Ranking the BOURNE villains – from worst to best

Ted_reviewRankingBourneVillains

Every hero requires a villain and the Jason Bourne franchise has plenty of villains to root against. I do want to see him go up against other groups of villains though, as opposed to just CIA bigwigs and their hired assassins. Maybe for the next sequel, Bourne could take down some other group of baddies. In the meantime, here’s my list of worst to best villains of the franchise so far. Please note I’m excluding The Bourne Legacy without Matt Damon in the lead because that’s a crappy film and I don’t count it as part of the Bourne franchise.

Naturally this post contains spoilers so proceed with caution if you haven’t seen any of the Bourne films yet.

4. The Bourne Supremacy – Ward Abbot, Gretkov and Kirill

Even though it’s my favorite film of the franchise, I thought the villains were pretty weak. Abbot (Brian Cox) was just a greedy weasel who tried to cover up his mess when the shit hit the storm. Gretkov is a typical powerful businessman whose only goal was to get super rich and killed anyone who got in his way. I like Karl Urban’s assassin character here but he didn’t have much to do. He’s just another hired gun and nothing else. I would’ve loved to see more development of his character and maybe that epic climatic car chase between him and Bourne would’ve been even sweeter.

3. The Bourne Ultimatum – Noah Vosen, Ezra Kramer and Paz

I like David Strathairn as an actor but somehow I thought he’s sort of miscast here as the lead villain in this third Bourne film. Vosen is basically a Yes Man type of character whose main goal was to keep his boss out of trouble. To me he’s not menacing enough to be the lead villain in a spy film. Now the true villain in the film was actually Scott Glenn’s character but we saw so little of him that he became non-existent. Edgar Ramirez’s Paz was just another hired gun whose mission is to kill Bourne.

Strathairn_BourneUltimatum

2. Jason Bourne – Robert Dewey and Asset

In the newest Boune film, these two villains were given more to do than just trying to take down Bourne. Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) is an old school type of person and he truly believes what he’s doing is to keep the US safe from terror. He’s cunning and very manipulative and of course dangerous if you decide to cross him.

Cassel_JasonBourne

Vincent Cassel’s assassin character was given some motivation as to why he wanted to kill Bourne and I thought it worked pretty well. He’s not just another hired gun who wants Bourne dead; he got his own agenda and won’t listen to reasons until Bourne is gone. For those who’ve seen the film, you’re probably why I didn’t mention Heather Lee. Well I’m not sure if she’s truly a villainous person or someone who still wants to use Bourne to climb the CIA power ladder. I think of her as the younger version of Pamela Landy.

1. The Bourne Identity – Conklin and The Professor

Chris Cooper’s villainous turn in the first film is still my favorite. He’s got as much screen time as Bourne and also has some juiciest and fun scenes. My favorite scene is when he found out the French police has screwed up and alarmed Bourne and then Bourne was able to get away, again. He’s started screaming in the CIA operation room and everyone was silent and scared shitless. I think most of us have been in that situation when your boss loses his cool and you don’t know what to say. His confrontation scene with Bourne near the end was another one I really enjoy, I thought Cooper totally outshine Damon in that scene.

Clive Owen’s The Professor wasn’t on the screen that much but his mysterious character somehow made more impact than other assassins in the franchise. His scene with Bourne before his death (shown above) is still my favorite; it’s quite and kind of chilling as to what these assassin has to go through in their daily lives.

TedS_post


Ruth’s Take

I agree with Ted’s list though I probably would switch #3 and #4 because I think Brian Cox and Karl Urban are far more interesting than the David Strathairn/Edgar Ramirez pairing. In fact I barely remember Ramirez whilst all the chase scenes with Urban is extremely memorable.

Owen_BourneIdentity
“I always work alone.”

I totally agree with Ted’s number 1 pick, and that chilling final scene between Damon and Owen is one of my favorites of the entire franchise. Owen displays such a compelling vulnerability as an assassin that made the character human instead of just another cold killing machine.


So what do you think of this list? How would YOU rank the Bourne villains?

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Scene[s] Spotlight: Five awesome car chases in contemporary movies

Happy Tuesday folks! This past weekend ended up being chock-full of car chases for me with Fast Five and Ronin, both of ’em have long and spectacular car chases that made me stand up and cheer! Now, I’m actually a pretty good driver myself. Yes I tend to go fast in highways, but I rarely go above 10 MPH over the speed limit 😉 I don’t have patience for s-l-o-w or distracted drivers, those who have no clue they’re causing bottlenecks on the FAST lane as they’re too busy talking on the phone to pay attention to the surrounding!!

