It’s hard to say which was more exciting, Jason Bourne’s car piggy-backing a SWAT van and crashing into the Riviera casino, or the Super Bowl trailer featuring Las Vegas footage and the name of the latest installment of the Bourne franchise (wait for it), “Jason Bourne.”
At the moment, we’re still reeling from the Riviera stunt, so we’ll just go with that. Major spoilers ahead, by the way!
Bourne’s Charger and a SWAT van get busy. Hey, it’s Vegas.
After weeks of “Jason Bourne” sightings on the Las Vegas Strip, the big day of the Riviera stunt finally arrived on Feb. 5, 2016.
There were a couple of clues Bourne was coming to The Riv. First, the Riv’s facade was lit up. Also, a special awning appeared overnight leading up to the stunt.
The Riviera name won’t be seen in the film. The Riv’s fictional name will be the Empire Casino.
As this blog has documented, perhaps a tad too obsessively, the Riviera was the climax of a high-speed car chase that began at Aria.
The awning after dark.
During the chase, Bourne’s car takes a ramp at Bally’s and ends up on the roof of a SWAT van with the movie’s villain, played by Vincent Cassel (“Oceans 12”), inside.
Here’s the jump at Bally’s.
Through a bit of movie magic, the sequence cuts to the Riviera, despite the hotels being a mile and a half away from each other.
Fans were treated to a spectacular stunt where Bourne’s car is ripped from the roof of the SWAT van while the SWAT vehicle barrels through the doors of the Riviera. Here’s the best view of the stunt we’ve seen so far, and not just because we captured it.
Look closely and you’ll see a cable extending from the back of Bourne’s Charger. The awning’s just for show, and the cable actually keeps the Charger from moving forward with the SWAT van. The cable will be removed with CGI in the finished film.
It’s interesting to note that stunts of this kind are typically done by a film’s “second unit,” or sans stars. However, those on the scene say Matt Damon and Vincent Cassel took part in the stunt sequence at Riviera.
It was glorious seeing an iconic hotel being used to such great effect in a Bourne movie.
Zooming in, you can see the movie’s set decoration created signage for shows in the Empire Casino. Attention to detail, baby.
This is absurdly fanatical, but if you look up Ron Reiss (the performer depicted in the fake sign above, along with the amusing text, “Bringing Back the Ukulele”), you’ll find a result for Ronald R. Reiss, a set decorator with a metric hell-ton of credits, including “The Matrix,” “Jurassic World” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” Awesome Easter egg, Ron, but nothing escapes this blog. (We totally just scooped IMDb.)
Also on the sign above, you’ll see a reference to Exocon. That’s the name of the fictional tech conference at Aria where Tommy Lee Jones’ character (CIA Director Robert Dewey) is a speaker, and another character (Deep Dream Founder and CEO Aaron Kalloor) played by Riz Ahmed is assassinated by Vincent Cassel’s character and the Strip chase begins.
But wait, there’s more!
While the stunt outside the Riviera was spectacular, for those who adored The Riv, what was inside was fairly spectacular as well. Here’s what we could see from the outside.
Riviera lives again!
That wouldn’t be nearly as spectacular were it not for the fact the inside of Riviera was stripped clean when the hotel closed.
Here’s what the interior of the Riviera looked like on May 6, 2015.
Sorry we didn’t appreciate you enough when you were alive, Riviera.
For the making of “Jason Bourne,” crew dressed the Riviera’s casino to make it look open, including dozens of slot machines and about 20 table games.
Here’s an exclusive look inside the Riviera, thanks to our favorite extra in the history of ever.
We do not use the term “movie magic” lightly.
If you didn’t know this was a movie set, you’d swear that photo was taken when the Riviera was still in operation. Vegas nerd gold!
Here’s another incredible shot our superfan mole passed along that shows the SWAT van inside the Riviera just after it crashed through the break-away glass doors.
Lesson: Don’t drink and try to evade justice.
Our extra friend says Bourne (played by Matt Damon, of course) emerges from his car, injured, in hot pursuit of Vincent Cassel (an assassin, carrying a gun and duffel bag). There’s a gun fight.
Extras didn’t get to see how the sequence ends, but it’s a pretty good bet Jason Bourne prevails.
Although filmed just a few weeks earlier, another chase sequence made it into the “Jason Bourne” trailer unveiled during Super Bowl 50.
Here’s the aforementioned trailer.
Havoc, consider yourself wreaked.
We are not cleaning this up.
If you look closely, you can see some faux shrubbery along the front of Paris Las Vegas, where there’s typically just a bare sidewalk.
The SWAT truck’s POV just before it plows the road, Jason Bourne in hot pursuit.
Here’s video of the plowing the road sequence taken by a fellow Bourne fan.
We snapped pics of that very same stretch of The Strip on Jan. 21, 2016.
Filmmakers either wanted to pretty up this stretch of The Strip or, more likely, camouflage it. This is the same spot where an asshat plowed into pedestrians in December 2015. So, awkward.
Told you we’re obsessed.
Oh, and in the trailer, you can also see the moment when Vincent Cassel’s bad guy offs Riz Ahmed’s character, just after Ahmed’s character says something about having sold his soul and betrayed the public trust. (“Jason Bourne” sounds like it will delve into the world of cyber-security and privacy in a big way.)
Vincent Cassel’s character presumably shoots his target from the rafters, but the Ironwood Ballroom at Aria doesn’t have a rafter area, so this part of the assassination sequence was probably shot on a soundstage in L.A.
Filming of “Jason Bourne” is wrapping up in Vegas, so we hope to finally get some much-needed rest.
The Riv’s scheduled for implosion in early 2017. “Jason Bourne” is an epic way for the Riviera to be immortalized, even as the Empire Casino.
We’ll probably do a comprehensive wrap-up at some point, so if you’re a Bourne fan, stay tuned.
“Jason Bourne” wrapped production in Las Vegas on Feb. 8, 2016 (actually in the wee hours of Feb. 9) with a re-shoot of the Bally’s jump sequence. Insert sad face here.
“Jason Bourne” opens July 29, 2016. We should have a viewing party or something. Preferably in our pants.