REVIEW: SHANGHAI

Starring

John Cusack (The Butler)
Li Gong (Hannibal Rising)
Chow Yun-Fat (Curse of the Golden Flower)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen)
Ken Watanabe (Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim)
David Morse (16 Blocks)
Franka Potente (The Bourne Identity)
Hugh Bonneville (Paddington)
Andy On (Blackhat)
Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel)
Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)

Yun-Fat Chow in Shanghai (2010)In December 1941, just before the entry of the United States into World War II, an American agent from the Naval Intelligence Office (Cusack) arrives in Shanghai to find his friend Conner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was recently murdered. Determined to find out who killed Conner and why, he begins working at the Herald using the alias Paul Soames, a Nazi-sympathizer cover he used while stationed in Berlin. He meets Anthony Lan-Ting (Chow Yun-Fat) an influential crime lord and Captain Tanaka (Ken Watanabe) at the German embassy in Shanghai, during an invitation-only event. He later befriends Anthony when he saves him during an attack on Japanese officers by the Chinese Resistance at a night club.Li Gong and John Cusack in Shanghai (2010)Paul realizes that it was Anthony’s wife, Anna (Gong Li) who actually organized the attack and is the leader of the resistance. He then decides to help her pass on messages. After finally meeting up with Conner’s contact in the Japanese Consulate, Paul finds out that Conner had an affair with a Japanese girl named Sumiko (Rinko Kikuchi) and after searching her place, Paul uncovers numerous photos, which Conner took, in a darkroom nearby. Some of the photos include Captain Tanaka, other Japanese officers and the aircraft carrier Kaga.Shanghai (2010)Unconvinced that Sumiko betrayed Conner, he determines to find the girl and get the answers he seeks. After a few more encounters with Anna, Anthony, Captain Tanaka, and investigating at an opium house, Paul realizes that Sumiko was Captain Tanaka’s lover and was seduced by Conner to spy for him. Paul’s cover is blown when Conner’s contact is arrested, and Paul gets interrogated by Captain Tanaka regarding the whereabouts of Sumiko, whose location he does not know. After being released, Anna takes Paul to a safe house where she has been hiding Sumiko, who is on the verge of death due to withdrawal from opium and possibly other illnesses.Shanghai (2010)Outside, Anthony Lan-Ting arrives with Captain Tanaka who he gave away the location of the safe house. It was the only way for him to save Anna from arrest. Inside the safe house, Tanaka informs Paul that the Japanese fleet started attacking Pearl Harbor one hour earlier and that the invasion of Shanghai is also underway. Tanaka admits to killing Conner, but only out of jealousy as he found out about Conner and Sumiko. A visibly distraught Tanaka asks for Paul’s help in administering drugs to ease Sumiko’s death. After Sumiko dies, everyone gets ready to leave, but Tanaka wants to question Anna which infuriates Anthony. He then guns down Tanaka’s bodyguards and seriously wounds Tanaka himself. Before he can kill Tanaka, Anthony is fatally wounded by a dying bodyguard.Shanghai (2010)Leaving behind a wounded Tanaka, Paul drives the Lan-Tings away through the burning streets of Shanghai and with his last words, Anthony asks Paul to take Anna out of Shanghai, which he successfully does. Before getting on the ship, Paul and Anna encounter Tanaka once again, but Tanaka decides not to acknowledge them, perhaps because Paul helped him at Sumiko’s deathbed and spared his life after being shot. It is revealed later that both Paul and Anna, at some point, returned to Shanghai.Shanghai (2010)This is an enjoyable movie, and it captures that sense of mystery, mistrust, betrayal and fear that you experience during an espionage/war film. Though this isn’t essentially a war film in that it’s main focus is about blowing up people etc, it is about the struggle of invasion and the effects of it. .

