It has been recently announced that Jackie Chan and
Jet Li are teaming together for a new movie. For
Martial Arts Cinema fans, this would have been the
equivalent of Clint Eastwood making a movie with the
late John Wayne.Â While the Chan-Li teaming is still
in the preproduction stage, this dynamic duo have two
movies that are making the rounds on current screens.
"Rush Hour 2" is the most fun of the two motion
pictures and features Chan reuniting with motor mouth
Chris Tucker. Tucker is actually a drag on Chan's
physical performance. Chan is universally known for
performing his own stunts, however several action
sequences appear computer en chanced to provide a
close up for Chris Tucker.
The plot? It has something to do with the Triads, the
bad guys from another genre movie, "Lethal Weapon 4."
Other than that, we see Chan & Tucker chase the bad
guys from Hong Kong to Las Vegas and become involved
with double agents and dirty deals. The strength of
"Rush Hour 2" is watching Martial arts action
sequences that seem fresh. Chan definitely carries
the modern mantle of both Buster Keaton and Harold
One can speculate what this Chan-Li future motion
picture will be about. While Chan is very expressive
and veers towards a punch line, Li appears more low
key with a stoic persona. Expect some outrageous
stunts and protracted Kung Fu fighting from this
In the meantime, Jackie Chan's "Rush Hour 2" provides
some matinee fun for a family while Jet Li's "Kiss of
the Dragon" can provide some entertainment for more
mature audiences on the video shelf.
Less successful with mainstream critics and box office
is director Brett Ratner's "Rush Hour 3." This
buddy action flick features the motor mouth Chris
Tucker and the amazing acrobatics of Jackie Chan.
"Rush Hour 3" has a links with the original "Rush
Hour;" the little kidnapped girl from the first
movie has grown up to kick some bad guy booty and the
bad guys work for the Asian criminal syndicate, the
Triads. This time, Tucker and Chan chase the bad guys
to Paris. After much cultural faux pas and a cavity
search by director Roman Polanski, "Rush Hour 3"
climaxes with a battle on the Eiffel Tower.
For many years, Jackie Chan prided himself by avoiding
a stunt double. However after breaking most bones in
his body and approaching his sixties, Chan is relying
on more special effects to accomplish this task. Yet,
even with these enchancments, the action sequences of
"Rush Hour 3" far surpasses the muddled action of
"The Bourne Ultimatium." "Rush Hour 3" also
features some funny bits and belly laughs.
It is apparent that Brett Ratner has learned from
master director John Ford. Both directors allow the
action to occur within the frame of the camera lens.
One does not have to be a cinema scholar to appreciate
the longevity of a well directed action sequence, John
Ford movies still stand the test of time.
The Bourne Identity
When Ben Affleck and Matt Damon attended the academy
awards for "Good Will Hunting," they brought their
respective moms as their dates. Given these actors
paraell success in other movies like "Pearl Harbor"
and "Saving Private Ryan," one can imagine the
telephone conversation these two woman must have
while wearing their bathrobes and sipping coffee -
Mrs. Affleck would say, "Oh Benny will be working in
the Tom Clancy franchise." "Oh that's wonderful!"
would reply Mrs. Damon, "My Marky is going to be in
his own spy franchise, based on Robert Ludlums only
franchise character, Mr. Bourne." If there is a
friendly rival between these old friends, then Mark
Damon may have taken this round with "The Bourne
Identity," it's the better of the two espionage
franchises recently released.Â The film opens with an
bullet riddled body (Mark Damon) floating alone in
Mediterranean Sea. He is rescued by a fishing boat
in Marseilles. Among his return to land, the
individual discovers a safe deposit box with credit
cards and several passports with multiple names and
a six shooter. Through the process of elimination,
the individual assumes that his name is Jason Bourne,
American Spy. The benefit of seeing this movie is not
to know that much about the plot. As Bourne begins to
unravel his personal web of deceit, the Central
Intelligence Agency tries to reel-in their spook. It
is the many character's fuzzy motivations that drive
the narrative forward. "The Bourne Identity"
contains some smart action sequences based on the
survival reflex. While learning his identity, Damon
is assaulted by various people. After dispatching
these bad guys for the first time, Damon captures the
bewildered look of "How did I do that?" Director Doug
Liman must be commended for making a modern spy
thriller that does not rely on continuous
explosions. The ensemble appears to be appropriately
cast. Creepy Chris Cooper heads a section of the CIA
intent on bringing in his renegade spook. Bedeviled
Brian Cox portrays Cooper's political supervisor.
