Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Paul Greengrass & Christopher Rouse
Starring: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed
When everyone needs a paycheck and the IP has some life, maybe it’s time to get the crew together to do it one more time. This may be a plotline of a movie, but it most likely describes what occurred in the formation of Jason Bourne. You will see no complaints from me seeing as bringing back the veterans along with some fresh new cast members brings back the magic of the Bourne franchise.
Taking place twelve years after the exposure of Blackbriar, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) lives a secluded lifestyle mostly making a living from streetfights. That is until he runs into an old ally in Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), who has more information on his past. As they decide to meet up, a new CIA cybersecurity officer (Alicia Vikander) has her sights on climbing the ladder and issuing a new age for the CIA.
Just when you think Bourne has completed his dealings with the CIA, he always seemingly gets dragged back into all of the nonsense. Once again, as soon as the man tries to find some peace something else comes up. This time around it revolves around what initially brought him into the Treadstone project and how it may have involved his father. This information was retrieved by longtime ally Nicky and their interaction in Reykjavík creates for the best sequence in the entire film. Once again, no Bourne movie would be complete without a chase sequence and the one taking place at the beginning of the feature has all of the chaotic energy with the civil unrest around them. Having Bourne and Parsons dodge the CIA and their “asset” through the protests happening in Iceland makes everything feel much more dangerous at every single turn. This particular sequence sets the tone for the rest of the film, as the franchise reclaims its incredibly gritty style.
Unfortunately, it has its flaws, particularly in having too many side characters and plotlines for the good of the story. On the macro level, it makes sense to include a character like Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed), who essentially represents Mark Zuckerburg as a social media titan. With this film being filmed in 2016 as opposed to the early to mid-2000s of the original trilogy, things have vastly changed technologically and it’s reflected. However, by including this character, the ultimate baddy Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), and Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) it created an imbalance of how many people this film could handle. Due to this, some of the characters felt shortchanged in trying to understand their intentions and where they fit in this story. It’s a shame because the three actors portraying them each have incredible talent and bring their immense skill to play.
Matt Damon reprises his role as the titular character and wears the pain of this character incredibly well. When someone has portrayed a character four times, you would certainly hope they had a good handle on them. This older version of Bourne has seen some harsh things and it can be seen on his face and demeanor, as he goes around just wasting away. Learning this new revelation about his father puts a fire in him to come back and wreak havoc for the CIA. Damon maintains the physicality necessary for the role and they make it quite clear Bourne has not lost a step in the way he can knock out a street fight opponent with one strong swing. I also have to give props to the marketing department for creating the tagline of “You Know His Name.” It goes with titling the film the character’s name but Bourne essentially becomes the boogeyman for people in the CIA and all other sectors of national security. They all know his name and his appearance and so do we, as most people would identify Damon’s most recognizable to be Bourne.
Jason Bourne cannot overcome the same issues plaguing all of the other films in the series, but it delivers in finding one more adventure for Bourne to take on. Even when he thinks he knows everything that happened with his identity years ago, this new wrinkle changes things. Add in a wicked car chase through Las Vegas and you get another standard Bourne film with all of the thrills one can expect.