desh to kill Daniels and Bourne has her redirect to meet with him so that he can follow Desh to Daniels. In New York, Vosen and his team notice Desh moving away from the target route but Vosen decides to let things play out. As Desh heads back towards Daniels, Vosen’s team discover the illegal breach and discover that Nicky had contacted Desh and Vosen orders them to send Desh after Nicky when he finishes with Daniels. Landy argues with Vosen about his ordering Nicky to be killed, claiming he doesn’t have the authority, but he tells her that he does and she storms out of the office. In Tangier, Desh receives his new instructions and notices Bourne following him as he continues on his route. When Daniels gets close to the bank, Bourne tries to get him to stop but realizes that Desh had left a bomb on the moped he had been driving and Desh activates it, killing Daniels and stunning Bourne. As Desh heads off to kill Nicky, Bourne recovers and grabs a motorbike, using it to escape from the police that had arrived. Meanwhile, Nicky realizes that Desh is coming after her and she leaves just as Desh arrives and he starts following her. Bourne arrives at the cafe Nicky was at and goes looking for them but is forced to run from the police as well. Bourne heads into an apartment and makes his way to the roof, where he spots Nicky and Desh on the street below. Bourne begins jumping from rooftop to rooftop to keep pace with Nicky and Desh, and when he spies them in another building, he leaps from the rooftop and crashes through the window to attack Desh and eventually kills him. Bourne has Nicky use Desh’s phone to signal that they have been killed and when it comes up on their screens, Vosen has his aide confirm the kills and keep an eye on Landy. He then calls Kramer to tell him of Bourne and Nicky’s deaths and Kramer tells him he can’t afford to let anything about Blackbriar come back to haunt him. Back in Tangier, Bourne helps Nicky to disguise herself and leave the city, telling her it gets easier over time to stay underground and hidden. Bourne then heads to the morgue to examine Daniels’ effects and as he sifts through the burned papers in his briefcase, he sees a sliver of paper from a CIA file from New York. In New York, Vosen is told that Desh’s body has been discovered and he realizes that Bourne and Nicky are still alive. Meanwhile, Cronin tells Landy that an early Treadstone passport linked to Bourne had just been scanned in customs in New York and he says that Vosen and his men don’t know about it because it was never used or activated before. Landy knows what Bourne is looking for so she calls the airport and pages the alias, attracting Bourne’s attention. Bourne heads to the building across the street from the CIA office and contacts Landy (the end scene from The Bourne Supremacy). Vosen is made aware of Bourne’s call to Landy and when he hears Bourne’s final words, he realizes that Bourne is in New York and organizes his team to locate him. Landy leaves the building, telling Cronin that if he sees her he will contact her. Bourne sees her leave, as well as Vosen’s men who are tailing her, and he sends her a text for a location to meet at. Vosen leads his team out to intercept Bourne and Landy at the meeting place but Bourne had used the text to get Vosen and his men out of the office, allowing him to enter. As Vosen and his team waits for Bourne, Bourne calls Vosen, getting his name on his recorder so he can open Vosen’s safe, then he taunts Vosen by saying he is in his office. Bourne then goes through the files for Blackbriar that Vosen was storing and leaves the office as Vosen calls his aide and tells him to check the office. Cronin goes to pick up Landy, telling her that Bourne had broken into Vosen’s office and she tells Cronin to take her to 415 71st Street, and Cronin realizes that she had secretly told Bourne that address, disguised as his birth date. Bourne leaves the CIA office but is spotted and forced to run, using the police to help him escape at one point. As Bourne speeds off in a stolen police car, Paz shows up and begins chasing after him, trying to kill him. Meanwhile, Vosen’s team discover that Landy gave Bourne the wrong birth date and when they tell Vosen, he realizes that she told him where the training facility is and sends his teams there. Bourne and Paz get into a wreck and Bourne goes to kill Paz but changes his mind and walks away. As he heads to the training facility, Vosen calls Dr. Albert Hirsch, the doctor that trained and conditioned Bourne, and warns him that Bourne is coming but Hirsch says he refuses to leave. As Bourne reaches the facility, he finds Landy waiting for him and he asks her why she helped him. She tells him that Blackbriar is not what she signed up for and he gives her the files he took from Vosen and tells her it is everything she needs to shut them down. As Bourne heads inside, Landy sees Vosen and his men arriving and she ducks inside as well, but not before Vosen spots her. Vosen and his team search for Bourne and Landy and Vosen finds Landy but is too late to stop her from faxing out the Blackbriar files to the press. Meanwhile, Bourne reaches the training room and finds Hirsch waiting for him. Hirsch talks with Bourne and as he talks, Bourne starts remembering some of his past and remembers that he had volunteered for Treadstone. As the CIA agents show up, Bourne makes a run for it and escapes onto the roof only to find Pax waiting for him. Pax asks Bourne why he didn’t take the shot and Bourne tells him “Look at us. Look at what they make you give.” Pax lowers his gun and Bourne runs for the edge of the roof, planning to jump into the East River below but as he jumps, Vosen shows up on the roof and shoots him. Some time later, Landy is testifying about the files she had faxed about Black Briar. Elsewhere, Nicky is watching a news report, which says that Kramer is under investigation for his part in Blackbriar, which had occasionally targeted U.S. citizens for assassination, while Vosen and Hirsch had been arrested for their roles. When the news report says that Bourne’s body had not been found after a 3 day search, Nicky smiles as she realizes that Bourne had survived and is still out there somewhere.

