Movie Review: ‘Jason Bourne’


Director: Paul Greengrass

Cast: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed

Story: When former CIA agent Nicky Parson’s makes contact with Jason Bourne he lands back in the crosshairs. His CIA pursuers face internal conflict between Director Dewey’s hard nosed, old fashioned approach and cyber security head Heather Lee, who wants to try and bring Bourne back into into the fold.

Review: I never like it when a series changes it’s naming convention. We had The Bourne Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum and Legacy and now…Jason Bourne. The pattern has been broken. The reasoning was clear – it’s not just a return to the series but the promised return of the title character, sorely missed in the previous entry in the franchise. After the movie it feels as though there’s another reason: this is very much a Jason Bourne movie. It is absolutely, definitely another movie like the other ones. And that may not be the best thing for it.

Ok, let’s back up. The first film, directed by Doug Liman, was a pleasant and exciting surprise. When Paul Greengrass stepped into the role of director for the two sequels, it got taken up to 11. His frantic, edited to shreds action and intelligent conspiracy spy plots took made the other action movies of the time look flat and dull. Even the legendary 007 series started taking notes. The Bourne Ultimatum ended on an electric and satisfying conclusion. Then The Bourne Legacy came out. After about 10 years both Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass returned and we were excited.

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Here’s the problem – ten years have passed and Jason Bourne still looks like the rest of the series. As skilled as these guys are, and as good at choreographing the action Greengrass is, the film feels dated. Trends in action movies have changed, the frantic hand-held camera style isn’t what people want to see any more. There also seems to be an assumption that we took the time to rewatch the series to date, as it drops us back into Treadstone, Black Briar and all that jazz without much explanation. It might’ve been better to start fresh from all of that. On the same note, after Bourne learned his true past and real identity things were pretty wrapped up. All they could manage to bring him back into the mix was ‘oh yeah…your Dad was involved as well’. 

As always the supporting cast are well utilised. The rival dynamic between Jones and Vikander is an interesting look at the old guard vs the new, even it at times it feels more important to the plot than Bourne himself. The plot around spy channels being set up through social media gives it a topical angle. Vincent Cassel as ‘The Asset’ makes for a good rival to Bourne, coming from the same training but with a vicious streak. Everyone comes out of the movie looking pretty good.

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The action remains intense and creative, with a chase through the Athen’s riots and the alright hyped SWAT truck smashing through traffic scenes because awesome. None of them stand out has much as smacking down an assassin with stationary, or the rooftop chase in Ultimatum.

Ultimately this return to what was one of the most unique and kick-ass action franchises in cinemas is fun but a bit flat. At least they kept the theme music though. It’s still cool.

Rating: SIX out of TEN

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