Our favorite amnesiac super-soldier and pain in the CIA’s ass (a.k.a Jason Bourne) is back in action!
It’s been 9 years since the Bourne Ultimatum was released and to most fans it was a fitting end to one of the best action/spy franchises of all time. But as we know, in a Hollywood era where there are as few original ideas as original lips and breasts on real housewives, it was inevitable that a sleeping dog couldn’t lie. So, in 2012 Hollywood gave us the Bourne Legacy. A movie that’s set in the Bourne franchise without it’s featured actor, featured director and even feature title character Jason Bourne. Instead we got a look at Aaron Cross, another character reeling from the Treadstone program. While I thought the Bourne Legacy was ok, and was overall pleased with Jeremy Renner’s performance as the main protagonist, The Bourne Legacy wasn’t received well by most fans and critics, viewed mostly as a very poor attempt at re-booting a quality franchise.
But just like its title character this franchise is hard to kill. So the hype-train was put back on track with the announcement of a fifth Bourne movie, this time reuniting Matt Damon as the titular character Jason Bourne with the director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, Paul Greengrass. The new installment simply titled Jason Bourne, picks up ten years after the events of Ultimatum and gives us a glimpse into what life has been like for the international fugitive, Jason Bourne.
Like allot of sequels whose predecessor seemed to give finality to the story, the McGuffin that brings Bourne out of hiding and back into action comes across as a little forced but that’s to be expected Nonetheless Julia Stiles , who returns as character Nicky Parsons, gives an adequate performance and as evidenced from the trailer she’s serves as the catalyst that brings Bourne back into the game. Jason Bourne carries on the franchise’s tradition of delivering an intelligent action flick and the slightly predictable McGuffin doesn’t take too much away from the film or it’s competency. New revelations regarding the history of Jason Bourne draws us in and we realize that while Jason Bourne learned significant truths about his past there are still several skeletons yet to be uncovered.
While we eagerly re-join Bourne’s journey into his tumultuous past of clandestine activities, we are introduced to a couple of new characters and story-lines. Tommy Lee Jones goes out of his comfort zone to play a grumpy, virtually expressionless and sarcastic old man, Okay so he was playing Tommy Lee Jones but that’s fine because we all love that character, and this time he was a CIA chief named Robert Dewey who, you guessed it, is knee deep in running new secret super soldier programs like Treadstone. When Bourne resurfaces, it spells trouble for the CIA for fear that their secret government programs will be uncovered.
This introduces another new character in ambitious young CIA operative Heather Lee played by Alicia Vikander. Perhaps I’m biased because of my undying love for Vikander but in my opinion she garners another great performance and is certainly a bright spot in this film.
Intertwined into this action thriller is a sub-plot about a young Social Media tycoon named Aaron Kalloor played by Riz Ahmed, who’s reservations about his companies role in privacy and freedom force it’s way into this story for reasons unknown to me. Perhaps in an attempt to link this movie to today’s social climate a contemporary story line was added. While to me, it fit into the story much better than some critics have suggested, I still didn’t see why it was needed other than to keep this film relevant to this day in age. Still, Riz Ahmed delivers a solid performance regardless of how necessary it was.
While some story elements are a little sloppy, the action in this movie doesn’t disappoint. The shaky-cam, realistic, fast paced fight scenes and high speed car chases are on par with all the Bourne predecessors and worth the price of admission. Vincent Cassel, who worked with Matt Damon on Oceans 12, re-unites with his former cast mate in Jason Bourne, this time as a character simply know as the Asset. Another Sleeper Cell operative for the CIA, the Asset proves to be an entertaining thorn in Bourne’s side throughout the movie.
All and all, Jason Bourne is a very worthy entry into the Bourne saga and certainly worth the trip to the theater. Unfortunately, one random plot line and an inability to engage us to a few characters played by great actors leavrs this film, in my opinion, the weakest of Matt Damon’s Bourne film but certainly better than Bourne Legacy. Hopefully for all of us, this won’t be the last we see of Jason Bourne.