Look, Matt Damon seems a nice enough guy on TV chat shows and what not, but I can't say that I have ever been completely convinced that he is that good an actor, and I don't care much for the type of material he seems to chose.
It was for that reason that I never went out of my way to see any of the Bourne movies, but they were on free to air TV here recently, and my original decision was retrospectively justified. Sadly, Bourne is set to return, with Damon and (for me) the largely unwatchable Greengrass.
Honestly, how were these movies so popular? Let's go through some that I saw:
Bourne Identity: Geez, just how much amnesia do you have to suffer to go into a Swiss bank, find your security box with a hoard of cash, a half dozen fake passports (and a gun? I forget) and still not realise what kind of work you must be in? He goes back to the girl and asks "what sort of man has all this stuff?", or something like that. The audience, having seen spy movies over the last 60 years, has a good idea; it seems to be pushing things to suggest that our hero cannot come to a similar conclusion.
What's more, he then goes back to the Paris apartment one of his identities lived in (and, oh yeah, everyone who drives into Paris ends up parking in the morning on the embankment over the Seine with Notre Dame in the background) and makes a phone call from there. Leading, of course, to killers turning up pronto. Again, just how dumb does Bourne have to be?
Pushing credibility just too far, if you ask me, even allowing for its genre. I was underwhelmed.
Bourne Supremacy: I remember David Stratton, I think, saying that he found Paul Greengrass' intense use of "shaky cam" throughout this film made him (literally) sick, and I simply couldn't watch much of it on a big screen TV for the same reason. Honestly, my TV has never made me feel queasy before.
And the rapid fire editing that is part of Greengrass' style - man, I thought Quantum of Solace was the height of that*, but no, this should be like a masterclass in how not to attempt to create fake excitement by not letting the audience see anything for more than 1 to 1.5 seconds, tops. It's a really awful technique. The movie is literally unwatchable.
OK, missed Bourne Ultimatum.
Bourne Legacy: a sort of spinoff/reboot with a different actor. Strangely, he's also one who I would not associate with muscle action heroics. Look, I wasn't watching as closely as I could, and maybe that's why I never really understood what was going on with the blue pills and why our hero was suddenly a rogue who had to be killed. Wolves, drones, guns and lots and lots and lots of chasing through the streets of Manila. As I have never seen much of Manila before, I did watch that sequence closely, and given that it went on for a good 25 minutes or so, I now feel I have seen much more of that city than I ever really needed to see.
Maybe the next in this off shoot (is there going to be one?) will make me understand what was going on.
* (I know he didn't direct it - but did they share the same editor?)