Tag Archives: 2004

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) Review

Time: 94 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence, horror scenes, and offensive language
Cast:
Milla Jovovich as Alice
Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine
Oded Fehr as Carlos Oliveira
Thomas Kretschmann as Major Timothy Cain
Sophie Vavasseur as Angela “Angie” Ashford
Jared Harris as Dr. Charles Ashford
Mike Epps as Lloyd Jefferson “L.J.” Wade
Director: Alexander Witt

A deadly virus from a secret Umbrella Corporation laboratory underneath Raccoon City is exposed to the world. Umbrella seals off the city to contain the virus, creating a ghost town where everyone trapped inside turns into a mutant zombie. Alice (Milla Jovovich), a survivor from Umbrella’s secret lab, meets former Umbrella security officer Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and mercenary Carlos Oliviera (Oded Fehr). Together, they search for a scientist (Jared Harris) who might be able to help.

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The first Resident Evil movie didn’t receive the greatest critical response but it was a success upon its release, especially with it being loosely based on the video games of the same name. The Resident Evil movie started out smaller, but by the time the movie series ended in the 2010s it was a full on action series. The second movie Apocalypse was the escalation from horror action to full on action with some horror elements, to such a ridiculous level. If the first movie wasn’t already a major departure from the games, Apocalypse certainly was that. It’s really not good at all but if you know what you’re going in for, you can have some fun at certain parts.

I will be commenting on how they adapted the Resident Evil games to the big screen, but keep in mind that I’ve only played the remake of Resident Evil 2, so I don’t know a ton about the series and lore. Apocalypse actually starts off pretty well, right after the events of the first movie. The movie on the whole is a pretty simple action movie with a straightforward plot. Even though it wasn’t attempting to have scenes like those The Matrix just yet, despite the scale being seemingly small they still manage to make it feel overblown, especially with the action scenes. While it is definitely horror based with the movie involving zombies, any sort of true horror that the first movie had is missing here. There’s very little that’s surprising, I guess there is a twist in the third act but on the whole the movie is mildly predictable. Again, I’ve only played the remake of Resident Evil 2, but it seemed like they took aspects from the game but did them in a more action sense. They do throw in a bunch of characters and aspects from the games, but not all of it is handled the best. One character that is brought from the video games is, Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 who is an unstoppable force. He’s like a tyrant (a giant bioweapon super soldier created by the Umbrella Corporation), only he has weapons and he is very dangerous. They did a good job at making him powerful in this movie. However without giving anything away, they do make him very weak towards the third act, and around this time they do something with main character Alice which completely breaks away from the Resident Evil lore, which just does not work at all. While the first movie didn’t to have exactly what the video games had, it did try to replicate the structure and it kept within its own lore. With Apocalypse, it tries to have it both ways, and by the end it doesn’t really work.

Milla Jovovich is really the only returning member of the first movie as Alice. The character doesn’t have a lot to her, but Jovovich comes across probably the best in this movie (as she generally does for all the movies in the series it seems). The rest of the cast weren’t anything special and weren’t given nearly the amount of attention that Alice got. The one character name I recognised was that of Jill Valentine played by Sienna Guillory, as I heard that the character is in the games. She was pretty good and I heard she’s like a perfect representation of the character in live action, however like all the other characters suffer from being overshadowed by Alice. Thomas Kretschmann is a pretty generic villain, nothing really special about him at all. Mike Epps also is in this movie, and while I get that he was going to provide the comedic relief over everyone else, he just didn’t fit in at all. I guess in a way this actually made him unintentionally funny at points, especially one of his early scenes when he hits a zombie with a car with a good ol’ “GTA motherfucker! 10 points!”. It really was at that point where I stopped taking the movie seriously at all. There’s nothing to say about the rest of the cast.