Man, I wish at times I had the kind of car that has the throttle like the Dom’s Dodge Charger in Fast Five! But then again, it’s not just the car, it’s the driver! Just look at what Bourne could do w/ a Russian taxi. Don’t let the rinky-dink look fool ya, that Russian-made Volga 3110 is practically indestructible!!

RussianTaxi_BourneSupremacy

It’s always an adrenaline-pumping ride to watch a deftly-filmed car chase, though of course if it’s not handled well it could actually be headache-inducing! So just for fun, I’d just post the five favorite car chases I enjoyed from contemporary cinema. I deliberately left off classic films here but if I were to include ’em, certainly the one in Bullit and The French Connection would make my list. I also try to just focus on CAR chases here, so no Truck/Chopper/Boat scenes or I’d include the Truck Chase scenes from The Dark Knight, Terminator 2 and License To Kill. I could watch these scenes over and over and was certainly the highlight of the respective movies they’re in:

*Naturally, if you haven’t seen any of these and don’t want to be spoiled, then don’t read/watch these clips*

Bourne Supremacy

When people talk about a great car chase, I always think of this one. Yes there’s another car chase in Bourne Identity w/ the mini cooper, but I always prefer this one for the reason I’ve mentioned above. It’s incredible what Bourne could do w/ a rickety car like this, he’d probably make an Aston Martin fly, ahah. I love Karl Urban too, as Kiril, too bad it doesn’t end well for him here 😦

Fast Five

Granted I’ve only seen two movies from this franchise, but I’d think this would rank pretty highly on the list if someone were to list ALL the car chases from all six of them. I mean, this isn’t just a car chase, this is a car chase with a steel VAULT chained to two cars as they sped away through the streets of Rio. As if that’s not preposterously spectacular enough, Dom proceeds to unchain Brian’s car and use the vault like wrecking ball of sort to take out a bunch of cars in his pursuit! It has to be seen to be believed folks!

For Your Eyes Only

Ok there are sooo many car chases in Bond films, why pick THIS one? Well, I love this in particular because it’s not the typical glamorous car chases where Bond’s got a super-charged and well-equipped Aston Martin or Lotus, but instead, Bond has to settle for his leading lady’s (the beautiful Carole Bouquet) beat-up yellow Citroën, but he managed to still out-maneuver all those thugs in far better automobiles. The score by Bill Conti is just perfect here, it adds to the sense of whimsy of the riotous scene. Plus you’ve got Roger Moore’s signature one liners to liven-up the already-fun moment “Love driving in the country, don’t you?” 😀

RONIN

I think I saw this car chase a long while before I actually saw the movie. But now that I watched it in context, it’s actually more awesome! The narrow European streets always make for a perfect setting for a car chase, it’s wonderfully-scenic AND bad ass! The scenes on the highways as the two cars are speeding against traffic just get your blood pumping. Of course the absolute absurdity is complete when one car flies off the road, flips over several times AND the people inside survived without a scratch!!

The Transporter

I actually never bother to see the sequels to this movie, but this first one is one of my favorite action flicks. It’s the only movie I actually like Jason Statham in, seems like it goes downhill as he becomes more famous. The car chase reminds me of the BMW short films that Clive Owen was in, it just exudes so much coolness as the driver is unruffled by all the carnage and destruction in his path. I have to include this scene simply for the part where the car somehow leap off a bridge and land perfectly on top of a moving car-transport caravan! There just so happen there’s an empty spot on top of the caravan to fit his BMW!! rolleyes Sorry I could only find the German-dubbed version of this clip, but really, the action speaks loud & clear in a universal language.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • The Mini Cooper car chase through the tunnel in The Italian Job (2003)
  • The Dodge Viper SRT-10 chase in Wanted with Angelina Jolie behind the wheel (and on top of the hood shooting at people!)

Ok, so this is just a sampling of great car chases in contemporary cinema. Obviously there are some I missed out on, so tell us YOUR favorite car chases from the 80s through today.

Weekend Viewing Roundup

Hello folks, I’m assuming it’s a short week for most of you? For sure I won’t miss this 3-4 day work-week like this come January when the hustle and bustle returns at the office.

Well, The Dark Knight Rises trailer pretty much sidelined this post, but I still want to give y’all a rundown of the movies I saw this week. I’ve been averaging about 4-5 movies a week since my Gregory Peck marathon started and I’m still having a blast watching his movies!