REVIEW: THE BOURNE SUPREMACY

CAST
Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting)
Franka Potente (Blow)
Karl Urban (Red)
Julia Stiles (A Guy Thing)
Brian Cox (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Gabriel Mann (Josie and The Pussycats)
Joan Allen (Manhunter)
Marton Csokas (Alice In Wonderland)
Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible III)
Karel Roden (Hellboy)
Chris Cooper (American Beauty)
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Two years after the events of the first film, Jason Bourne and Marie Kreutz are now in Goa, India. Still experiencing flashbacks about his former life as a CIA assassin, he records them in a notebook. In Berlin, CIA agents subordinate to Deputy Director Pamela Landy are paying US$3 million for the “Neski files”, documents on the theft of $20 million in allocation money seven years prior. Kirill, an agent for Russia’s Federal Security Service, plants Bourne’s fingerprint to frame him, kills the agents, and steals the files and money for delivery to Russian oil oligarch Yuri Gretkov. Kirill travels to Goa to kill Bourne, but Bourne spots him and flees with Marie. As the couple drive away, Kirill attempts to shoot Bourne, but kills Marie by mistake. Their vehicle goes off a bridge and into a river; Kirill assumes that Bourne is dead.Matt Damon and Julia Stiles in The Bourne Supremacy (2004)Bourne survives and leaves for Naples, Italy, with money and passports. After finding the fingerprint Kirill planted, Landy learns that it belongs to Bourne and subsequently asks Deputy Director Ward Abbott about Operation Treadstone, the defunct CIA program to which Bourne belonged. Landy tells Abbott that the CIA agent who stole the $20 million was named in the Neski files. Some years previously, Russian politician Vladimir Neski was about to identify the thief when he was supposedly murdered by his wife in a Berlin hotel. Landy believes that Bourne and Treadstone’s late supervisor, Alexander Conklin, were somehow involved. She also believes that Bourne killed her two agents. Both Abbott and Landy go to Berlin to capture Bourne.

In Naples, Bourne allows himself to be identified by security. He subdues his CIA interrogator, copies the SIM card from his cell phone, and learns from a subsequent phone call about Landy and what she thinks Bourne did. Bourne goes to Munich to visit the only other remaining Treadstone operative, Jarda, who informs Bourne that Treadstone was shut down after Conklin’s death. Jarda tries to incapacitate Bourne before an incoming CIA team arrives, but Bourne kills him, blows up his house, and escapes. Bourne follows Landy and Abbott as they meet former Treadstone support technician Nicky Parsons to question her about her past experience with him. Believing that the CIA is hunting him again, Bourne calls Landy from a nearby roof and is told that he is being pursued because he killed two people in Berlin. He demands a meet-up with Nicky and indicates to Landy that he can see her in the office, shocking the entire CIA team.
Matt Damon and Franka Potente in The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Bourne kidnaps Nicky at the Alexanderplatz, and learns from her that Abbott was the head of Treadstone, not Conklin. He remembers that he murdered Neski in Berlin, but Nicky knows nothing about it, so he lets her go. Bourne then visits the hotel where the killing took place and remembers more of his mission—he killed Neski on Conklin’s orders, and when Neski’s wife showed up, he shot her to make it look like a murder–suicide. Abbott kills Danny Zorn (Conklin’s assistant) when he suspects a conspiracy against Bourne; he (Bourne) breaks into Abbott’s hotel room and records a conversation between him and Gretkov that incriminates them in the theft of the money. Abbott confesses to ordering the assassination in Goa, Neski’s murder by Bourne, and the murder of the agents by Kirill, for which Bourne was to be framed. When Landy suspects Bourne’s innocence and confronts Abbott, he commits suicide by shooting himself in the head. Bourne sends the tape of the confession to Landy, vindicating himself.
Bourne goes to Moscow to find Irena Neski, the daughter of Vladimir Neski. Kirill, tasked once again by Gretkov with killing Bourne, finds him and shoots him in the shoulder from a distance. Bourne steals a taxi and Kirill chases him. A long high-speed chase also involving many police cars ends after Bourne forces Kirill’s vehicle into a concrete divider. After finding that Kirill is mortally wounded, he lowers his gun and walks away. Bourne locates Irena Neski and confesses to murdering her parents. Gretkov is arrested.
Some time later, in New York City, Landy receives a phone call from Bourne; she expresses her thanks for the tape of Abbott’s confession before telling Bourne that his real name is David Webb and he was born 4/15/71 in Nixa, Missouri. Bourne then says “Get some rest Pam, you look tired”, indicating once again that he can see her, before hanging up and fading into a New York crowd.
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This really is an excellent spy thriller, with plenty of high quality car chases and escapes included too. The storyline is believeable within the context of the world of global espionage,, the film moves at a great pace and nicley sets up the third installment, The Bourne Ulitimatum.