Julia Stiles undertakes a supporting role as
Cooper's loyal aide. While the movie is a
success because of Damon's sincere performance, Famke
Potente gives an interesting performance. Heroine or
villainous? You are not quite sure what her
characters' motivations are. Having portrayed Johnny
Dept's lost love in "Blow," this German actress is
proving herself a capable character actress. When
Robert Ludlum finished "The Bourne Identity," he
realized that there was much more story to tell, so
he wrote "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne
Ultimatum." Hopefully if studio executives do not get
in the way, Universal Studios will have a good
franchise for Mark Damon and Jason Bourne.
My brother Carm & I were discussing clichÃ©s that can
found in modern Hi-tech thrillers.Â In â€œThe Bourne
Supremacyâ€ we witness technical experts who hover
around a computer screen and speak with rapid dialogue
or pseudo technical terms.Â Also, all modern thrillers
seem to include cellular phones with weak batteries
that seem to expire whenever the killer is about to
strike the heroine in a dark and scary setting.Â This
scene can be found in Michael Mann's latest opus,
In contrast, â€œThe Bourne Supremacyâ€ suffers from
manic editing that does not allow one to enjoy
anything scenic in the movie.Â While Robert Ludlumâ€™s
thriller was a fast paced novel, Director Paul
have included a few tender moments.Â There are
Matt Damon where I began to wonder if he knew, as an
actor, what he was doing in certain sequences.Â It is
too bad the producers lost confidence with simply
telling a spy story,Â **The Bourne Supremacy** had
the potential of being a better, more thought
provoking movie than it's predecessor.
This new movie takes place two years where â€œThe
Bourne Identityâ€ left off.Â Jason Bourne and his
girlfriend are living in the harmonic land of India.
An old enemy spots Bourne and he is forced to
flee his nirvana.Â Living up to his vow from the first
movie, Bourne decides to visit his old employers, the
Having killed off Conklin (Chris Cooper) from the
movie, Warren Abbott (Bryan Cox) seems content to
finish up his
final months with the CIA.Â While Abbott wants to
dismiss the Bourne Affair, Pamela Landy (Joan Allen)
pursue Bourne when she finds his fingerprints on a
crime scene involving
the murder of two agents.Â A cat and mouse game
ensues and a mole is detected from the front ranks of
After discussing these films with my big brother, we
both determined that â€œCollateralâ€ was the more
entertaining movie.Â I am thankful for these
conversations, because midway through â€œThe Bourne
Supremacy, â€œ I fell asleep in the front row.
Director Paul Greengrass earned his academy award nomination for directing "United 93" last year. Greengrass managed to create the tragedy of the people on Flight 93 and how they prevented the 9/11 Terrorists from accomplishing their insane mission. Greengrass had a clarity of vision that was not overwhelmed by cinema verite camera techniques. As the story built, the camera became more mobile, but the clarity of vision pervailed. The same can not be said of Greengrass' work on "The Bourne Ultimatium."
Greengrass, who also directed "The Bourne Supremacy" three years ago, created another tiring motion picture based on Robert Ludlum's books. There may have been some great action sequences involving stunts and car chases, but they are lost in the out of focus lens. The final car chase in Manhatten is particularly frusterating because one does not really know what happens until the chase is stopped.
In his third outing, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), the amnesiac spy, gets embroiled in some CIA scandal in London. Using his cell phone, Bourne pursues clues in Spain, Morrocco and eventually New York. David Straihain and Joan Allen are CIA superchiefs who can summon operatives to hunt down one nosey American quicker than they can hunt terrorists and organized crime.
Granted Robert Ludlum's "Bourne Trilogy" was published between 1980 and 1990, the Matt Damon trilogy of movies feature a plotline far removed from Ludlum's original intention. In fact, Matt Damon and his Hollywood based committee for the coronation of Hilary Clinton have taken the dark inuendo of the war of terrorism and has made it the catalyst for the plot. The Pop psychology reveals that Bourne is an amnesiac spy because he was water boarded as a youth.