As a movie, Jason Bourne both succeeds and fails at the same time. It succeeds because it is a mostly-competent action flick but it fails because it has some pretty big shoes to fill after The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. While sharing the same name and character as the three aforementioned movies, Jason Bourne does not compare favorably to them.
Once again Matt Damon reprises his role as the titular superspy/assassin Jason Bourne (after having sat out of the Bourne Legacy). Again the CIA is after Bourne. Again Bourne must use his CIA training to stay ahead of the CIA and expose them. Nicky Parsons (Julia Styles) is now working for an underground activist/hacker group, having left the CIA. She is the only character (besides Bourne, himself) to appear from the original trilogy. She contacts Bourne after hacking into the CIA and discovering some unsettling information about several black ops that the CIA is behind. A CIA analyst Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) discovers Nicky’s breach and brings it to the attention of the CIA’s director (Tommy Lee Jones). The Director enlists Lee’s help to find Nicky and hopefully Jason Bourne as well. Bourne uses his well-honed skills in a cat-and-mouse game to try to expose black ops programs without being caught. In the process, Bourne learns more disturbing background information about the black ops program he was initiated into.
While Jason Bourne taken by itself is more or less a decent action flick, it does not compare favorably to the first three installments. We learned that Bourne was not the good guy, he was in many ways the villain. Losing his memory caused a break with the CIA and gave him a chance to redeem himself by exposing the truth about the black ops program he (willingly) participated in. Jason Bourne is just more of the same, really the filmmakers have already covered this ground thoroughly. In fact, Jason Bourne was a wasted opportunity to show the decline of a superspy as Matt Damon is now pushing 50. He looks tired and disinterested in the role.
The well-done, iconic fight scenes from the first three have been replaced by lazy, poorly choreographed imposters in the new film. One haunting moment from The Bourne Ultimatum has Bourne reluctantly using his lethal skills to kill Desh, a CIA-sent assassin set to kill Nicky. After Bourne dispatches him after a prolonged, knock-down, drag-out fight, the camera focuses on Bourne allowing the audience to see the conflict in Bourne. At this point Bourne realizes he’s not one of the good guys. His training and blind obedience has made him a ruthless killer.
While Jason Bourne is competently made and directed, it seems to be little more than a cash grab trading on the Jason Bourne name.
Worth a look if you really like the series and want to know what’s next for Bourne.
Skip it if you don’t want this movie to ruin the original trilogy.
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