Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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The Bourne Identity

A new action hero is Bourne

I was a bit anxious to see this movie, as I had thoroughly¬†enjoyed the book of the same name a long time ago, and I was¬†hoping the movie would give me the same satisfaction. The Bourne¬†Identity stars Matt Damon as rogue CIA agent/amnesiac Jason¬†Bourne. In his quest to uncover his own identity, Jason travels¬†all around Europe pursued by the CIA’s agents and dragging along¬†an innocent gypsy girl who just happened to be his best shot for¬†a ride to Paris.

Now, I haven’t read the book in ages, so I can’t say for sure how¬†faithfully the story translates to the movie (although as I¬†recall there was a lot more traipsing across Europe — I may be¬†wrong though) so I have to judge the movie on its own¬†merits.

On its own merits, the movie falls short of my expectations.¬†Mainly because I was expecting some fast-paced action, but most¬†of the time it’s just Jason and Marie running and hiding from the¬†CIA. It’s more of an action/thriller than a straight action flick¬†— Jason spends a lot of time trying to uncover the conspiracy¬†behind his pursuers. However, it doesn’t seem to pull off either¬†the thriller part or the action part very well. The thriller part¬†doesn’t fly because we know what’s going on well before Jason¬†does — the movie shows us what’s going on at CIA HQ, how his¬†boss travels to Paris to mete him, et cetera. The action part¬†doesn’t fly because the thriller parts get in the way. DOn’t get¬†me wrong, there are some cool action stunts here — Jason riding¬†a free-falling body down the center of a spiral stairway to gun¬†down one of the CIA agents — but they are few and far between.¬†Also, the director seems to enjoy some sort of shaky, jarring¬†camera work — not really a problem but occasionally

annoying.

Overall: Good enough, I suppose. The director is no Robert Ludlum

but the story is told well enough.


Austin Powers in Goldmember

Do I make you horny baby?

Another Austin Powers movie? Well I knew what to expect —¬†more of the same. I got what I expected, but that isn’t really a¬†bad thing. As usual with Austin Powers movies, some parts tend to¬†drag on, while some parts are simply “laugh-out-loud” funny. This¬†time, Dr. Evil enlists the aid of 70’s criminal mastermind¬†Goldmember in a nefarious plot to extort money from the world¬†leaders (as if you didn’t know.) Austin himself gets some help¬†(aside from the requisite Powers girl Beyonce Knowles as Foxy¬†Cleopatra) — from none other than his dear old dad, legendary¬†secret agent Nigel Powers (played by Michael Caine) This one has¬†a bit more story than the first two — you get to find out more¬†about Austin and Dr. Evil’s history, and some strange plot twists¬†ensue. Expect the return of such characters as MiniMe, Fat¬†Bastard and Dr. Evil’s wayward son Scott. Also a new character on¬†the side of British Intelligence is played by Wonder Years star¬†Fred Savage

The funniest parts are mostly during the opening sequence and¬†towards the end. Expect more gross, insensitive and blatantly¬†offensive humor, more naked bodies, more Fat Bastard crapping,¬†more silhouette jokes, more making fun of MiniMe, hollywood¬†cameos, movie spoofs and the like. This time however, things¬†don’t stay the same. Some changes in the status quo happen¬†towards the end and this will obviously not be the last Austin¬†Powers movie.

Overall: I liked the second one better, but this one’s good too.¬†As is the case with Austin Powers movies, it’s not for the easily¬†offended.


Signs

Crop circles? This isn’t the X-files¬†is it?

Of the three movies I saw this week, “Signs” was the one I was¬†looking forward to the least. The trailer didn’t really give me a¬†good impression — looked like some cheap X-Files ripoff with Mel¬†Gibson as Fox Mulder. As it usually happens, turns out I was¬†wrong about the whole thing – “Signs” is one helluva good¬†movie.

Let’s get it out first: “Signs” is about an alien invasion. We’re¬†talking spaceships and green men. However, unlike movies like¬†Independence Day which tell the story of how the world comes¬†together to defeat an alien menace, “Signs” tells the story of¬†how a family comes together to survive fear, paranoia and green¬†men knocking on their door. All of the Independence Day stuff¬†happens, but never at the forefront of the story — the giant¬†spaceships are there, somewhere in the background, shown on

TV.

The story is about a farmer and his family in a small rural town.¬†Overnight, mysterious crop circles appear in his fields. Later¬†on, more signs appear — prowlers around their house, strange¬†radio noises. As a former minister, Mel Gibson faces what he¬†fears the most — the idea that there is no God, and that he and¬†his family are left to fend for themselves against whatever¬†threat is there lurking in the shadows.

The movie is extremely well-written, with all the characters playing their parts well, and all the elements coming together towards the end to make a whole lot of sense.

Overall: Go see it. Now. Unless you’re like my kid brother who¬†would probably get nightmares just thinking about an alien¬†invasion.

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Roy Tang is a:

roytang.net is a personal site, an E/N site, and kind of a commonplace book; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.