August 3, 2007, - 2:24 pm

Weekend Box Office: Mixed Feelings on “Bourne” Sequel, “Hot Rod”

By Debbie Schlussel
I took a break from screening some movies this week due to scheduling conflicts and media appearances. Therefore, no reviews of “Becoming” Jane,” about the life of authoress Jane Austen, and “Bratz,” the movie version of the incongruous, sluttily-dressed competitors to Barbie. I’m sure most readers of this site don’t really care about either of those, though I will consider seeing “Jane” over the weekend and posting a late review. “Underdog” was not screened for critics, usually a bad sign.
Of the major box office releases that I did see, I have mixed emotions:

bourneultimatum.jpghotrod.jpg

* “The Bourne Ultimatum“–I liked AND disliked the third chapter of, 2nd sequel to “The Bourne Identity.” It’s definitely the best and most exciting of the three and full of heart-pounding action and interesting turns. That said, the plot is just silly and a liberal’s wet dream. You know how we torture and waterboard terrorists? Well, in this one, the CIA does it to those like Jason Bourne to make them better agents. Yeah, like that really happens . . . as much as I wouldn’t mind seeing Valerie Plame’s head in a toilet.
The jittery camera-work at the beginning of the movie is annoying and distracting, but it gets better from there, with exciting chases and escapes of every kind imaginable. Some of the death-defying–as in a car chase and repeated crashes or Bourne holding his own against a giant-sized Muslim CIA assassin–are completely unbelievable, just like similarly absurd, impossibly death-defying feats in “Live Free or Die Hard.” But the rest is good.
Biggest faux pas: Julia Stiles, as a friendly fellow agent, dyes and cuts her hair to escape Tangier unnoticed. Hello . . .? She’s in a Muslim-dominated town where every woman is in a hijab and she doesn’t just don one of those instead? Are real-life CIA agents this inept? I have a hunch that art imitates life on that one. (Also very annoying to hear the actress on ABC’s yenta-fest, “The View,” gushing over how exciting and lovely it was being there during Ramadan to film the scenes. Sure it was.)
The plot: Jason Bourne is still trying to find out who he is. And he finds out. We even learn his real name. And all the while he is trying to escape the corrupt CIA officials and assassins they’ve assigned to kill him. It takes us from Moscow to London to Tangier to New York. He keeps having flashbacks of waterboarding and torture. And that’s why the CIA wants to kill him–so he won’t remember. Dumb. You get it? We like Jason Bourne, and we’re hurt they’d hurt him that way. So we should be hurt they treat Islamic terrorists that way, too. That’s the message.
Reader Andy G sends this San Francisco Chronicle anti-war diatribe posing as a movie review:

If “United 93″ showed the tragedy, “The Bourne Ultimatum” shows an America living with the aftermath. The events of 9/11 aren’t mentioned, but they don’t need to be, as their aftershocks are all too apparent. This is a movie about fear – a government’s fear of its citizens and citizens’ fear of their government. It’s a movie about surveillance, with people being watched at virtually every moment. Finally, it’s about philosophies in collision, about how much safety can be bought at the price of freedom and about the kinds of personalities that gravitate toward the totalitarian mind-set. . . .
Bourne is a young man who has been betrayed by old men – men he trusted, like a good son. Thus, the film presents a kind of metaphorical story of a son who was lied to and abandoned by fathers who are now trying to hide from the consequences. In any era, that metaphor has powerful unconscious resonances, but its reverberations become downright transcendental at those times when older men are betraying younger men’s idealism by sending them into wars they cannot win.

Watch for a fourth installment, The Bourne Annoyance.
* “Hot Rod“–I have mixed feelings on this one, too, because it’s absolutely one of the worst, most amateurish movies of the year. But it’s so stupid and the mildly humorous, occasionally funny jokes (’80s music on the soundtrack, the way they did it in ’80s movies) are repeated so much that the movie is mildly amusing and entertaining. It’s a really, really bad, pointless movie. It looks like a 12-year-old made it–plot, set, actors, and all. Would love to get the soundtrack from this one though. That’s the high point of this dumb film. It is light and mildly fun, if completely stupid.
The plot: Saturday Night Live regular Andy Samberg plays Rod, a kid who believes his late father was a stuntman for Evil Knievel. He dreams of beating up his stepfather, Frank, who always beats him in fights. But Frank is now dying of an ailing heart. He can’t get a transplant unless he gets $50,000. Rod–a bad stuntperson–plans a stunt to jump over 11 buses to raise the money. He wants Frank to live, so he can finally beat him up. In the meantime, he has a crush on a girl member of his crew, played by Isla Fisher, Borat’s Sasha Baron Cohen’s real-life, Omani-born fiancee.
Interesting twist on this movie: Takes place in present time with the Internet, cellphones, etc. But everyone looks, acts, dresses, talks, and does everything else like they are in the ’80s and ’70s. Been there, seen that, in “The Brady Bunch Movie.”

