Charming. Charitable. Clever. By reputation, Matt Damon’s famously one of the nicest people in showbusiness. It’s a shame that the same doesn’t apply to his characters. No, the Damonator’s movies leave a path of death, terror and destruction wherever he goes… and as you’ll see below, he goes everywhere. With this week’s The Great Wall chalking up another travel horror story for the well-journeyed actor, here’s a run down of his movies’ greatest tourist troubles.
How do you get on the local’s nerves in 11th Century China? By sneaking over their border in order to smuggle out their precious gunpowder, which is why Damon’s William finds himself stuck on the wrong side of The Great Wall. Admittedly, the locals already have a more pressing illegal alien problem with actual real monsters from another planet, which assault the Wall every 60 years.
Bloomin' tourists, leaving litter everywhere – a space hub, a vehicle, even an astronaut in The Martian. The Red Planet's latest guest, NASA botanist Mark Watney, manages to compound his pal's error by blowing up his hub and crop supply, which he's created out of compost from his own waste – basically organising his own dirty protest. Some people just shouldn't be given a passport.
The Martian is available now on Sky Cinema
Ah Paris. What better way for two beautiful young people to get to know one another than le grande tour of the city of romance in a small boxy car.? Although doing it at top speed along those famously narrow streets and pavements with the fuzz on your trail – in one of the most inventive car chases in the history of the movies, no less – might take the edge of it. Maybe next time just say it with flowers?
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The Italian coast is the place for a little holiday romance and Dickie Greenleaf is the guy to do it with. Unfortunately for Dickie in The Talented Mr Ripley the latest to be blinded by the glow his bronzed glamour is Matt Damon's titular fraudster. However, faced with rejection, the sociopathic Tom Ripley leaves Greenleaf as a permanent resident at the bottom of the San Remo waters, before embarking on a Mediterranean murder spree to cover up the crime.
Taxi! Armed with a map and a bottle of vodka to wash his wounds, the injured Jason Bourne steals a cab and turns Moscow rush hour into his own personal stock car rally with the corrupt Russian agent Kirill – who killed Bourne’s girlfriend – in hot pursuit. Bourne basically turns the guy into a hood ornament, using Kirill's Merc as a buffer between Bourne’s taxi and the tunnel lane divider. You know what, we’ll wait for the next cab, thanks.
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Much to the sighing dismay of the Dutch locals, most American tourists in Amsterdam end up looking a bit wonky. After Matt Damon and the Ocean’s Twelve crew roll up – on the trail of the first ever stock certificate – it's the building that ends up getting a bit high, as they’ve raised it up a few inches using hydraulics in order to better trick the townhouse’s elaborate security. When cinematographers talk about ‘Dutch angles’ they don’t mean this.
Having invalidated his travel insurance over most of Europe - London, France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany – Jason Bourne now starts on Africa. The Bourne Ultimatum sees him evading the Tangiers cops while simultaneously trying to stop hitman Desh from adding Bourne’s contact Nicky to his kill list. Luckily those mazey Moroccan souks, easy-access picturesque rooftops and open balconies provide an easy getaway – and plenty of locals to terrify – as he barrels his way through them.
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The Garden State may suffer in the shadow of New York, but that's nothing compared to the bloody reign of terror – and terrifying bloody rain – unleashed by Dogma’s two fallen angels on their vengeful path back into heaven. Loki and Bartelby kill time before their gateway to heaven opens up by redecorating the town a new shade of massacred church congregation. Farrow & Ball don’t do that one.
Even by Sin City's fairly flexible moral standards, Matt Damon should have been banned long ago. First he robbed a casino blind in Ocean’s Eleven, then for Ocean’s Thirteen, he bankrupted an even bigger casino by simulating a panic-inducing earthquake. Finally, to top it off in Jason Bourne, he then terrorises the legendary main Strip – where pedestrians make faster progress than the cars – by ploughing through it at top speed down the wrong way. This is taking ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ to a whole new level.
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Ramelle is a typical Normandy village, in that it’s small, rural and completely obliterated by World War II. Needless to say that the latter happens on Matt Damon's watch in Saving Private Ryan, after the final Ryan brother decides that ‘hold the bridge’ is a euphemism to turn the (fictional) village into colourful rubble. It does seem a bit harsh to blame Damon for the entire Second World War, but it's also fun so we'll stick with it.
Saving Private Ryan is available now on Sky Cinema