Anticipation: 1/5 Haven’t we said everything we needed to say with the previous Bourne movies? It’s a good series, but by the time The Bourne Ultimatum had come around, I was already getting tired.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5 Jason Bourne will be the first in the Bourne franchise to be regarded as a product of its time. The political topics the movie tries to tackle are jarring when compared to the previous three. However, Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon’s new chapter is well worth the price of admission because the action is non-stop and wildly entertaining.
A whistleblowing attempt against the US Government goes wrong resulting in Jason Bourne being dragged back into action. Bourne must prevent the killing of a social media mogul, as he fends off a mercenary that has ties to his Black Ops past.
Without giving too much away, a lot of Jason Bourne feels like a collage of many topics we’ve seen in movies in the last few years. Hints at themes explored in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War, James Bond’s Spectre and obvious allusions to We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (Julian Assange) and Citizenfour (Edward Snowden, who is mentioned by name) make the movie feel a little dated already. In all honesty, the privacy issues of social networking in Jason Bourne feel out of place, very on-the-nose, and rather naïve. The Bourne Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum are all about Bourne, his journey and struggle to piece together what fragmented memories he has left; the movies are personal. This fourth installment in the franchise, therefore, gets distracted by its want to tackle worldly issues, rather than focus on what’s at the core of a good Bourne narrative. All three previous movies have Bourne want to discover more about his past, whereas Jason Bourne has him in a situation where he is forced to through a series of mishaps and a poorly planned out operation by someone who eventually gets killed. That’s not a spoiler for two reasons: it is a Bourne movie and it is predictable. You’ll see what I’m talking about once the countdown begins.
All gripes aside, Jason Bourne ticks all the ‘Bourne boxes’: shady corrupt high-placed government officials being duplicitous to each other, someone wanting to settle a score with Bourne, high speed chases, Bourne beating the shit out of someone with something you wouldn’t expect, car crashes, blood, brutality and broken windows like you wouldn’t believe. Actors Vincent Cassel, Tommy Lee Jones, Eto Assandoh are all good in the movie, but aren’t given much to do except be excessively paranoid and have knee-jerk reactions to Bourne’s actions. The stand-out performance does go to the exquisite Alicia Vikander whose character Heather Lee could have felt a little too shoe-horned in had the character been placed in the hands of a lesser talent. It’s good to see Matt Damon revisit the Jason Bourne character, which is where he is arguably at his best. Paul Greengrass is back at the helm and his “What-the-fuck-is-going-on??” shaky camera visual style and is firing on all cylinders, rarely giving the audience a moment to catch their breath.
Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon have made Jason Bourne as entertaining and gripping as an action movie is supposed to be. It may just be the installment that I’ve enjoyed the most in a movie theater. If you can get past the rather convoluted and innocent political side narrative, I recommend it for escapism. Jason Bourne may be a paint by numbers action movie, but it’s also a fun ride down memory lane.
Jason Bourne trailer