Director: Paul Greengrass
Writers: Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse
Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles
A review by Ryan M. Holt
Jason Bourne is the fifth movie in the Bourne franchise, and signals the return of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass from a brief departure in 2012’s The Bourne Legacy. I thought that The Bourne Ultimatum tied up the story of Jason Bourne very well, and the original trilogy is still incredibly solid and entertaining.
So I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed being back in the raw and visceral spy world of Bourne. While Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible is all about gadgets and stunt work, and James Bond is off saving the world from overstuffed and extravagant bad guys, Bourne has always been about raw brutality and efficiency.
Despite his age, Damon fills the shoes of Bourne as if he had never taken them off. Following the nebulous ending of The Bourne Ultimatum, Bourne is completely off the grid now and competing in underground brawls across Europe. Following her departure from the CIA in Ultimatum, Julia Stiles’ Nicky Parsons has also gone underground, and after hacking her way into top secret files concerning Bourne, heads off to find him.
Back in the United States on the CIA side of things, Tommy Lee Jones activates an old asset, played with ruthlessness by Vincent Cassel to hunt down Bourne. Alicia Vikander believes that Bourne can be re-assimilated into the CIA though, and continues to help him while sabotaging Jones along the way. There is a side-plot concerning government involvement with social media, but it is incredibly paper thin and short sighted.
That is enough with silly plot details though. The main reason people love these movies is the action, and Jason Bourne delivers, with at least three great car chases and some edge of your seat backstabbing. While the hand to hand combat isn’t as complex or visceral as it was in previous entries, the fighting is still absolutely brutal. The three main set pieces take place in a rioting Greece, a busy London street, and through the streets of Las Vegas. All three sequences are fun and provide a lot of character to help distinguish themselves from each other, but if Matt Damon is going to go to Vegas, Clooney, Pitt, and millions of dollars better be involved.
The plot does try to anchor the film in modern times, with at least three mentions of Edward Snowden, and I am not sure if it helps or hurts the film in the long run. The delivery of lines concerning Snowden work half the time, and other times they feel forced. “This hack could be worse than Snowden” tried to come off as serious, but it just sounds goofy.
See it! It is a great return to form and wipes the memory clean of The Bourne Legacy. Ultimately, it made me want to go back and watch the first three films, which is what a sequel should do. It is a nice entry into the series that I didn’t know I wanted, but am incredibly grateful to have.