The Bourne Ultimatum met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Bourne Ultimatum is an intelligent, finely tuned non-stop thrill ride. Another strong performance from Matt Damon and sharp camerawork from Paul Greengrass make this the finest installment of the Bourne trilogy.” The movie was a box office hit, earning $442.8 million off of a $110 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the franchise. The Bourne Ultimatum was the only movie to be nominated for an Academy Award and won in all three categories that it was nominated in; Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.

In my opinion, this really was one of the best, if not the best, movie in the franchise. The acting was great, with Matt Damon (Bourne), Joan Allen (Landy), and Julia Stiles (Nicky) doing great jobs reprising their roles. I really liked David Strathairn, whose portrayal of Vosen made him a great protagonist against Bourne. The story was really good, doing a decent job of trying to tie up everything and not leave things too confusing. I did like that there was no real resolution to Bourne’s memory loss, as he regained a lot of his memory but still was spotty as to his time before Treadstone. I also liked the open ending it had as the fact that he survived meant he was free to come back for more movies, but it was not vital that he do so. The action and stunt scenes were just as good as the previous movies and I especially liked the early scene with Bourne leading Ross through the terminal to avoid the CIA while simultaneously taking out members of the team as it added a great bit of tension to make the scene more effective. A great movie and a good way to end the original trilogy of films.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 1st, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Supremacy

the bourne supremacy

Well, I just have one month of flashback reviews to go, then the couple of movies I have bought this year and I will be able to take my break. Now for the matter at hand, this was yet another movie whose trailers had piqued my interest but I did not see in theaters. In fact, I didn’t see The Bourne Supremacy until I rented it along with The Bourne Identity several years after they had come out on video. Now obviously I wanted to watch it, and my buying the movie not withstanding, but the question remains as to just how good of a movie this actually was.

