Year Released: 2016
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander
(PG-13, 123 min.)
Genre: Action and Adventure, Drama
“Remembering everything doesn't mean you know everything.” Nicky Parsons
This is the blockbuster action and thrills we’ve come to expect each summer just as certainly as cookouts and a day at the beach. But this year we had to wait almost until August to get it.
I’m not saying this fourth installment of the Bourne franchise offers anything spectacularly new or original. It’s more like those old campfire stories we never tired of hearing in our scouting days. We know Bourne is going to crack some heads with lightning surprise and nonchalance. He’s going to stay only a few paces ahead of flying bullets, countless assassins, and relentless explosions. There will be a few new faces, another malevolent CIA director out to get him, and just enough plot details to get us what we really want.
A Great Chase!
This time it’s on a careening motorcycle through narrow cobbled streets in Athens, with Bourne (Matt Damon back in the saddle) and his old Treadstone buddy Nicky Parsons(Julia Stiles) strapped in behind him. And it’s all in the middle of pure chaos, a great churning incendiary mob/riot in Athens’s Syntagma Square. And of course, such a chase wouldn’t be complete without a few motorized bumpy treks down cascades of concrete stairways.
And then there’s “…a smash-em-up car chase down the Las Vegas Strip that would make even the “Fast and Furious” gang stop and gawk.” –Adam Graham
And like the great stunt work of Fast and Furious most of this is the real thing, not the “pixiated muddle” (Peter Travers) we’ve come to expect in summer twaddle.
How far we have come from Steve McQueen’s first 1968 car chase in Bullitt that awed us back then. Or Gene Hackman’s crazy chase through New York as Popeye Doyle pursues his French Connection!
Some are critical of the plot:
“Before we had Treadstone; now we have re-Treadstone.” –Christopher Orr
But I see that plot as a hanger ready for new contemporary clothes, like the current battle between public safety and personal privacy we see waged on a daily basis now. We have a “hacktavist,” a great word I cannot take credit for, incidentally, in the person of Christian Dassault ( Vinzenz Kiefer), for whom Nicky now freelances. A kind of Edward Snowden/ Julian Assange hybrid we may love or hate. Bourne sees him as a source of the latter, someone who has used Nicky in a way not that different from the CIA she came to despise.
Another part of that contemporary privacy battle involves Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) the CEO of a social media enterprise that has been secretly funded by the CIA, which plans to use it for real time mass surveillance. “Person of Interest” alive on the big screen and in our real lives, too, we ask? Mark Zuckerberg, are you bought, too?
Adding a little more zip to the thrills is Tommy Lee Jones as the new CIA director Robert Dewey, wearing his cragged face as an emblem of his malevolent nihilism. The Texas drawl only makes it more malicious.
His hired assassin, known only as the Asset, is played by Vincent Cassel, another craggy face, but this one lean and hungry, and out for revenge after being captured and tortured following the Blackbriar leak Bourne facilitated. He is as professional as Bourne and a worthy adversary, as relentless as the August sun. But it is anything but light that he emits.
Rounding out the leads is Oscar winner is Alicia Vikander, who first arrested our attention in 2015’s Ex Machina, playing an artificially intelligent android who is not the young innocent she seems to be. There is some of that same duplicity in Vikander’s role as Heather Lee, the head of the CIA Cyber Ops Division. Do her smooth face and direct gaze mask an ambition every bit as dangerous as that of her rough-visaged boss, Robert Dewey?
It’s well worth a trip to a nice air-conditioned cinema to find out.
Like all the globetrotting Bourne flicks, this one moves through the foreign terrain in a blur of charging motorcycles, cars, and fiery explosions. Of course, there is never any time to slow down and eat a good, home-cooked meal.
But if Bourne, and his old Treadstone buddy Nicky had the time, they would have really enjoyed this great Greek pasta dish. And it is delicious cold, too. Just the right prepare-ahead-of-time meal for these sizzling August days.
Greek Chicken Pasta
"This pasta dish incorporates some of the flavors of Greece. It makes a wonderfully complete and satisfying meal. For extra flavor, toss in a few kalamata olives. Use whatever pasta you have or prefer." – Lalena
(16 ounce) package linguine pasta
1/2 cup chopped red obion
1 tablesopoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (14 ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained abd chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsely
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
2 lemons, wedged, for garnish
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling wter until tender yet firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes; drain.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over mediun=high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until chekcen is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low; add artichoke hearts, tomato, feta cheese, parsley, lemon juice, oregano, and cooked pasta. Cook and stir until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with lemon wedges.