October 2018
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American Assassin (2017)

DIRECTOR: Michael Cuesta

CAST: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar, David Suchet


Based on Vince Flynn’s 2010 novel, one of a series of books following the titular “American Assassin” Mitch Rapp, American Assassin is diverting enough for undemanding fans of the action genre, but doesn’t do anything special to distinguish itself in a crowded genre.  The generic by-the-numbers plot could easily have been lifted from a Tom Clancy novel (in fact, with minor tweaks, it could have easily been a young Jack Ryan adventure), and the movie doesn’t feature any surprising twists or turns or anything we haven’t seen (and seen better) elsewhere. Continue reading

Jason Bourne (2016)

jasonDIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass

CAST: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles



With the total box office gross for Universal’s Bourne trilogy reaching nearly $1 billion, it was inevitable that the studio would want more, even when director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon were uninterested in returning, but their misfired attempt at expanding the Bourne “universe”, 2012’s The Bourne Legacy (starring Jeremy Renner as someone not named Jason Bourne), was a superfluous side tangent to nowhere.  A Matt Damon-sized hole was left in the franchise, a hole that has finally been filled, nearly a decade after he last played the part, with he and Greengrass returning to the popular action series.  Was it worth the wait (and the undoubtedly hefty paychecks involved in drawing both men back into the fold)?  Questionable.  Among long-awaited sequels to popular franchises, the simply-titled Jason Bourne is better than this summer’s unneeded sequels London Has Fallen or Independence Day: Resurgence, but it feels like a “greatest hits” cover of the original series, reheated and served for leftovers.  It doesn’t break any new ground; in fact, it rehashes various plot elements, to the extent that it comes across as an adequately engaging but ultimately superfluous sequel whose existence is unessential. Continue reading

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass


Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Albert Finney, Edgar Ramirez, Daniel Brühl, Joey Ansah


Treadstone, the shadowy government agency which recruited Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), appears to be dismantled, and the men behind it dead, but Bourne isn’t finished. Continue reading

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass


Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Karl Urban, Julia Stiles, Gabriel Mann, Karel Roden, Marton Csokas, Tomas Arana, Oksana Akinshina


It’s been two years since The Bourne Identity , and Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been living quietly in India with his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente). His memory still hasn’t fully returned, although bits and pieces are coming back to him. But he and Marie aren’t left in peace, when a sinister stranger (Karl Urban) starts tailing Bourne. Continue reading

The Bourne Identity (2002)

DIRECTOR: Doug Liman


Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Gabriel Mann, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje


In some ways, The Bourne Identity (and its sequels) are throwbacks to older, no frills action movies, without computer animation or special effects, just car chases and bone-crunching fight scenes. Continue reading

The Jackal (1997)

DIRECTOR: Michael Caton-Jones

CAST: Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, Diane Venora, Mathilda May, Jack Black, J.K. Simmons


The Jackal, a (very) loose remake of the 1973 Fred Zinnemann film The Day of the Jackal, is a patently ridiculous action thriller at every step of the way (sad from a movie loosely based on a meticulously logical original) but alas not enough to push it out of wallowing in flat mediocrity and into “so bad it’s good” territory.  Fans of the 1973 film, or Frederick Forsyth’s 1971 novel of the same name, will be left decidedly unimpressed (unsurprisingly, both Zinnemann and Forsyth lobbied to have the film’s name changed to reduce its associations with the original), and so will everyone else save the most undemanding of action and/or Bruce Willis fans. Continue reading