I’ve posted my Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol review so here are my mini reviews of the others:

Twelve O’Clock High (1949) 

I actually saw this the week before but forgot to include it in my roundup post

Peck played a tough-as-nails general who takes over a bomber pilot unit suffering from low morale and whips them into fighting shape. Those who think Peck as the romantic Joe Bradley or calm-as-a-cucumber Atticus Finch will see a whole different side of him here, he lends credibility to Brig. Gen Frank Savage who’s based on a real life General Frank Armstrong, and the fact that he looks ruggedly handsome in those bomber jacket is a major plus 😀
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His performance was nominated for an Oscar (his fourth in five years) and I wish he had won. His transformation from the stern, uncompromising leader to the moment of his breakdown at the end is compelling to watch… it’s a controlled performance Peck is known for, and the supporting cast is great as well, especially Dean Jagger and Hugh Marlowe.  There’s not a heck of a lot of air battle scenes despite the title but the ones that appear in this film were actually  photographed in actual combat by members of the United States Air Force and the German Luftwaffe, as stated in the opening. No wonder Savage’s leadership style is used as an example in US Navy and Air Force schools, as well as leadership training in civilian non-military seminars. Even though I’m not generally a fan of war films, I really enjoyed this one as it’s more character-driven and focused more on the psyche of the troops.

The Valley of Decision (1945)


Ok, back to the sweet & romantic Gregory in this one set in 19th Century Pittsburgh. Oh man, talk about a fairy tale, forget Cinderella, I want to be Mary Rafferty!! Get this, she came from a poor family of steel mill worker, when she goes to work as a maid for the wealthy Scott family, the eldest (and of course the most gorgeous) son Paul Scott falls for her. 29-year-old Peck turns on the charm big time, in only his third film, he displayed such magnetic presence on screen. His romantic scenes with Greer Garson just made me melt, and it’s really impossible for you not to root for these two to be together.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen Garson (never even heard of her!) but she comes across very likable, I might check out her other films after this. She reminds me a bit of Lucille Ball with curly her hairstyle and giant eyes, and she had a nice chemistry with Peck. I confess that even if the story is terrible, it’s still well worth buying this DVD just to stare at Gregory, ahah, but fortunately I find the story really engaging. Paul & Mary’s romance is complicated by the bitter strike among the mill workers, and a tragic incident involving both their families. Lionel Barrymore co-starred with Peck again here as Mary’s father, but his character is pretty much a variation of Mr. Potter. In any case, this one now stands as one of my top 10 favorite Gregory Peck movie now. Boy, it’ll be tough to make that list as he’s got so many great classics.

Bourne Supremacy (2004)

The second installment is perhaps my favorite of the Bourne franchise. Yes perhaps the presence of the über hunky New Zealander Karl Urban as the baddie Kirill has something to do with it, but I think the film is just more enjoyable than the first. We’ve got British director Paul Greengrass at the helm this time and the movie starts off with a dynamic chase scene almost right away. Damon confidently reprises the title role, growing more weary and exasperated by the relentless pursuits of the CIA. Of course he always managed to get one step ahead of them every single time.

Urban as Kirill

Bourne is on the run once again, this time flying solo across Goa India, Berlin, and Moscow. Hot on his trail is the CIA led by Deputy Director Pamela Landy (the always excellent Joan Allen) who’s immediately suspicious that Ward Abbott (equally compelling Brian Cox) knew more about the ‘Neski files’ case than he let on. The battle of wills between these two are great to watch and once again this film benefits from a great combo of gripping action and tight script, woven together nicely by Greengrass’ dynamic directing style. It’s also nice to see Julia Stiles’ getting more screen time this time around also. Both she and Allen are such underrated actresses.

Btw, my favorite action sequence is this killer car chase scene in Moscow, with Bourne driving with only one arm after Kirill shot him. Oh man, it’s downright gripping and it stands as one of my favorite movie car chases of all time!

Helvetica documentary (2007)

A documentary about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture.

As graphic designers naturally the subject matter appeals to us and we both love typography. This documentary focuses on evolution of the ubiquitous type formerly called Neue Haas Grotesk, it’s developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann. You may not know what type face that is but you sure are surrounded by it, everywhere you look you’ll likely to find a Helvetica type face being used, whether in an ad or in a street sign. The doc also shows the origin of this type face and feature various interviews with type designers from mostly Europe and the US.

The history stuff is quite insightful and captivating, but I think the execution falls a bit flat for me. I was bored a lot of the time watching this 80-min doc, which is a shame as it could have been handled in a more dynamic way. Still, it’s worth a watch and I’d still give a similar documentary on product design called Objectified a shot, it’s also directed by Gary Huswit.


Well, that’s my weekend roundup, any thoughts on any of them? Feel free to share about the movies you saw this weekend.