The first movie had Paul W.S. Anderson directing, but he wouldn’t return for the series until Afterlife. This time it’s Alexander Witt directing, and while the movie certainly is bigger than the first, it’s not necessarily better. Parts of the action are entertaining, but the colours and lighting aren’t that great and the editing isn’t the best, leaving some of the scenes a bit of a mess. It can be pretty hard at times to see what’s going on. If you have a look at the colour pallet on the posters, that dark blue colour is pretty much what you’ll be seeing for most of the movie. The visual effects also haven’t aged very well, although they are definitely better than the previous movie. Some of the more practical effects are good though, like the aforementioned Nemesis or the zombies. At points, Apocalypse does well to create good atmosphere, however there isn’t nearly enough of it and they don’t last very long.

I don’t hate the movie like some do, but Resident Evil: Apocalypse is so far the weakest in the Resident Evil movie series, though that’s not really saying a lot. If you’re looking for an accurate depiction of the games in live action films, outside of some characters and aspects that you might recognise, it’s not this. If you don’t mind a dumb action movie and you liked the first movie, then you might enjoy this one. However if you weren’t a fan of the first Resident Evil movie, you probably won’t like this movie either.

 

The Aviator (2004) Review

Time: 170 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] contains adult themes
Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes
Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn
John C. Reilly as Noah Dietrich
Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner
Alec Baldwin as Juan Trippe
Alan Alda as Senator Owen Brewster
Ian Holm as Professor Fitz
Danny Huston as Jack Frye
Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow
Jude Law as Errol Flynn
Willem Dafoe as Roland Sweet
Adam Scott as Johnny Meyer
Director: Martin Scorsese

Billionaire and aviation tycoon Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a successful public figure: a director of big-budget Hollywood movies such as “Hell’s Angels (1930)”, a passionate lover of Hollywood’s leading ladies Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), and an aviation pioneer who helps build TWA into a major airline. But in private, Hughes remains tormented, suffering from paralyzing phobias and depression. The higher he rises, the farther he has to fall.

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I remember when I saw The Aviator for the first time, I watched it because Martin Scorsese directed it and Leonardo DiCaprio was in it. I thought DiCaprio was great and the movie was pretty good, but didn’t remember much from the film, except that it was really long. I knew that I’d appreciate it a lot more when I got to around to watching it again and that’s certainly what happened. I was interested in it a lot more this time, and I think it’s a really great film.

The Aviator is very long at 2 hours and 50 minutes, yet it’s much faster paced than I remember it being. After while you began to notice some parts where it dragged but if you were invested in it as much as I was, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. A successful biopic makes you learn about the real life subject, both what they did and what kind of person they are, while also making you interested to learn about them through further research. The Aviator succeeds at this at flying colours, showing a large portion of Howard Hughes’s life. Part of why Scorsese did so well with this biopic was that he treated it like it was a character study, like some of his past films. Over time we get to learn more about Hughes and his life, as we see him at different stages of his life, at highs and lows.

There is a large and talented cast, and they’re all great here. Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as Howard Hughes has to be among his all time best work. DiCaprio portrays many sides of Hughes, the filmmaker, the entrepreneur, the aviator, the businessman, as well as his eccentrics and OCD. This entire movie surrounds him, and the work that he’s done here is nothing short of excellent. Cate Blanchett is another standout as real life actress Katharine Hepburn. Although I’ve never seen Hepburn in a movie, Blanchett seemed to have captured the mannerisms, voice and overall character of her perfectly. Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda and Ian Holm make up a strong supporting cast and give memorable performances as well. Even some brief performers like Jude Law, Willem Dafoe and Adam Scott play their parts well.

Martin Scorsese’s direction of The Aviator is excellent as expected. Robert Richardson’s cinematography is outstanding, and the editing by Thelma Schoonmaker here also ranks among one of her best works in a Scorsese movie. While indeed the scenes involving planes and all that are filmed and edited very well, it also works in other regards, such as when Howard Hughes has some breakdowns and issues with his OCD. There are some parts where the CGI really hasn’t held up all that well in the plane scenes (this movie is from 2004 after all), but thankfully these moments don’t last for too long, and don’t take away too much from the overall movie. There aren’t a ton of plane scenes, but the ones in this movie are very well filmed. The score by Howard Shore is also quite solid.

