Review – Bourne Again (“Jason Bourne”)

It’s been ten years since our plucky super-duper spy dropped off the grid in 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum. Jason Bourne has fully recovered from his pesky amnesia, knows his real name (it’s David Webb), and is thought long dead by those nasty CIA people after being shot by a fellow assassin. Yeah, he’s definitely overdue for some quality ‘me’ time.

Apparently Bourne (Matt Damon) has taken up the Rambo III lifestyle in Greece and bare-knuckle fights for money. Good work if you can get it, I guess. Anyway, unbeknownst to him, his old girlfriend, Nikki (Julia Stiles), has taken the Edward Snowden route and wants to publish online all the shady CIA Blackbriar and Treadstone files that Bourne was part of. But when she finds ultra-secret stuff about Bourne’s dad, she decides to find Jason and tell him the truth. Bad move there, Nikki, as every move she makes is being watched by you-know-who.

New CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and his young protege, agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), track Nikki to a meeting with Bourne in the middle of a huge riot in Greece, while a vicious “asset” (assassin) is secretly hired by Dewey to kill Bourne on site. After a harrowing and spectacular car chase, Nikki is killed and Bourne is off to Berlin to find her contact, Christian Dassault (Vinzenz Kiefer), who can crack her encrypted files. While Bourne is reading the hidden files, Lee realizes that maybe Bourne isn’t as bad as he’s supposed to be.

Enter the secondary plotline: Billionaire computer guy, Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed), is about to introduce a new operating platform (like Steve Jobs) that will keep all the public’s secrets private, with NO government interference. BUT! He’s really in cahoots with Dewey and his ‘dream’ platform will do just the opposite; it’s secretly called Ironhand. Keep this in mind for the third act, okay? We then pick up Bourne rushing off to London to interrogate Malcolm Smith (Bill Camp) about his dad and what secrets he knew. Dewey and Lee, meanwhile, aren’t really seeing eye-to-eye on Bourne; Lee wants to bring Bourne in and Dewey wants a bullet in his head.

Bourne learns about Ironhand and Dewey’s nefarious plans for Kalloor at a computer expo in Las Vegas from Lee, so off he jets for Sin City and a showdown with Dewey and the asset who is on a killing spree. The climatic car chase through the Las Vegas streets is jaw- dropping and leaves you gasping for air. Paul Greengrass directed and co-wrote this with Christopher Rouse and it’s just as gripping as the other two he directed (Supremacy and Ultimatum).  A tight, smart script with intelligent dialoge and amazing action scenes that are nerve-wracking to watch. And it leaves it open for another chapter as well.

Matt Damon is just as solid as Bourne in his fourth outing with a stellar cast joining him. Vikander takes up the mantle beautifully as another Pam Landy while Jones is always his curmudgeon self. The real joy is Greengrass’ script and direction, which are both so very good, it’s scary. The man knows how to film a chase scene so real, so meticulously, that you white-knuckle the seats you’re sitting in. AND you get TWO of them! Welcome back, Jason Bourne!                    

Who Am I? (1998)

Jason Bourne wasn’t the only super-spy bonked on the head and then waking up to a whole new world he can’t remember. Jackie Chan did this in 1998 with all the lightning fast martial arts, car chases, and underhanded dirty tricks associated in a spy movie. But it’s got the patented Jackie Chan charm and wild ‘n’ wacky humor to add to the action.

We start somewhere in the jungles of South Africa where a Special Force Unit ambushes a convoy and kidnaps several scientists working on a highly-volatile compound extracted from a recently discovered meteorite. Among the operatives is our hero, Jackie Chan playing “Jackie Chan” (yeah, his own real name!). The CIA assigns Agent Morgan (Ron Smerczak) to investigate the incident, unaware that he and newly retired Lieutenant General Sherman (Ed Nelson) orchestrated the abduction for their personal profit. After a helicopter crash, Chan is banged up and nursed to health by a local African tribe, but he’s lost his memory… even his name. “What’s your name?” they ask. Chan answers,”Who Am I?” So they call him,”WhoAmI”.

After recovering, WhoAmI goes to Johannesburg and meets Christine Stark (Michelle Ferre), a reporter who wants to know more about him and that mysterious ‘covert’ helicopter crash. However, Morgan hears of “Who Am I?” and sends a hitman to kill him, while pretending to be his ally. After escaping from the hitmen, using epic skills he didn’t know he had, Christine cracks a secret code she finds on one of the dead operatives, which leads them to Rotterdam in the Netherlands to find out who WhoAmI really is.

But in Rotterdam, WhoAmI discovers that Christine is actually an undercover CIA agent! In one of the films highlights, WhoAmI battles Sherman’s hitmen atop the glass Willemswerf Building, ending in a jaw-dropping sky-slide down the buildings edge! He discovers the masterminds behind the kidnapping of the scientists and finds out that Morgan and Sherman are about to sell the alien compound, but WhoAmI steals the computer info, cancels the online transaction, and sends the money to a children’s organization. Aww, ain’t that nice?

There’s more martial arts, car chases, and that happy ending you’d expect, but you also get something special. With all Jackie Chan movies, you get his requisite end-credits gag reel with all the bloopers and injuries that he sustained in making the movie. This has been a staple in Chan movie for quite some time and, if you’re a fan of Jackie Chan movies, it’s something you’ve come to expect and cringe at. The man had NO stunt double back in his early years and really got messed up, insisting that he do all his own stunts, however dangerous or insane.

Written by Jackie Chan, Susan Chan, and Lee Reynolds and directed by Jackie and Benny Chan, this is another Jackie Chan vehicle that he cranked out in the 90’s like Police Story 3: Supercop, Rumble in the Bronx, The Legend of Drunken Master, and of course, Rush Hour. Each one has the same familiar plot where Jackie gets into a passel of trouble that only he (and his martial arts) can fix, but each one also has humor, fun, and a fast-paced storyline that make each one a joy to watch.