Director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum) and Matt Damon reunite again on the big screen after a nine-year hiatus. Jason Bourne delivers spy-tingling thrills in this post-Snowden era.
Jason Bourne hits all of the highs that fans have come to expect from the franchise, which is this sequel’s biggest selling-point. Greengrass being back in the director’s chair will leave viewers breathless by the end of the film. Cynics can take a hike, has Jason Bourne delivers and is one of the best films of the summer. During this time of back to school and stale popcorn, fear not, Bourne is back after years of hiding and is ready to battle the U.S. government once again.
The Bourne trilogy is one of the freshest and exhilarating spy series to come to the big screen since it first debuted in 2002. Forget the cheap cash grab that came a few years back A.K.A. The Bourne Legacy. The disappointments of that fourth film are unraveled here thanks to Greengrass and Damon’s reunion. Damon returns to the role as the amnesiac assassin that made him an icon, still in hiding after the events of Ultimatum. After exposing the Operation Blackbriar and disappearing, Jason Bourne has finally recovered from his amnesia and has isolated himself from the world. Bourne is trying to live in peace by getting his knuckles bloody and bruised in illegal fighting rings. It takes Bourne's former Treadstone contact, Nicky Parsons (an excellent Julia Stiles), to get Jason back on the map.
Trying to expose the CIA’s black ops program, Parsons discovers a strange tie between Bourne’s father and Treadstone. Parsons also learns that the new CIA director Robert Dewey (an evil Tommy Lee Jones) is building his own shadow government with the help of compromised tech kingpin Aaron Kalloor (a terrific Riz Ahmed). During an austerity riot in Greece, Parsons comes in contact with Bourne and shares with him the new information. With all of this cyber terrorism weaved in-between the script, Greengrass doesn’t forget to convey the nerve-wrenching action scenes. In a Ferguson-like sequence, viewers are engulfed on the streets of Greece with riots and chaos.
Ace cinematographer Barry Aykroyd (The Hurt Locker) will leave you speechless as Bourne and Parsons zip through the fiery streets of Greece on a motorcycle. Noble actors to also look at in the film are Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee, the head of the CIA Cyber Ops Division and Vincent Cassel as the Asset, a Blackbriar assassin working for the Iron Hand program. With Jason Bourne, you get a sense of realism and awe throughout the film. Greengrass cuts back on the CGI and unveils truly special effects. With that, we get some of the most breathtaking car chase scenes ever put on film.
The Vegas strip climax will go down in the books as one of the greatest chase sequences ever to be executed. IMDb has reported that “The Las Vegas car chase sequence took five weeks to shoot and at the end, the sequence wrecked 170 cars.” In the end, it was all worth it. This chase scene, alone, took me by complete surprise and shattered my conscience. Jason Bourne comes at a time where summer blockbusters can be muddled and the popcorn has gone stale. Refueling the franchise back to it’s finest form. This for some people can be its greatest flaw and I completely understand. Nevertheless, Bourne is back and ready too rumble.
Jason Bourne is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language.
Continuing the post-reboot highs, director Justin Lin (Fast Five) takes the Enterprise even further into space with exhilarating space-opera thrills. It’s ‘Beyond’ entertaining.
While providing both homage and excitement, Star Trek Beyond fuels the franchise with more popcorn fun. In 2009, director JJ Abrams rebooted the dying series with new life and adventure. Star Trek came in full throttle, sleek style and a new alternate universe. In 2013, Abrams continued in the director’s chair and released the summer blockbuster known as Star Trek Into Darkness. Into Darkness wasn’t as fresh as its predecessor, nevertheless, the film took the audience by surprise with breathtaking action and set pieces. In the end, Into Darkness set up captain Kirk (a fantastic Chris Pine) and his crew for their five-year mission into deep space.
Add in the new director, Justin Lin, with nonstop action and vivid style and you get Star Trek Beyond. The plot is rather simple this time around, but the homage is grand to past Trekkies and old glories. Captain Kirk (Pine) and the crew (consisting of actors Zachary Quinto, the late Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana) of the Enterprise encounter an alien warrior race when marooned on a distant planet after the destruction of their spaceship. The main villain goes by the name of Krall (an incredible Idris Elba) and he’s out for blood.
But the real acting chops goes to Sofia Boutella, who plays Jaylah. Boutella nails the heart and soul of the alien scavenger. While Beyond can’t fully capture the freshness and sleekness of it’s first two predecessors, fear not, Lin still manages to pull off an impressive sci-fi episode in retro speed. Lin uses his skill in the camerawork and direction to hurl the audience through space, captivating their minds with fear and nostalgia. Beyond also pays tribute to the original cast (consisting of James Doohan, Walter Koenig, DeForest Kelley, Majel Barrett, William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, the late Leonard Nimoy, and George Takei) of the Enterprise and will slap a smile on the face of any Trekkie. I guarantee it.
Scriptwriter/Actor Pegg even goes a step further by giving Sulu (Cho) a boyfriend in the film. This is a nod of respect to the beloved George Takei. All in all, Star Trek Beyond comes right in time when the summer blues start to kick in. Beyond fuels your bones with a sense of excitement and pleasure. In this post-reboot era, the Trekkies continue to soar! I’m eagerly excited for future adventures to follow. “For Anton,” live long and prosper.
Star Trek Beyond is rate PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For sequences of sci-fi action and violence.