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Print Friendly



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses

‘…as much as I wouldn’t mind seeing Valerie Plame’s head in a toilet.’ Hee hee. Good one!

dm60462 on August 3, 2007 at 4:14 pm

Oh man, I was foaming at the mouth to see you rip apart of that Bratz movie. Now I’ll never get the chance to see your thoughts on it.

Squirrel3D on August 3, 2007 at 6:43 pm

Debbie:
Both the Military and the CIA train people on what to expect if they are captured. Trainees are subject to physical brutally that exceeds anything that was on the menu for Gitmo detainees. In the Military it is referred to as Survival, evasion, resistance and escape (SERE) school.
YES, BUT THE TORTURE HE GOES THROUGH AT THE HANDS OF THE CIA IN THIS MOVIE IS BEYOND TRAINING. IT IS PROLONGED AND DONE TO “BREAK” HIM AND MAKE HIM FORGET WHO HE WAS–TURN HIM INTO A KILLING MACHINE. I DOUBT THAT REALLY HAPPENS.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

jerry on August 6, 2007 at 8:37 am

Went to finally see Live Free or Die Hard. Liked it more than I thought, even though the stunts are totally ridiculous.
Since we got there early we sneaked into Hot Rod and caught about 15 minutes of it. Pretty much what Debbie says, it’s pretty dumb with a few hahas thrown in. But, since Wedding Crashers I love Isla Fisher and it’s almost worth it to see her…almost.

Jeff_W on August 6, 2007 at 12:04 pm

The Bourne Identity and the other books in the series by Robert Ludlum were some of the most exciting and gripping novels that I had ever read.
The misunderstanding between the US government and Bourne was only a tiny part of all the books.
Leave it to the Liberal leftist Hollywood hacks to corrupt and ruin a great story and adventure. If they would have followed the original works they would have had much better movies than the anti American tripe that they pitch today.

Facts of Life on August 6, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Debbie:
Not to nit pick but you said: “Well, in this one, the CIA does it to those like Jason Bourne to make them better agents.” As an attorney you should have been more precise and qualified your statements by talking about the degree of torture. As it is written your statement is false. SERE school can be pretty intense. People occasionally end up with contusions, broken bones and lost teeth as well as severly bruised egos.
“AS AN ATTORNEY . . .”? THIS IS NOT COURT. IT’S A MOVIE REVIEW. BUT SINCE YOU ARE A STICKLER FOR THE UNIMPORTANT, PLEASE NOTE THAT I’M VERY LIKELY CORRECT IN MY BELIEF THAT THE CIA DOES NOT ENGAGE IN PROLONGED TORTURE OF AGENTS TO BREAK THEM DOWN AND MAKE THEM FORGET THEIR REAL NAMES. I’D DOUBT THAT’S THE CASE.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

jerry on August 6, 2007 at 12:32 pm

I saw the Bourne Ultimatum on Friday and I thought it was a real good movie. I didnt get the sense it was a liberals wet dream. I guess because I am a conservative who thiks freely and doesnt take Hollywood too seriously. The trilogy is one of my favorites although I do not agree with Damon’s politics. Bratz on the other hand…what can I say. I figured Hollywood would have learned their lesson on making movies based on failed childrens toys/collectibles. “Garbage Pail Kids” anyone? Im surprised they didnt make a Beanie Babies movie.

RadicalRightWinger on August 6, 2007 at 1:40 pm

It was predictably well made. However, I was disturbed by the fact that all the villains had Jewish names: head of CIA Ezra Kramer, his deputy Noah Vosen, and the doctor who ran the experimental program that created Jason Bourne, Albert Hirsch. It seemed to be saying that the CIA was now doing un-Christian things (Pamela Landy: “This is not us”). With the ties to post-911 conspiratorial thinking, I don’t think I’m being too conspiratorial myself.

TL on August 11, 2007 at 2:18 pm

@TL – I thought that was odd as well but you’re the only one I see who has mentioned it online.

Recruiting Animal on May 6, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Leave a Reply

* denotes required field