The plot: Two years after the events in Paris, Jason Bourne is living in Goa, India with his girlfriend Marie. Bourne still can’t remember everything about his past with Treadstone but sometimes, he has flashbacks of things when he dreams and has taken to writing them down in a notebook. Elsewhere, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy is in Berlin overseeing a $3 million payoff to a Russian source who has with him the “Neski” files, details about a $20 million theft several years ago. As the source arrives at the building and makes contact with Pamela’s buyer, Kirill, a member of Russia’s Federal Security Service, plants some explosives on the power junction box, planting a fingerprint on one of them. Kirill then sets off the explosives, with the one that has the fingerprint planted on it failing to detonate, then heads up to the now darkened room, where he kills the source and everyone there, then takes the money and files. The next morning, Kirill meets with Russian oligarch Yuri Gretkov, who gives him his payment for the files, then tells Kirill he will get the rest when he finishes his job, passing him the information on his next target. Some time later, Kirill arrives in Goa and asks the manager of the telegraph office if he has seen Bourne, but Bourne spots him and, figuring that Kirill is after him, quickly heads back to his home to get his jeep. Driving into town, he sees Marie at a diner and honks his horn to pick her up, telling her that their blown, and spots Kirill on the nearby beach. Believing Treadstone is after them, Bourne drives off with Marie and after he manages to lose Kirill, he has Marie switch places so she is driving. They head for a nearby bridge, where Bourne plans on jumping out so that he can ambush Kirill when he follows after Marie but Kirill had gone to a nearby hill and fires at the car, hitting Marie and causing the jeep to crash off the bridge and into the river below. Bourne survives the crash and after getting Marie’s body out of the car, he kisses her goodbye before letting her float to the surface while he swims off in another direction. Back in Berlin, the investigation team finds the fingerprint on the explosive and when Landy’s team goes to match it, they find themselves blocked by a demand for clearance due to the print being flagged by Treadstone so she orders her team to head back to Langley. Kirill heads back to Russia and meets with Yuri to tell him Bourne is dead and Yuri gives him the rest of his money, telling him he will contact him in a month. Back in Goa, Bourne watches as Marie’s body is fished out of the river, then heads home, grabbing all of the weapons and supplies he stashed there, burning several of his fake passports and pictures, then leaves India. In Langley, Landy tells the director that she needs level 5 clearance so she can follow up on their lead and he gives it to her, allowing her to match the fingerprint to Jason Bourne. After reading up on the files, Landy meets with Deputy Director Ward Abbott and talks to him about Treadstone, Bourne, and Conklin but he doesn’t say much to her. Landy is attending a meeting with the Director and the other Deputy Directors, where she tells them about the theft of $20 million and how a Russian politician named Neski had contacted them and said it was an inside job but before he could give them the information, he was killed. The case had gone cold until their recent contact but he was apparently killed by Bourne, whom Landy believes was working with Conklin and had stolen the money, then killed anyone that could prove it. Meanwhile, Bourne is picked up and detained in Naples and when Landy hears this, she asks what assets they have there and rushes to contact the local police to let them know who they are holding. In Naples, Bourne is being interrogated by the local CIA agent when Landy’s assistant calls him to tell him about Bourne but when the agent hangs up, Bourne quickly knocks out the agent and the guard watching him. Bourne then takes the agent’s phone and copies the sim card before grabbing his stuff and leaving, blocking the door so they can’t follow him. As Bourne gets in the agent’s car, Landy calls the agent and Bourne is able to listen in, learning about his being blamed for the deaths in Berlin and that Landy is the one looking for him now. Landy is heading back to Berlin, and the Director orders Ward to accompany her so they can finally capture Bourne. Bourne heads to Berlin and as he does, he has another flashback from an assignment Conklin gave him. Meanwhile, Ward heads to the Netherlands to pick up Nicky Parsons, Bourne’s Treadstone handler in Paris, and Landy questions her about Bourne and Treadstone. Elsewhere, Bourne heads to Munich, where Jarda, another former Treadstone operative, lives. Bourne subdues Jarda and questions him about Conklin and Treadstone and learns that Conklin is dead and Treadstone has been shut down. When Jarda apologizes, Bourne realizes that he must have somehow contacted the CIA and goes to leave when Jarda attacks him. Bourne manages to kill Jarda, then rigs the house to explode just as the CIA show up. Bourne then heads to the Berlin Airport and after placing some of his items in a storage locker, he calls several hotels until he finds the one that Landy is staying in, then figures out who she is and follows her to the Berlin office. As Landy, is speaking with her team about Bourne, Bourne heads to a nearby rooftop so he can observe Landy and her team, then calls Landy. As he talks with Landy, Landy’s comments prompt another flashback, causing him to hesitate. As Bourne recovers, he notices Nicky standing next to Landy and tells Landy he wants to come in but wants someone he can trust to bring him in. When Landy asks who, Bourne tells her Nicky and where to meet and when Landy asks what will happen if she can’t find Nicky that quickly, Bourne tells her that she is standing right next to her, revealing to all of them that he was watching them. Landy and her team work to figure out a plan for the meeting but Ward wants to use the opportunity to kill Bourne, prompting an argument between Landy and Ward. Nicky heads to the meeting spot and as the CIA agents keep track of her, a crowd shows up just as Bourne calls and tells Nicky to get onto an approaching tram. As the tram approaches it’s next stop, Bourne grabs Nicky and forces her off the train before Landy can have her men get her out of there, then starts questioning her about Landy.  When Nicky tells him about the matter in Berlin, Bourne tells her that he was in India watching Marie die when that happened. Bourne asks her what Landy was buying and when Nicky says information about Conklin and a Russian politician, Bourne recalls Neski’s name and asks Nicky when was he on assignment in Berlin but she tells him that he was never on a job here or if he was, it wasn’t in his file, and Bourne threatens to shoot her but then leaves, leaving her frightened in a bathroom stall. Landy, who had overheard everything Bourne had said due to Nicky’s wire, begins checking to see if what Bourne said is true, though Ward argues against it. Ward’s assistant, Danny Zorn, then has Ward follow him to where they botched buy occurred and tells him that he believes Bourne was set up to cover for someone else’s crime and Ward ends up killing him. Meanwhile, Bourne looks up the information on Neski’s murder, then heads to the hotel where the death occurred, remembering everything that occurred and how he killed both Neski and his wife. As Bourne is in the room Neski died in, the hotel manager had gotten the report to hold Bourne for questioning and calls the police, which alerts the CIA to where he is. Bourne makes his way to the roof and manages to get away from the hotel but when a patrol officer spots him, he is forced to make a run for it, eventually managing to get away by jumping onto a passing barge, then using a boat hook to grab onto the underside of a bridge as it passes underneath it, then climbing up the bridge and boarding a train. Landy and her team investigate the hotel when they learn about Danny Zorn’s death and Landy tells her assistant to stay on Bourne while she goes to see Ward. Meanwhile, Ward calls Yuri and tells him that the CIA is onto the Neski murder and that he needs to kill Bourne but Yuri says that he doesn’t need him anymore and then hangs up. As Ward hangs up the phone, he senses Bourne behind him as Bourne asks him why he killed Marie. Ward tells him it was an accident as he was supposed to be killed so that when the files went missing and he was blamed, the CIA would be chasing a ghost for years without learning his involvement. Bourne moves to kill him but then stops, saying that Marie wouldn’t want him to kill him, then stops the recording of their conversation and leaves. Later, Landy goes to Ward’s room to confront him about Zorn’s death and Ward tells her he isn’t sorry for what happened, then kills himself. Later, Landy is listening to the recording Bourne had made, as he had left it at the hotel addressed for her, and her assistant tells her that Langley wants to know what the update on Bourne is when her team sees Bourne boarding a train for Moscow and LAndy contacts the Russian Interior. In Moscow, Yuri approaches Kirill outside the club he had been in and tells him Bourne is alive. Bourne takes a taxi to an address just as the police arrive at the train station and start questioning people about Bourne, eventually learning where he went. Bourne arrives at the address he wanted and as he asks where the Neski’s daughter is, he learns that she had moved out of the city. When his taxi suddenly takes off, Bourne realizes the police are close by and he rushes off before they can get there. Kirill is driving to the location when he spots Bourne and he quickly gets out of his car and shoots at him, hitting him in the shoulder, but the police show up and detain Kirill, allowing Bourne to get away. Bourne tries to evade the police but then ends up in a brief altercation before stealing a cab and driving off. As he works on stopping the bleeding in his shoulder, Bourne drives through traffic and manages to elude his pursuers until Kirill catches up to him but Bourne manages to shoot out Kirill’s tire, then force him to crash into a barricade. An injured Bourne gets out of his car and approaches Kirill only to find him near death and he quickly leaves the scene. As Landy arrives in Moscow and helps the FSB arrest Yuri, Bourne heads to where Neski’s daughter lives and breaks into her apartment to wait for her. When she arrives home, Bourne tells her that her mother didn’t kill her father and then kill herself like the papers said, but that he killed them and staged the scene, then apologizes for the pain he caused her as he leaves. Some time later, Landy is in her office in New York City when she receives a call from Bourne, asking her why she is still looking for him. Landy thanks him for the tape that he sent her that closed the case on the Neski files and Bourne goes to leave when Landy stops him. Landy then tells him his real name is David Webb and gives him his birth date and hometown and asks him to come in but Bourne doesn’t respond for a while, then tells Landy to get some rest as she looks tired, revealing he had been watching her when he made the call.