Although it’s recently being regarded as one of Martin Scorsese’s lesser films, The Aviator is great and is worth seeing at least once. On a technical level it’s fantastic, Scorsese directs it incredibly well, and its shot and edited to near perfection. On the whole, it’s also an interesting biopic about a fascinating man, that’s well paced despite its very long runtime. It’s worth seeing even just for Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance here.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) Review

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Uma Thurman as The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo (Black Mamba)
David Carradine as Bill (Snake Charmer)
Lucy Liu as O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth)
Vivica A. Fox as Vernita Green (Copperhead)
Michael Madsen as Budd (Sidewinder)
Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver
Julie Dreyfus as Sofie Fatale
Sonny Chiba as Hattori Hanzo
Gordon Liu as Pai Mei
Director: Quentin Tarantino

The Bride (Uma Thurman) picks up where she left off in volume one with her quest to finish the hit list she has composed of all of the people who have wronged her, including ex-boyfriend Bill (David Carradine), who tried to have her killed four years ago during her wedding to another man. Leaving several dead in her wake, she eventually tracks down Bill in Mexico. Using skills she has learned during her assassin career, she attempts to finish what she set out to do in the first place.

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Directly after watching Kill Bill Volume 1, I decided to watch the second half of the story that same day. I always remembered it being a solid enough but underwhelming follow up to Volume 1, and it seemed to be a reaction that I’ve seen from multiple people. I definitely think it is a better movie when I saw it again not too long ago. This movie swapped out the over the top action flick with a western-esque revenge, and that’ll either make you like it more than the first movie, or like it less. Personally I now consider it to be the better of the two movies.

Kill Bill Volume 2 is a very different movie compared to the first one. It is much slower paced movie, there isn’t nearly the same amount of the blood and gore and it’s more longer and drawn out at 2 hours and 20 minutes instead of an hour and 50 minutes. It is a lot more dialogue focussed, and given that this is Tarantino’s strongest suit, he excels at it. While it is jarring seeing the difference between the two movies (especially after watching one after the other), there’s a lot more going on with the story. Volume 2 leans in heavier with the Western genre conventions. This movie works a lot better with me on a rewatch than the first time I saw it. I won’t deny that the first volume is way more entertaining, it’s one of the most stylish and iconic movies ever made. However, writing wise I’d say that the second movie is better. With that said, I still don’t think that the writing is anything compared to most of his other movies. While it has some great moments of dialogue, some of the dialogue scenes feel drawn out and unnecessary. The biggest example is a scene between The Bride and a character played by Michael Parks, the scene could’ve just been a couple minutes long but Parks has this long monologue and it really felt self indulgent (really a lot of the movies do). I know a lot of people want a Kill Bill 3 but honestly I thought they ended the story perfectly here.

Uma Thurman is once again excellent as The Bride, this is her career defining role. With this movie being more low-key, story-focussed and less action orientated, she gets a lot more to do here acting-wise. Other supporting players teased in the previous movie also get to do a lot more here. We finally get to actually see David Carradine as Bill and he definitely lived up to all the build up, he was perfect for what the movie needed and he particularly shines in the third act. Not to mention the actual much anticipated confrontation between him and The Bride doesn’t go the way that you’d initially expect it to. The other remaining people that The Bride is after played by Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah also play their roles very well.

Quentin Tarantino’s direction was once again great and like the story, it was a much more lowkey, less over the top action and not nearly as stylish as the previous movie. There aren’t as many insane and over the top moments. However, it is very well directed, the western influences are definitely a lot more present here. If you felt that Tarantino was way too indulgent with the way he directed Volume 1, Volume 2 is probably going to be more up your alley. The action itself is good, even if there weren’t many of them. The highlight was a fight between Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah, which is the most flashy of all the fight scenes, very over the top and entertaining.

