Review: Jason Bourne
PLOT: Jason Bourne is finally aware of his identity. Now, he must discover a few more secrets from his past, as well as stop a dangerous operation that would affect the entire world.
REVIEW: We know his name. JASON BOURNE is back and while he is now aware of who he is, there are still questions about how he became part of this dangerous organization. Do we get answers? We certainly do. And much like the previous Bourne flicks, Matt Damon owns the role whether he is on the run, or beating the crap out of those ready to shut him down. Once again directed by Paul Greengrass, this is a series of chases, close calls and mysteries revealed, and it all feels too familiar; even with a few fresh faces. Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander and Vincent Cassel round out the impressive cast, with Vikander standing in for Joan Allen, and Jones and Cassel taking on the prospective villain roles.
JASON BOURNE continues to evade the CIA after the events in THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM. And when his cohort Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) discovers information on Jason and his father, she also discovers work on a powerful system that will keep the government’s eye on everyone with a computer or cellphone. All of this courtesy of a genius computer software designer named Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed). The closer Bourne gets to revealing the secrets of his past the more danger he finds himself in. CIA Director Robert Dewey (Jones) puts pressure on his associate Heather Lee (Vikander) as well as assassin Asset (Cassel) to catch him. It all leads to an intense climax with one hell of an awesome car chase. It this sounds like what you’d expect from a Jason Bourne movie, you aren’t wrong.
For the first hour and change, JASON BOURNE offers a decent, yet repetitive action story. With each film we - as well as Jason himself - learn more about who he is and why he was chosen. You have the sympathetic character who questions whether Bourne is really the problem. Then there is the dangerous and corrupt man-in-charge. And of course, you’ll find a handful of narrow escapes while Dewey and his team attempt to track their target. This is exactly what you’d expect. Which is unfortunate because it fails to really build as much suspense as you’d want from a spy thriller.
Still, even when JASON BOURNE falls into a predictable rut, it’s a well designed action thriller that manages to offer a few tense moments. The best of which comes near the end during the final showdown. With a wild car chase involving a Dodge Charger and a SWAT vehicle, Greengrass creates a thrilling finale. However, much of what comes before feels too familiar and at times stale. For fans of the series however, it will be enough to warrant a watch. Even if Damon’s return to the franchise isn’t quite the thrill ride it could have been, there are far worse big screen spy flicks that you could invest in.
After Jeremy Renner took a spin with THE BOURNE LEGACY - an expansion on the series - it's nice to see Damon return. The actor has grown with Bourne quite naturally. He has a little bit of grey hair and world weariness that seems appropriate for the character. With very little dialogue the actor once again handles the physicality of playing Bourne exceptionally well. And while I did miss the presence of the charismatic Joan Allen, Vikander once again proves to have impressive star power. Even still, she seems a bit too young to be fully convincing.
Greengrass continues to take on author Robert Ludlum’s creation, the same way he approached his other contributions in the franchise. The filmmaker has taken on three of the films, taking over for Doug Liman who directed THE BOURNE IDENTITY. The action is cut fast and moves quickly. And while it the style for this franchise, the films tend to run together a bit. The best is arguably 2007’s THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, with a script by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi. For the latest chapter, Greengrass is credited with co-writing the screenplay along with Christopher Rouse. And frankly, at times this feels like it is trying too hard to be relevant, especially with one character connecting Edward Snowden to the current catastrophe at hand.
JASON BOURNE is a good film, but not much more than that. It takes a bit too long to get to it’s thrilling climax, and that means a whole lot of what we’ve already seen before. Thankfully, if you are a fan, you’ll likely find something to appreciate, even if there is nothing particularly original or new in the latest installment. The cast is strong, especially Damon who has aged nicely into the character. As far as the supporting cast, Vikander does a fine job, but she didn’t have the weightiness that Joan Allen gave in a very similar role. JASON BOURNE will likely please fans of the series, even if the Bourne adventures are beginning to wear thin.
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