The Bourne Supremacy met with mostly favorable reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A well-made sequel that delivers the thrills.” To give this movie its gritty, documentary-style appearance, director Paul Greengrass used mostly handheld cameras, and a muted color palette. Greengrass also made sure to avoid computer graphics at all costs, and all of the stunts shown in the movie were achieved practically.The movie was a box office success, earning $288.5 million off of a $75 million budget.

I have to say, I honestly liked this movie a little better than the first one. I thought the acting was good, with Matt Damon doing a great job reprising his role as Jason Bourne. I also thought Brian Cox (Ward) and Julia Stiles (Nicky) were good as well, while Joan Allen made a great new foil for Bourne, though she seemed to also be somewhat of an ally at the end. Though it differed from the book that it was titled after, the plot was actually pretty good. The only problem I had with it is that they seriously had this set up as the middle part of a trilogy, without really announcing that there was going to be a trilogy. Everything in the movie seemed to be set up to give more background into Bourne’s past with Treadstone, while the ending was a total set up for a future movie. The action scenes were incredible and definite some of the best coordinated stuff I had seen in a while, at that point in time. The fact that they didn’t use any CGI in the movie really made them seem that much more impressive. A great movie and definitely an outstanding follow up to the original movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 31st, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Identity

the bourne identity

So when I first hear about this movie, I did the thing I normally do when a movie based on a book comes out, I went to read the book first. Unfortunately, it took me forever to read the book. I don’t know why, but every time I tried to read it it would put me to sleep. Putting my efforts to read the book to the side, I didn’t get a chance to see The Bourne Identity when it was in theaters nor did I immediately rent it when it came out on DVD. My first time watching it was actually watching about a third of it on TV one day. This prompted me to end up renting it and eventually, buy a box set containing the first three movies in the set.