Kill Bill Vol 2 worked way better than I initially gave it credit. It fills in much of the story depth that was missing from the first half, the writing and direction was great as to be expected, the cast was great (with Uma Thurman once again leading excellently) and I’d consider it to be better than the first volume. People are generally split on which of the movies is better. I’ll say that if you really liked Volume 1, you’re going to want to watch Volume 2 for the story at the very least. Maybe you might like it even more than the first movie.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) Review

Time: 142 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Scary scenes and mild language.
Cast:
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger
Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore
Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley
Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall
Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew
David Thewlis as Remus Lupin
Emma Thompson as Sybill Trelawney
Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Harry Potter’s (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison and is bent on murdering the teenage wizard. While Hermione’s (Emma Watson) cat torments Ron’s (Rupert Grint) sickly rat, causing a rift among the trio, a swarm of nasty Dementors is sent to protect the school from Black. A mysterious new teacher helps Harry learn to defend himself, but what is his secret tie to Sirius Black?

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Interestingly, Prisoner of Azkaban for most of the general audience is the best Harry Potter movie. I knew though that a lot of die hard Harry Potter fans had some mixed feelings about the movie. As I hadn’t watched the movie recently and in a while, I was curious to see what my opinion of the movie would be. I’m glad to say that I lean on the side that considers Prisoner of Azkaban to be one of the best Harry Potter movies, with Alfonso Cuarón’s direction playing a big part in this.

If I had to guess one of the main reasons why this movie stuck particularly with the general audience more than the other Harry Potter movies, it might have to do with the fact that the story is much more personal for Harry and didn’t clearly feel like it was setting up for later movies. It’s like the only Harry Potter film to not have Voldemort to deal directly with the plot (outside of maybe Half Blood Prince). There are some differences from the books, most of them didn’t bother me too much and worked okay enough for a movie (such as Harry learning the spell Expecto Patronium really quickly) as opposed to the book where it took a long time. Some of the differences, particularly with how the spells work, are a little distracting. For example, Expecto Patronium here is not quite like it was in the book, and Expelliarmus here seemed to be used as both a disarming spell and a stunning spell. There are also some bits from the book that would’ve been nice to see in the movie. The humour in this movie worked really well, while the previous movies had some hit or miss humour, all of it works here. Prisoner of Azkaban is shorter than the previous two Harry Potter movies at 2 hours and 20 minutes long and is really paced well, even better paced than Philosopher’s Stone. You never feel bored, and you can’t pick out really a scene that could’ve or should’ve been removed for time or for the benefit of the story. Almost everything in here is needed.

There isn’t really any problems with the younger cast acting from this point forward with the films. Once again the friendship between Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) is even stronger. Radcliffe particularly gets a lot to do, especially in the second half. I mentioned in my Chamber of Secrets review that Ron Weasley comes across as being a little useless and underused at times, and the same goes for Prisoner of Azkaban, particularly in the third act (then again it was in the novel as well). The rest of the returning is once again good as well, particularly Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and Maggie Smith and Minerva McGonagall. Most of the new additions really worked. David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher (the best in Harry’s period at Hogwarts), was a perfect casting decision, I can’t see anyone else in the role (I’m so glad Thewlis got this role instead of Professor Quirrell in Philosopher’s Stone). Gary Oldman works really well as Sirius Black, once again he transforms completely into his role. Conveying a lot of craziness, yet also completely convincing as the true character that’s revealed later on, Oldman is absolutely fantastic as usual. Timothy Spall was also perfect for his role that’s revealed later in the movie. One new cast addition was for the role of Albus Dumbledore, as Richard Harris died between the second and third films. Michael Gambon takes on the role now and while I’m aware there are mixed feelings about him, I think he’s fine here. He’s not quite fitted into the role of Dumbledore yet but he works fine, even if he does feel like he’s trying to act like Richard Harris. At least he fares better here than he does in Goblet of Fire. Other additions like Emma Thompson as Professor Trelawny were good as well.