 

REVIEW: THE BOURNE IDENTITY

CAST

Matt Damon (Oceans Eleven)
Franka Potente (Creep)
Chris Cooper (The Muppets)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Brian Cox (Manhunter)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost)
Gabriel Mann (Josie and The Pussycats)
Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Joy)
Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight)
Josh Hamilton (Dark Skies)
In the Mediterranean Sea, Italian fishermen rescue an unconscious American man (Matt Damon) floating adrift with two gunshot wounds in his back. They tend to his wounds, and when the man wakes, they find he suffers from dissociative amnesia: he has no idea of his identity but is aware of advanced combat skills and fluent in several languages. The skipper finds a tiny laser projector under the man’s skin that, when activated, gives a number of a safe deposit box in Zürich. Upon landing, the man heads to investigate the box. Arriving at the bank, the man finds the box contains a large sum of money in various currencies, numerous passports and identity cards, and a handgun; the man takes everything but the gun, and leaves, opting to use the name on the American passport, Jason Bourne.
A bank employee contacts Operation Treadstone, a CIA black operation program after Bourne’s departure. Treadstone’s head, Alexander Conklin (Chris Cooper), contacts CIA Deputy Director Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) about the reappearance of Bourne. Abbott warns that Bourne, a CIA agent, had been assigned to silently assassinate exiled African dictator Nykwana Wombosi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), but the attempt failed, and Bourne must be dealt with. Conklin activates three agents to take down Bourne: Castel (Nicky Naude), Manheim (Russell Levy), and the Professor (Clive Owen), while also issuing alerts to local police to capture Bourne.
Bourne attempts to get more information from the U.S. consulate, but he is discovered by guards. He evades capture, leaves the embassy, and gives a German woman, Marie Helena Kreutz (Franka Potente), $20,000 to drive him to an address in Paris listed on his French driving license. At the address, an apartment, he hits redial on the phone and reaches a hotel. He inquires about the names on his passports there, learning that a “John Michael Kane” had been registered but died two weeks prior in a car accident. Castel ambushes them in the apartment, but Bourne gets the upper hand. Instead of allowing himself to be interrogated, Castel throws himself out a window to his death. Kreutz finds wanted posters of Bourne and herself, and agrees to continue to help Bourne.
Meanwhile, Wombosi approaches the police about the attempt on his life. Conklin, having anticipated this, had planted a body in the Paris morgue to appear as the assailant, but Wombosi is not fooled and threatens to report this. The Professor assassinates Wombosi on Conklin’s orders. Bourne, posing as Kane, learns about Wombosi’s yacht, and that the assailant had been shot twice during the escape; Bourne now considers himself to have been the assailant. He and Kreutz take refuge at the French countryside home of her ex-lover Eamon (Tim Dutton) and his children. Conklin tracks their position and sends the Professor there, but Bourne is able to mortally wound him. The Professor reveals their shared connection to Treadstone before dying. He sends Kreutz, Eamon and his children away for their protection, and then contacts Conklin via the Professor’s phone to arrange a meet. From a rooftop near the arranged location in Paris, Bourne sees Conklin has brought backup, so abandons the meeting but uses the opportunity to place a tracking device on his car, leading him to the Treadstone’s safe house.
Bourne breaks in and holds Conklin and logistics technician Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons (Julia Stiles) at gunpoint. Bourne starts to fully recall the assassination attempt through successive flashbacks. As Kane, and working under orders from Treadstone, Bourne infiltrated Wombosi’s yacht but could not bring himself to kill Wombosi while Wombosi’s children were present, and instead fled, being shot at during his escape. Bourne announces he is resigning from Treadstone and not to be followed. As agents descend on the safehouse, Bourne fights his way free. Meanwhile, when Conklin goes to leave the safe house, he is killed by Manheim, who was ordered to terminate Treadstone by Abbott.
Abbott reports on the dismissal of Treadstone before an oversight committee but announces a new project codenamed “Blackbriar”. Some time later, Bourne finds Kreutz renting out scooters to tourists on Mykonos, and the two reunite.
This edition is the best one to have.  Well acted, well scripted, and filmed at real European locations make this movie really enjoyable