The plot: In the Mediterranean Sea, a n Italian fishing boat is out at sea during a storm when they see an unconscious man floating in the water and rescue him. As they bring him into the cabin, the ship’s captain discovers two bullet wounds in the man and as he tends to the wounds, he finds a strange capsule in the man’s hip and removes that as well, discovering that it contains an account number for a bank in Zurich. Suddenly, the man regains consciousness and attacks the doctor but as the doctor explains that they found him and asks his name, the man can’t remember who he is. Elsewhere, a CIA agent working for a black ops program  known as Operation Treadstone, tells the program’s director, Alexander Conklin, that their mission had failed. Back on the boat, the amnesiac man finds that he can remember how to do some things, like tie knots and speak several languages, but still doesn’t remember who he is. When the boat arrives in Italy, the captain gives the amnesiac some money that will enable him to get to Switzerland and wishes him luck on his journey. When he gets to Switzerland, the amnesiac ends up being harassed by some police when he is found sleeping in a park but when they go to arrest him, he instinctively grabs their batons and knocks them out, then gets freaked out by what he did and quickly runs away. Meanwhile, Nykwana Wombosi, an exiled African dictator, is giving an interview in Paris, France claiming to have survived an assassination attempts. In CIA Headquarters in Langley, the director is telling his deputy directors about Wombosi’s claim and that he wants them to put him back into power or else he will tell the world that they were behind the attempt. After the meeting is dispersed, Deputy Director Ward Abbott meets with Conklin to find out what happened and is upset that he didn’t tell him that their asset has disappeared until now. Back in Switzerland, the amnesiac heads to the bank when it opens and after giving them the account number listed in the chip, he is led to a high security safety deposit box. After the box is taken to a secure viewing room, the man finds a passport with the name Jason Bourne on it, as well as several other items. Noticing a second layer to the box, he pulls out the top part and finds a large quantity of money, several more passports with different names on them, and a gun. Deciding to take the passport saying he is Jason Bourne, Bourne, grabs all the money and everything else in the safety deposit box, leaving the gun inside, then leaves the bank, unaware that the bank manager is making a phone call to Treadstone about Bourne. Bourne makes a phone call to Paris, trying to ensure that he does live at the address listed on the passport but when he notices that the police seem to be taking an interest in him, he hangs up and quickly leaves, with some police officers following him. Bourne uses his passport to head into the American consulate but when he changes his mind about his plan and goes to leave, he is detained by the guards. Bourne quickly subdues the three guards that try to capture him, then attempts to leave the building, grabbing a guards radio so he can keep tabs on their attempts at capturing him. Bourne makes his way up to the roof  and after avoiding being detected, he climbs down the wall and grabs the bag that he dropped. Bourne heads down an alley and notices Marie Kreutz, a German woman that had been at the consulate when Bourne was there, and offers her $10,000 to drive him to Paris and she refuses initially but, needing the money, she agrees to drive him. Meanwhile, Treadstone is busy confirming that Bourne is still alive and when they see the picture from a video camera and hear the report about the consulate, Conklin orders several of their assets, Castel, Manheim, and the Professor, to be activated and sent after Bourne. They eventually spot where Bourne had met up with Marie in the alley and after getting Marie’s information, they send that to Nicky Parsons, a handler in Paris, so she can send their pictures to the authorities so they can be detained. Back in Europe, Bourne tells Marie about his amnesia and the weird things he does know and she doesn’t quite believe him but continues to drive him to Paris. When they arrive at the address on Bourne’s passport, Bourne pays her the rest of the money he promised but Marie, having become interested in Bourne, doesn’t want to leave just yet and Bourne invites her inside. When they ring the doorbell, the housekeeper for the building happily greets Bourne and lets him in and they head upstairs to his unit. Inside, they both look around his place before Marie asks to use the bathroom. As she is gone, Bourne hits the redial on his phone and when he gets the hotel, asks for Jason Bourne and when they have no record of him, he asks for John Michael Kane, one of the names that was on another passport. He is told that Kane had died 2 weeks ago and he starts to get paranoid, searching the house after grabbing a knife from the kitchen. When Marie exits the bathroom, he drops the knife behind a doorway, out of her sight, but as they talk, they are suddenly attacked by Castel. Bourne defends himself and manages to disable Castel and he throws Marie Castel’s bag and has her go through it while he questions Castel. When Marie finds pictures of them from the consulate, she freaks out and starts yelling at Castel about how he got her picture and as Bourne tends to her, Castel jumps out the window, killing himself. Bourne helps Marie outside, as she has gone into shock, and after driving away from the scene, they head to the bus station, where Bourne heads inside to hide the bulk of the money. When he returns to the car, he finds Marie had left but soon sees her returning from the shop she had gone into. As he tries to tell her to go to the police and get away from him, as it would be safer for her to get away from him, he notices the police approaching them and asks her one more time to leave but she buckles her seatbelt, choosing to stay with him. Bourne begins driving and after causing several cops to crash, manages to eventually lose the police, then they quickly leave the car. Meanwhile, Wombosi goes to the Paris morgue to look at the body of Kane, who was the person that had attempted to assassinate him, but when he examines the body, he says it is not the same person as the body was not shot. Later, Nicky contacts Conklin and tells him that Wombosi wasn’t fooled so Conklin orders the Professor to kill Wombosi. Later, Abbott confronts Conklin about Wombosi’s murder but Conklin blames Bourne for the assassination and says that with the mission completed, he should be checking in within 24 hours, Meanwhile, Bourne helps Marie to dye her hair and afterwards, they end up having sex. The next day, Bourne has Marie help him get some information from the hotel that Kane was staying at and after she gets him the phone records, he begins calling people that Kane had called, eventually getting a meeting at one of the companies. When he goes to the meeting, Bourne is shocked to find that they know him as Kane. As Bourne tells Marie what he learned, she tells him that she found Kane in the morgue and they head there to examine the body only to find that it has been taken already, claimed by Kane’s “brother”. Bourne grabs the register and learns that Wombosi had gone to see the body but when they go to Wombosi’s place, theylearn about his assassination. Bourne and Marie head back to their hotel but when Bourne notices the police heading towards them, he has the cab driver pull over and tells Marie that they have to leave. Learning that the police are looking for them, Marie wants to get away from Bourne but he tells her he will take her wherever she wants to go and she won’t have to see him again but for now, they have to stick together. Back in Langley, Abbott confronts Conklin about Bourne’s not coming in yet and Conklin tells him he will take of things. Conklin then decides to have his men search Marie’s past and figure out anyone she might go to for help in the hopes of finding Bourne. Marie tries contacting an old friend of hers but when she gets no answer, she has Bourne drive her there, thinking it would be empty and they could hide there. When they get there, they find evidence that her friend is there and Bourne wants to leave but her friend shows up and they are forced to bluff and stay the night. Meanwhile, Conklin’s men are able to trace Marie’s call and figure out where she is going and give the information to the Professor so he can kill Bourne. The next day, Bourne and Marie are getting ready to leave but when her friend’s kids say their dog is missing, Bourne realizes that an assassin is there for them and tells everyone to hide in the basement. Bourne grabs a shotgun from a shelf and heads out, shooting a fuel supply in order to mask his movements from the Professor. Bourne is able to get the drop on the Professor and starts questioning him, learning about Treadstone before the Professor dies. Marie’s friend is getting ready to leave and Bourne give Marie some money so she can leave with them and start a new life somewhere where she will be safe. After they leave, Bourne goes through the Professor’s things and when he finds a phone, he calls the number programmed in it, eventually getting connected to Conklin. Conklin tells Bourne to come in but Bourne knows he will try to kill him again and instead tells him to meet him in Paris that afternoon and to come alone. Bourne heads to the meeting point early and observes it from a nearby rooftop. He sees Conklin arrive but since he sees Conklin’s team with him, he calls Conklin and tells him that since he didn’t come alone, he was leaving, then places a tracking device on Conklin’s car. Conklin tells Nicky to begin deleting all the files and computers at the office and heads over there. As they finish cleaning out the place, Bourne creates a distraction that allows him to sneak in, disabling their security systems as he does. Conklin grabs a gun and starts looking for Bourne but Bourne gets the drop on him and has him drop his gun. As Bourne tries to get answers from Conklin about what Treadstone is, Conklin tries to find out what happened with the mission involving Wombosi. As Conlin lists what Bourne had told him about his plan, Bourne suddenly remembers his attempt on Wombosi and how he couldn’t bring himself to kill him as his kids where there with him. Bourne tells Conklin that Jason Bourne is dead and if he sees anyone coming after him, he will bring everything about Treadstone to light. Suddenly, Bourne notices that Conklin’s radio was live and he knocks Conklin out, then takes out the guards before walking away. Conklin leaves the building shortly after Bourne and ends up being gunned down by Manheim, who had been ordered to kill Conklin by Abbott, then Abbott orders Treadstone to be shut down. Some time later, Abbott is testifying before a Congressional panel about Treadstone and after successfully telling them that it had been shut down, he then starts telling them about a new project called Black Briar. Elsewhere, Marie has opened up a scooter rental shop on Mykonos and when Bourne shows up at her shop, she smiles before rushing over and hugging him.

