If you didn’t know his name, it’s Jason Bourne. After getting to the bottom of Operation Blackbriar 10 years ago, David Webb, more commonly known as Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), has lived off the grid in Greece. He remembers everything now, and he is seemingly at peace with his past.
But just because he remembers everything doesn’t mean he knows everything, as said by Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), Bourne’s old accomplice. Some new information comes to the forefront that immediately puts Bourne right back into the spotlight he escaped from. Once again, there are some people in the CIA that want Bourne dead or alive, but somehow, he manages to stay one step ahead of everyone on a path to revealing what the Agency really wants to do.
Count yours truly as one of the many who jumped on the hype train for Jason Bourne when the Super Bowl spot aired. The official full-length trailer only heightened its arrival. Hype can be good and is sometimes very warranted, but just as often, it is akin to a drug that clouds judgment. It wasn’t until a recent rewatch of the Damon-led trilogy got me thinking as to whether Jason Bourne was needed at all. After seeing the final product, it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks in competency.
Jason Bourne is funny. Not literally, but figuratively. It was director Paul Greengrass, who previously helmed Supremacy and Ultimatum, who stated that a fourth Bourne movie which would ultimately become The Bourne Legacy should be titled “The Bourne Redundancy,” and the only way he and star Matt Damon would return were if the script was a worthy one. Greengrass tagged himself to do the writing for Bourne’s latest.
This would automatically assure Jason Bourne’s script to be worthy and actually different, right? Not at all. Aside from a subplot about privacy featuring Riz Ahmed’s character that is absolutely timely but doesn’t connect with the main story until absolutely necessary, Greengrass blatantly lifts story beats from his prior films in the series. The plot is fine by all means, but making a huge statement about refusing to do another Bourne movie because the script wasn’t up to snuff and redundant, only to write a script that is more redundant than what came before it is absolutely worth nitpicking and ridiculing, in my opinion.
Greengrass returning also means his signature handheld style makes its way back into the fray. While he may not have been flawless using this style in his previous two movies, he got more right than wrong. With Jason Bourne, he’s about 50/50. Their are some riveting action sequences, mainly the chases that aren’t impacted all that much and may be the best wide-scale action of the entire franchise. Unfortunately, most of the the hand-to-hand is pretty jumpy with its editing, and the off chance it isn’t, the camera feels too tight with close up shots to figure out who’s dishing damage.
Still, the cast is solid. Jason Bourne has always been a man of minimal dialogue, due in part to his amnesia. Damon still owns the role, but one does wonder how much longer physically he can do this particular role at a high level. Bourne is a character of mystery, and with that mystery essentially solved at the end of Ultimatum, he unfortunately loses a little bit of intrigue. He might as well be John Bourne or Jason Wick with his character’s motivations this go around, just without the style and flair Reeves’ character possessed.
Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander are simply obstacles that Bourne is destined to cross paths with. Vikander’s role seems like it is going to be more meaty at the start, until it is to be revealed to be the exact same role that Joan Allen played in previous films, right down to her issues with Tommy Lee Jones’ CIA director. TLJ’s character is more or less the epitome of what many Americans see the government as: shady and self-serving. The Bourne series has always had great stone cold assassins, and Vincent Cassel is the latest in that line.
Cue Moby’s Extreme Ways for the end of this. Jason Bourne still puts out entertainment here and there, but not from start to finish like previous installments. In all honestly, he’s beginning to look a little tired.
Photo credits go to ew.com and theplaylist.net.
Follow the Movie Man @MovieManJackson