LOSES A LOT OF ITS THRILLING AND INTELLIGENTLY CRAFTED TOUCH THE FIFTH TIME AROUND, BUT THANKS TO THE RETURN OF MATT DAMON AND SOME WELL-EXECUTED ACTION SEQUENCES, IT’S AT LEAST A MINDLESSLY ENTERTAINING JOY RIDE!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne
After the critical disappointment of the 2012 film, The Bourne Legacy, director, Paul Greengrass (United 93, Green Zone, Captain Phillips) and Matt Damon (Oceans trilogy, The Informant!, The Martian) return to the franchise that made Damon an action star with the fifth installment of the Bourne franchise, Jason Bourne. When I first saw the trailer for Jason Bourne earlier this year, I was excited to see that Matt Damon was back as Bourne and Greengrass was directing again, however the more I thought about it, the more I realized this is a really pointless movie to exist because Jason Bourne got his memory back at the end of the third film, The Bourne Ultimatum.
But I was open to see it for Damon’s return, some intense and gripping action sequences, and in hopes it would make up for The Bourne Legacy’s lack of Bourne. I know I keep bringing up the fourth movie, but I’m sorry, Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, and director, Tony Gilroy are all very talented, but the action sequences in Legacy felt like Bourne, it had the Moby, Extreme Ways song like all the other Bourne movies, but the characters weren’t Bourne, I’d probably be humming a different tune if Legacy was about Renner and Damon teaming up to stop the bad guys, but seeing how Jason Bourne is only referenced in that movie and this movie makes no references to The Bourne Legacy, I’m debating whether or not Legacy is actually canon to the franchise, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
How does Jason Bourne hold up…eh? Yeah, that pretty much sums up my thoughts on it, while I was thrilled to see Damon back as Bourne and the film did offer plenty of action, the movie in terms of story doesn’t do much new or interesting with it and that really bummed me out because the first three Bourne movies did a fantastic job in delivering action and intelligent storytelling with very little rehash. But after a while, the formula gets old the fifth time around, not to mention, some of the characters brought in felt pointless, but I’ll get to that after I look over the plot.
After his disappearance from the third movie, assassin, Jason Bourne (Damon) has isolated himself from the world and been spending his life through illegal fighting. When he meets up with Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles-10 Things I Hate About You, Save the Last Dance, Silver Linings Playbook) after she hacks into the CIA’s mainframe server to expose their wrongdoing, she informs him that a new program is being launched called IronHand which monitors every person through social media.
When Nicky informs Bourne about IronHand, it alerts CIA Director, Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones-Men in Black trilogy, Captain America: The First Avenger, Lincoln) and the Cyber Ops Division Head, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander-Ex-Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Danish Girl) and they start to monitor Bourne and Nicky’s activities and a vengeful assassin known as The Asset (Vincent Cassel-Elizabeth, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, Black Swan) to track them down before they can sabotage IronHand.
So it’s up to Jason to take down Robert Dewey and The Asset, and stop a new program from entering the world. And of course, while beating the crap out of some guys along the way.
Overall, Jason Bourne is a pretty standard installment of the Bourne franchise, it isn’t terrible nor is really a “Bad” movie, but compared to The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum, all of which delivered gripping and massive action while still delivering strong characters and complex stories, it just feels like a step backwards. The story gets very predictable at times and it lacks the complexity and mystery of the other three films and some of the characters brought seemed pointless, Nicky who had a major role in the other films didn’t add to much and it seemed like the only point of bringing her here was to inform Bourne about the evil plan and that’s it.
But with that said, the things that are good are very good, the action never gets old and like the third film, it delivers a massive climax which is totally worth the price of admission, and of course just seeing Matt Damon as Bourne again (On a side-note, hearing the Moby, Extreme Ways song again in the cinema was also worth the price of admission!). As I was sitting in the theater watching this movie I said to myself “I’m watching a Bourne movie!”, something I did not do when I saw The Bourne Legacy.
As summer popcorn fun, it’s a relentlessly entertaining ride, but as a Bourne movie, I felt it was really lacking in areas, it’s not even close to being a bad movie, it delivers exactly what fans expect, Matt Damon kicking ass with some CIA guys monitoring him all the goddamn time, but I really wanted more with this one. If you just want to see Matt Damon again as Bourne, you’ll get what you want here, however if you want really engaging and complex stories and characters that make you think, I’d suggest going back to the first three Bourne movies.