The Bourne Identity met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Expertly blending genre formula with bursts of unexpected wit, The Bourne Identity is an action thriller that delivers — and then some.” The movie was a box office success, earning $214 million off of a $60 million budget and would go on to spawn 4 sequels. While it is not the only movie to share plot points with the Bourne series of books, The Bourne Identity is the only movie in the series to remotely resemble the plot of the book of which it was named, as 2016’s Jason Bourne shared some plot points with “The Bourne Supremacy”.

Yes, it differs from the book but this is still a good movie on it’s own merit. The acting was good, with Matt Damon doing a great job as Jason Bourne. Franka Potente and Chris Cooper did great jobs in their roles as Marie and Conklin respectively and I also liked Brian Cox (Abbott), Julia Stiles (Nicky), and Clive Owen (The Professor), though their roles were limited. The story was pretty good, with the differences in the plot between the movie and the book making for a more straightforward story without dealing with the somewhat complex plot point involving “The Jackal”. The action scenes, such as the fights and the chase scene in Paris, were very well done and definitely added to the excitement without detracting away from the suspense of the story. All in all, this was a great movie and definitely helped introduce a new action hero to the silver screen.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

Flashback Review: May 30th, 2014 Movie – The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

the boondock saints 2

Oh, the reaction that this movie caused when it was first announced. I mean, the first movie had become this cult phenomenon among many people, several of my friends included. When it was announced that a sequel would take place, a lot of my friends were really pissed about it, thinking Hollywood had already been making several remakes and sequels that were terrible and they did not need to touch this movie. Now I honestly have no idea how many of my friends saw this movie, or what their opinions of it were if they did see it, but I decided to go ahead and pick up a copy of The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day when it was on the cheap and give it a chance my self.