Alfonso Cuarón’s direction is jarringly different from Chris Columbus’s, however considering the massive tonal differences that the later stories would have and seeing how they have changed, I can say that the changes was worth it and I’m glad that it happened in this movie before it was too late in the series. His direction of the movie is probably why so many people love this movie so much over the others, and for good reason. The way everything looks, his storytelling, pretty much everything works excellently. His attention to detail was great, particularly with Hermione and her use of the time turner. The cinematography by Michael Seresin was fantastic, it really looks great. When it comes to visuals, this is probably the first of the Harry Potter’s to have effects that actually still do hold up really well. Certain magical things like the Marauder’s Map particularly looked really nice on screen. Of course there are some moments where you can tell would need a green screen or something to be completely created in CGI and then you can really identify the green screen and tell that the CGI/magical object isn’t actually there, but nothing more than that. The look of the Dementors are great, shadowy, dark and really effective, I’m not sure why their design changed in Order of the Phoenix. This film has some truly magical and wonderful sequences, such as the flight(s) of the hippogriff Buckbeak and Harry facing off against the dementors. There are some weird looking sequences though, like the Knight Bus moment, where they seemed to up the insanity for a little bit, I guess that’s what they were going for but it did feel out of place. The production design was once again really great. I will say however that with this movie following the previous two, I can’t tell what year this takes place in. In fact one of the biggest problems with the Harry Potter movies is the time period is never locked down. It’s a slight distraction but doesn’t negatively affect the movies too much. Also whereas the first two movies had the main character wearing robes pretty much all the time, here they start wearing more casual clothes and this would become more prevalent over time as the movies would continue, I think it works for the movie but again it can be a jarring difference. Every director also keeps changing what Hogwarts looks like and again, jarring but you get over it. The score by John Williams is also great, in fact some of the best themes in the Harry Potter movies were introduced/featured in Prisoner of Azkaban.

Before re-watching Prisoner of Azkaban recently, I wasn’t sure where I would rank it among the Harry Potter movies, but now I think it’s at the very least among the best in the movies. The great pacing, the storytelling, the acting but most of all Alfonso Cuarón’s excellent direction, makes this a really great film. I can definitely see now why so many people consider it to be the best film in the entire series.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) Review

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Contains violence
Cast:
Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson
James Franco as Harry Osborn
Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus/Doc Ock
Rosemary Harris as May Parker
Donna Murphy as Rosalie Octavius
Director: Sam Rami

When a failed nuclear fusion experiment results in an explosion that kills his wife, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) is transformed into Dr. Octopus, a cyborg with deadly metal tentacles. Doc Ock blames Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) for the accident and seeks revenge. Meanwhile, Spidey’s alter ego, Peter Parker, faces fading powers and self-doubt. Complicating matters are his best friend’s (James Franco) hatred for Spider-Man and his true love’s (Kirsten Dunst) sudden engagement to another man.

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Sam Rami’s Spider-Man impacted the comic book genre in such an immense way. Looking back at it now, some of it holds up, some of it doesn’t, but its enjoyable overall. While Spider-Man was a good movie, Spider-man 2 is a great movie. Spider-Man 2 improves in every way over Spiderman 1, better villain, better special effects, better story, better character development, better everything really. Out of the trilogy, this was the one time I felt Rami balanced all the elements well, and made it the best Spider-Man movie yet.

The pacing of the movie is a lot steadier than in Spider-Man 1. Peter does have a strong arc, with him questioning whether he should continue being Spider-Man, and him trying to deal with the pressures of living both as Peter Parker and Spider-Man (this was in the first movie, but it’s explored a lot more in the sequel). This movie has quite a lot going on. I found myself a lot more invested in this movie and its characters, particularly Peter and Dr Ock). I didn’t really mention the humour in my review of the first movie, but it was pretty much cheesy humour (though a lot of it is quite funny). Here it’s legitimately funny, with some quirky humour appropriately thrown in. The tone in 2 is more serious than the first movie, but it does have some funny moments, for example there is a montage set to the tune of “Raindrops keep falling on my head”. But I do appreciate the change in tone, I could take everything a lot more seriously.

