Todd Alcott
03 April 2007 @ 12:04 am

Jonathan Hemlock is a government assassin -- with a taste for murder.

I'm sorry, that didn't actually mean anything.  Let me start again.

Jonathan Hemlock is a government assassin.  He's retired, but wouldn't you know it, his super-secret agency needs him for one last job.  He tells them, on no uncertain terms, that he's out of the game, but his Pure Albino boss Dragon (How do we know he's a "Pure Albino?" why, he obligingly tells us so when we meet him -- "Dr. Hemlock, did you know I'm a Pure Albino?" he says, coiled up in his dark, climate-controlled lair, licking his lips from the sheer perversity of it all, looking for all the world like Jabba the Hutt's sickly little brother) --

I'm sorry, where was I?  Oh yes, Dragon lures Hemlock (these names, I swear, and we haven't even gotten to Pope, Jemima or Miss Cerberus yet) --

Anyway, Dragon pressures Hemlock into pulling one last -- no, wait -- two last jobs for the agency.  (Christ, this is turning into the "Spanish Inquisition" sketch.)  Which agency?  Oh, you know, the super-secret US spy agency that crops up all over the place in 1970s spy thrillers -- Three Days of the Condor, Marathon Man, etc., the super-secret spy agency that was known only by its members and all Hollywood screenwriters. 

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Todd Alcott

Two amnesiac assassins. One pose.  Only one can win.

There is a little-known, dimly-lit recess in the bowels of the CIA where they train super-powered, tougher-than-nails assassins to be ruthless, heartless, inventive, brutally efficient and impervious to pain.  There's only one problem: if you drop one in cold water, he or she will invariably get amnesia.

That is the premise of both The Long Kiss Goodnight and The Bourne Identity.  One of these movies is a taut, thrilling masterpiece of its genre and the other is a silly, flip, extravagant eruption of action-movie weirdness.  I'll let you figure out which is which.

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