The plot: 8 years after killing Don “Papa Joe” Yakavetta in a Boston courtroom, Connor and Murphy MacManus are living in Ireland with their father Noah MacManus, the former assassin known as Il Duce. Il Duce is worried that his sons are feeling urges drawing them back to Boston when the village priest arrives at their house and tells them that something has happened. The priest tells them that a priest in Boston was killed in his church, with the killing made to look like the Saints had done it. Connor and Murphy angrily get up from the table and head to the barn, where they dig up the chest containing their weapons and prepare for their journey back to America. The priest asks Noah if he will try to talk them out of it but Noah says that someone had gone to the effort to try and draw them out and it is obvious that it worked. In Boston, Detectives Greenly, Duffy, and Dolly, allies of the Saints, are at the scene of the killing discussing what they should do when FBI Agent Eunice Bloom, who is the protege of Agent Smecker, arrives on the scene and tells them she will be in charge. Meanwhile, Connor and Murphy are on a container ship heading to Boston when they see most of the crew gathered to watch an underground fight. Noticing the men handcuffing a Mexican named Romeo’s hands behind his back, the brothers inquire about what is going on before placing a wager on Romeo, then go talk with him after he wins the fight. Back in Boston, Bloom is able to determine that the Saints were not responsible for the priest’s murder but as the news reporters are not told any details, they poll the public who are split on whether they believe the Saints were responsible or not. Meanwhile, Concezio Yakavetta, the son of Papa Joe, is holding a meeting with his lieutenants, who were upset about not being consulted over his having the priest murdered. Concezio tells them that ever since his father was killed, they have all been living in fear that the Saints would return and finish them off so now he is drawing them out so that he can get rid of them and they can take back control of the streets. At the police station, Bloom tells the chief that all of the evidence points towards Concezio being behind the priest’s killing and when the chief asks why he shouldn’t go public with this information, Bloom tells him to walk with her as she explains her reasoning. Meanwhile, Greenly, Dolly, and Duffy are worried about how bad this will be for them and Greenly says that maybe they won’t even show up in town, prompting Dolly to tell him that they are either in town or on their way. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo have made it to Boston and Romeo drives them to a warehouse, where it is rumored that Concezio has a deal going with some Chinese drug runners. Romeo comes up with a plan to deal with the men in the warehouse but though things don’t go as planned, they still manage to take out all of the men. The next day, Bloom examines the scene of the crime and though there are some inconsistencies in their old pattern, she feels it is the work of the Saints, much to the three detectives chagrin. As Concezio is hiding in a panic room in his home until the Saints are located, Connor, Murphy, and Romeo go to see Romeo’s uncle for information on where Concezio might be and he tells them that Gorgeous George, Concezio’s underboss from Brooklyn, is in town and he would know where he is hiding. At the same time, Bloom pays a visit to George, trying to learn where Concezio is and informing George that he is the low man on the totem pole in Boston and he should be careful. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo learn where George is and head over there, threatening to shoot him if he doesn’t tell him who killed the priest. George tells him that Concezio hired an independent contractor and didn’t tell anybody his plan as they would never have gone with it. Believing his story, the team decides to use George to help them take out the rest of his men by having him schedule a meeting at a Mexican restaurant, where Romeo will be undercover as a bartender. Meanwhile, Bloom, Greenly, Dolly, and Duffy are at a dead end with the prints at the priest’s murder but when Bloom realizes there was a rosary bead but no rosary at the scene, she figures out a new idea to search and has them rush off to see if it pans out. Later that night, Greenly calls Bloom and tells her they got a hit off of George’s bugged phone and after he tells her where the meeting is, she decides to head there alone to scope it out. As George’s men show up, they don’t notice the assassin sitting in his car, who calls his unknown boss and tells him that only Connor and Murphy are there and his boss tells him that if he kills the sons, Il Duce will show up. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo kill all of George’s men, then decide to let George go but as they start to celebrate a well executed plan, the assassin come in the back door and tries to shoot them, only to be wounded by Bloom. As the brothers tell Bloom to drop her weapon, Romeo goes after the assassin but he has already escaped. Bloom tells them that she made a promise to Smecker to help them in their mission and never see the inside of a prison cell, a secret she is keeping from the detectives for her own amusement. She then has Connor, Murphy, and Romeo help her restage the crime scene so that when it is called in, she can explain it as the men fighting over turf as Concezio is losing power. Later, Greenly tells her that her hunch was right and Interpol gave them the identity of the assassin but the circumstances of his visa and everything has now caused him to be flagged. Bloom takes the detectives the Doc’s bar, where Connor and Murphy play a joke on their old friends before they all discuss the situation. Greenly, Dolly, and Duffy tell them they want to help and Connor says that they plan on making their move in 48 hours but Bloom is worried that there is someone else pulling the strings, someone with enough power to push the assassins visa through right after 9/11 had occurred. Back in his penthouse, Concezio has his lieutenants call their men and start regaining their power on the streets. Meanwhile, the assassin is getting his wounds tended too by his boss but when he sees the police report with the assassin listed as the prime suspect in the priest’s murder, he proceeds to whip him with the stolen rosary. