The year is 2041. Amidst the chaos of the pandemic, Los Angeles has rebuilt itself into a mega-city with iconic skyscrapers, dazzling beach scenes, and glamorous high-rises.

On the outskirts of this metropolis, a team of scientists are working tirelessly to develop a vaccine for a deadly virus that has ravaged the world. The stakes are high: if they fail, humanity as we know it could be wiped out.

Twenty years have passed. A second wave of COVID-19 has hit the city, decimating more families and claiming many more lives. With the world’s best and brightest scientists unable to find a cure, one former drug kingpin decides to step in and save the day.

Set in the present day, yet pulsating with the heat and energy of Los Angeles in the 21st century, Hq follows the journey of Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson). Starting from humble beginnings in East LA, Packer rose through the ranks of the drug trade to become one of the city’s most powerful and ruthless executives. Wealthy and influential, he has parlayed his resources into a tech-giant like entity called Haven City – which manufactures and distributes all things clean and sustainable, from groceries to electronics – and also has a hand in the city’s most prestigious hospital, Packer Hospital.

Packer’s story is interwoven with that of Jason Bourne, the legendary secret agent whose exploits in his mid-fifties have become an action-adventure film series, and whose file Jason Bourne (Pattinson) now holds in his hands. With his tailored suits, polished demeanor, and quick wit, Jason Bourne has the makings of a sex symbol – and, indeed, he gets to indulge in some kinky behavior while on the job.

In Hq, Bourne’s superior, Evelyn Grubbe (Kristen Scott Thomas), hands over his former agent’s license upon his retirement – a gift from the department that employed him all these years – for a last secret assignment: to go into hiding and shut down Haven City.

Packer, however, is not prepared to let his city be destroyed by a rogue agent, and rallies the help of his crew of bodyguards, drivers, and architects to protect his interests and safeguard his status as the city’s dominant power within the drug trade. Thus begins a cat-and-mouse game that will see Jason Bourne going head-to-head with Robert Pattinson’s corporate giant as the two try to outsmart and outmaneuver one another while protecting their turf and covering their tracks.

Hq premieres September 13, 2016 in theaters across the country.

It’s Confusing

From the very beginning, Hq is an extremely confusing movie to follow. There is plenty of action, but it’s hard to keep all the characters and story threads straight. Fortunately, Director Robert Pattinson – who also wrote the screenplay with Justin Szwejczyk – injects a healthy dose of humor into the confusion, keeping things entertaining even when the stakes are high. Most of the humor, however, is wordplay: as Bourne is an agent whose name means “harmony” in Italian, one of the film’s earliest scenes sees him trying to fit in with some friends at their casual Friday gathering. After a round of drinks and an attempt at badinage that goes horribly wrong, he stumbles into an Italian restaurant to restore his dignity. There are lots of funny bits like this peppered throughout the film.

The story, set in both present day and the future, jumps back and forth in time, often without warning. Sometimes it feels like the story is happening in real time and other moments like it seems like it’s been put on pause. This disorientation is one of the major reasons why Hq can be hard to follow—especially since the majority of the action takes place in the past (with some scenes set in the future). This is particularly confusing when you consider that the script requires the reader/viewer to make some pretty huge leaps of logic: at one point, Bourne decides to disguise himself as a woman to infiltrate Packer’s crew and another, an Italian chef, assumes the identity of one of the city’s most powerful mobsters, Antonino Costa, in order to gather intel on Packer’s inner circle. It’s not always easy to follow the narrative without the aid of the script – but it’s also a testament to how well thought out and integrated the plot is that it never feels like it was written to be easy to follow.

A Tribute To Tony Scott

Not only does Hq owe its existence to Tony Scott – whose name appears on the film’s credits – but it also pays homage to one of his most legendary films, Tony Scott’s The Living Daylights (1987). Scott’s film, though set in present day, takes place during the day of the Russian revolution and centers around the Red Army’s search for Vladimir Lenin’s gold. Many scenes in Hq are direct lifts from Scott’s 1987 magnum opus: from the rooftop battle between Bourne and Packer to the film’s opening credits, which are an exact recreation of Scott’s opening titles from ten years prior.

There are several other direct homages to Tony Scott sprinkled throughout Hq. One of the most interesting is that Jason Bourne’s best friend, Dominick Cross (Michael Nyqvist), is named after Tony Scott’s character, Nick Cross, in The Living Daylights. Furthermore, Scott’s trusted lieutenant, Addison Brice, reprises his role of Nick Cross in Hq. The character, however, is given a much more prominent role in this film than in the previous one, serving as Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) right-hand man and guarding the information that would put an end to the CIA agent’s wanderlust. In fact, other than Hunt and Nick Cross, Brice is the only other character to appear in both films; the rest of the characters only appear in Hq.

A Big Thank You To…

Thanks to the cast and crew of Hq for giving us something to talk about beyond the daily quarantines and the looming threat of a pandemic. Thanks to Justin Szwejczyk for penning such an entertaining script, full of razor sharp one-liners and loaded with obscure pop culture references. Thanks to Robert Pattinson for stepping up and accepting the challenge of following in Tony Scott’s footsteps. Thanks to Michael Nyqvist for lending his voice to the character of Nick Cross. And finally, thanks to everyone who viewed our little piece of paradise named Los Angeles, California, on the big screen. We hope these articles will help you decide to visit our little corner of heaven in person – and if you do, make sure to stay a while and take a look around.