Once again I really liked Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man. As I said earlier, he has a strong arc here, an arc which involves a lot of internal conflict. Maguire in the first movie was a little too quirky and geeky, and I wasn’t invested in him. Here though, I actually cared about what Peter was going through, and Tobey did a very good job. Alfred Molina is Doc Ock, the villain of the movie, and he is hands down the best Spider-Man movie villain. He is given some form of complexity, he is a human being. The film doesn’t always handle him the best, as some of his more villainous actions like attempting to crash a train and the way he acted at times really didn’t quite fall in line with his character. He is a little goofy and over the top at times, but it didn’t really bother me (like what happened with Green Goblin in the first movie), he was really entertaining, but sympathetic at the same time. The supporting actors/characters are also a lot better than in the first movie. While I still don’t like Mary Jane and don’t think the romance between her and Peter is done well, Kirsten Dunst does have a lot more to work with, and she once again she does the best she can to make Mary Jane as 3 dimensional a character as possible. With that said, Mary Jane is still a 2 dimensional character, not really that interesting and is just another comic book movie girlfriend. James Franco is great here, in the first movie he really didn’t do much asides from being Peter’s friend, but here he does have a lot more to do, with Harry Osborn looking to get revenge on Spider-Man. J.K. Simmons is also effortlessly entertaining as J. Jonah Jameson, he gets a lot more scenes and he steals every single one of these scenes. And there’s another Bruce Campbell cameo, which is always nice.

Spider-Man 2 is a technical improvement over the original film. The CGI isn’t quite up to today’s standards but its still really good. The action is so great. While the first movie was good, the action really wasn’t that great, aside from the last action scene. Spider-Man 2’s action is a significant improvement over the first movie. There are so many great action sequences. There’s also a horror like scene with Doc Ock. The highlight however was an action sequence between Spider-Man and Doc Ock on a train, definitely one of the best comic book movie action sequences. The soundtrack by Danny Elfman, like from the first movie, is really good.

Spider-Man 2 is the best Spider-Man movie we have got yet. Most of the Spider-Man movies are good but flawed, Spiderman 2 is the only Spider-Man movie that I would call great. All the elements of the movie, the story, the acting, the action, everything about it really worked to result in a well-balanced, investing, deep comic book movie, which is endlessly entertaining. It is probably one of the best comic book movies ever made. Definitely a classic.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004) Review

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The Bourne Supremacy

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Julia Stiles as Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons
Karl Urban as Kirill
Gabriel Mann as Danny Zorn
Joan Allen as Pamela Landy
Director: Paul Greengrass

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living in India when he is framed by Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban) for the theft of millions from the CIA. Kirill begins to pursue Bourne, intending to assassinate him — but while Bourne and his girlfriend, Marie (Franka Potente), are on the run, a shot meant for him kills her instead. Vowing revenge, Bourne sets out to prove his innocence and bring the culprits to justice, but he has to evade CIA head Pamela Landry (Joan Allen), who is convinced he is guilty.

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The Bourne Identity was a big hit when it came out, and made Matt Damon a star. With The Bourne Supremacy, Liman is replaced by Greengrass. While some see Supremacy as an unnecessary sequel, I like it quite a bit, in fact I enjoy it slightly more than the previous film. The Bourne Supremacy is pretty much more of the same in Bourne Identity. The acting, writing and action is still quite great. It’s the direction and type of story that’s different.

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Again like with The Bourne Identity, you have to really pay attention to what is going on. There is a piece of Bourne’s past which he’s trying to remember, making it a little similar to the previous movie. However that’s only a small aspect in the story, the main part is that he’s being chased down, while he’s trying to find answers. Whereas Bourne Identity was a mystery movie, the Bourne Supremacy is a straight up thriller. As a result in some ways, this movie is easier to follow in comparison. I guess it depends which type of Bourne film you prefer, the mystery or the thriller.

Film Title: The Bourne Supremacy

Matt Damon returns and is just as great as he was in the previous film. There isn’t as much characterisation as in the previous film, but that wasn’t his purpose for this film, here he’s now the deadly assassin and really became Jason Bourne. Again like with the previous movie, most of the supporting actors like Brian Cox don’t particularly stand out but they are still good in their roles. They feel quite grounded in reality. The antagonising forces include Brian Cox and now Joan Allen. Both of their interactions and reasons for trying to hunt them down is much more interesting than in the previous film, as they have conflicting motivations. One supporting actor which does stand out, at least to me, is Karl Urban who plays a henchman, though I’m wondering whether that’s just because he’s Karl Urban. And Karl Urban is awesome.