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo head to Concezio’s penthouse and, after a few snags in their plan, proceed to kill him and all of his men except for Concezio’s Consigliere, who had ducked into the panic room and locked Concezio out. As Bloom and the detectives examine the scene later, FBI Special Agent Kuntsler shows up and tells Bloom she is suspended and he will be taking over the investigation. As she goes to leave, Bloom tells Kuntsler her theory as to how everything went down and when she finishes next to the panic room, the Consigliere opens the door and drags her inside before closing it again. Inside, he tells Bloom that the events happened exactly how she described which is why he figured she would be the person to talk to. He explains that Concezio was working with a man known only as “The Old Man”, though he had heard that he was sometimes referred to as “The Roman”. At Doc’s bar, Connor and Murphy are making plans to go after the Panza, the assassin, when Greenly shows up to tell them about Bloom being off of the case when he is killed by Panza. Panza then holds Doc hostage and forces them to throw their guns away but before he can shoot them, Noah, who was worried about his sons and decided to come help them, shoots Panza in the arm. As Connor and Murphy try to keep Greenly alive, Noah asks Panza where The Old Man is and when Panza refuses to answer, Noah plays a game of Russian roulette with him and ends up killing him. Noah tells his sons about how he had witnessed his father being killed by mobsters and he hunted them down and killed them, with his friend Louie helping him, albeit reluctantly, but after a while, he would eventually turn Noah over to the police,then assume the identity of The Roman. Bloom uses the FBI’s database to find out Louie’s location and gives it to Noah and the others but, knowing that it won’t be long before Kuntsler finds out what she did, she decides to get out of the country while she can. Noah heads to Louie’s home and confronts him about why he turned him in, unaware that Louie had hired some hit-men to be on the grounds and kill Noah at his signal. When Noah asks Louie why he turned him in, Louie explains that he had been helping the mafia and used Noah to take out some of his competition but when he was no longer useful, he turned him in. Unfortunately, he was also discarded by the mafia as his usefulness had come to an end. When the Saints killed Papa Joe, Louie helped Concezio rebuild the Yakavetta family, then had the priest killed and the Saints framed for it so they would show up and kill Concezio, allowing him to take control. Louie signals the hit-men to attack but Connor, Murphy, and Romeo help Noah kill them. Connor, Murphy, and Romeo are wounded and Noah is fatally shot but with Connor and Murphy helping him up, he is able to kill Louie before he dies. Noah then dies and as Connor and Murphy go to leave, they find themselves surrounded by the FBI and end up surrendering. Some time later, Father Sibeal is escorting a disguised Bloom to a dock, telling her she will be escorted to a sanctuary in a monastery but when she tries to get details, she is shocked to discover that the person taking her to the monastery is Smecker. Smecker explains he faked his death and is working with members or the Catholic Church to provide a network to help and support the Saints and their next mission is to help break them out of prison. Meanwhile, Connor, Murphy, and Romeo are at the Hoag Maximum Security Prison’s medical wing, with Romeo comatose due to his injuries. As protesters outside the prison chant for the release of the Saints, Connor and Murphy get out of bed and look at the prisoners out in the yard, signaling to them not to mess with them or else they will regret it.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day met with poor reviews from the critics, holding a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “This sequel to the cult favorite The Boondock Saints is more of the same — unoriginal, absurd, violent, over-the-top, and occasionally mean-spirited.” The movie had a limited release but in theaters but still managed to pull in $10.6 million off of an $8 million budget. In 2011, there were talks with director Troy Duffy about making a third installment, but fashioning it into a TV series. Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery both expressed interest in working on this but while things have bounced around between whether it will be a TV series or a third movie, nothing has been finalized yet, though Duffy has been working on a script.

This was a decent movie but honestly felt like a pale comparison of the original. The acting was ok, with the returning characters of Sean Patrick Flanery (Connor) and Norman Reedus (Murphy) doing good jobs in their roles, as well as Billy Connolly (Noah). I did like the returning detectives as some comedic relief, as well as Clifton Collins Jr.’s Romeo, and thought Judd Nelson was great as Concezio but thought that Peter Fonda’s brief appearance as The Roman was almost a waste while Julie Benz’s character was kind of annoying, particularly her overplayed southern accent. The story honestly felt too convoluted with all of the side plots going on. The basic premise of the Saints going to clear their names and get revenge for the priest’s death was fine, but when you add Bloom’s secretly wanting to help them, and the whole situation with Panza and The Roman, it got a little confusing at times. The action scenes were pretty decent, with the same somewhat slow motion retelling that was prominent in the original film. A decent action movie but I would suggest just watching the original movie over this one every time.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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