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While the main level of quality of everything is at the same as in the previous movie, the movie is visually more interesting, in regards to the colour at least (I don’t know if that’s just me or what). The action is again like in the previous movie a bit shaky but is still well filmed. There are two times where it gets too shaky for its own good, one of them is early on in the first car chase, it kept cutting rapidly and the camerawork was really off. However after a while the action in that scene was filmed better. The second moment is a fight scene in the first half, it was done, quite frankly poorly but the rest of the action is done great by Greengrass. The stunts like in the previous film were done great as well, you feel like these people are actually there and in these action scenes.

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Having seen this movie, I think it’s about the same level of quality as The Bourne Identity. The action, acting, writing and all the elements are just as good. However I do still slightly prefer this movie over the previous film, certain elements of the direction I like a little more (personal preference). I do not think that this film should be dismissed, even if you consider it the lesser film in the trilogy, its’ still a very solid film, and should definitely be seen as soon as possible.

Collateral (2004) Review

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Collateral

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence
Cast:
Tom Cruise as Vincent
Jamie Foxx as Max
Jada Pinkett Smith as Annie
Mark Ruffalo as Fanning
Director: Michael Mann

Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) is a night-shift cab driver in Los Angeles. One night, he picks up a passenger named Vincent (Tom Cruise) who seems like another ordinary passenger. But when he drops Vincent off at his location and waits for him as asked, a body falls on his cab, and it becomes clear that Vincent is actually a hitman, and he’s got four more stops to make. Max is forced to drive Vincent around the City of L.A., unsure if he’ll live to see sunrise.

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Collateral is one of those rare surprising movies that come around every so often: a movie that can balance character, action and dialogue at the same time. The concept of the movie seems pretty straight forward but it also has many complex ideas that are put into play. This movie isn’t quite an action movie, even though it has action in it, it’s more of a thriller. Whenever there aren’t any action scenes, the dialogue has to carry the movie. Fortunately, the dialogue between characters is well written. The two main characters are the most developed in the movie and are the most interesting. Like I said earlier on, this is not an action movie, so a lot of the time you will be hearing Max and Vincent talk but the action scenes are also placed in the right times. The story takes quite a few twists and turns. The film mostly follows Foxx’s character and occasionally follows Mark Ruffalo who plays a detective investigating the murders happening.

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Jamie Foxx is really good in this movie. This movie and Ray (2004) helped him get more noticed and his performance here rightfully earned him an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actor (The same year he won for Best Actor for Ray). The most surprising performance in this movie came from Tom Cruise. It’s rare to find Tom Cruise in the role of the antagonist of a movie, with the possible exception of Interview with the Vampire (1994). This truly is Cruise’s best performance and is quite possibly the most fascinating character he has played. In his conversations with Max, hints of some of his past are implied, instead of just telling us, which allows the audience to speculate who he really is. Even some of the supporting cast like Jada Pinkett-Smith and Mark Ruffalo are really good, for what little amounts of scenes they were in.

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If you watch this movie, you will notice that the look is quite different to most movies. One of the best things about Michael Mann as a director is that he can make a movie look incredible. The city of LA looks beautiful under his direction and gives it a presence, and almost makes it a third character to Foxx and Cruise’s. Arguably the best filmed sequence is the one taking place inside a night club. He gets to play with a lot of lighting effects and it seems to flow smoothly. It there’s one thing I can say about the cinematography in this film, it’s that it flows and it never seems abrupt. The sound effects are very realistic, Michael Mann is known for having gunshot sound effects louder than most action movies such as movies as Heat and Public Enemies. The soundtrack is picked out well and each song is perfect for the moment. It goes from Green Car Motel, to Audioslave, to music composed by James Newton Howard and so on. All of these things combine to make the film seem almost dreamlike and wondrous, as well as puncturing the moments with the realistic gunshots.

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Collateral works as both as a suspenseful thriller and a character study. From the unique style to the fantastic acting from everyone, this makes a movie that is worth watching. A truly underrated and overlooked film, it deserves more attention than it has received. It is more of a thriller than an action flick but still is very entertaining as either, along with being an investing watch.