Jason Bourne: Film Review
Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Riz Ahmed, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel
Director: Paul Greengrass
Solid, yet formulaic and workman like, the latest Bourne is anything but spectacular.
In the latest non-essential part of the series, which unpicks all the neatly tied up threads of the series, Damon is a dogged Bourne, a machine-like automaton of assassination that's lacking any kind of real dialogue whatsoever.
When former comrade Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) finds Bourne and tells him there's more to his past than he actually realises, Jason Bourne is forced on to a quest to make those pay for the truth...
Nearly 10 years have passed since the The Bourne Ultimatum, and in a world where Wikileaks, Edward Snowden and security have become major issues, it feels like Jason Bourne does a token amount to address such things this time around.
Even with the apparently personal level of this mission this time around, Bourne himself may pull no punches (as a Greece-Albanian fight club sequence demonstrates) but the script is lacking in any kind of real elements of either mystery or urgency.
Throwing in Riz Ahmed as the head of a Facebook style company for little reason other than to facilitate the finale is a missed opportunity; it's a disposable plot thread which dangles undernourished on the narrative vine.
And unfortunately, despite the re-teaming of Greengrass and Damon to the series, there's much of Jason Bourne which feels similarly wanting and in parts, and sees the film fall into an entirely predictable rut of action and flashbacks.
Despite getting things underway with a simmering riot bubbling out of hand and a hunt for Bourne in Greece at the start, the story loses its impetus soon after as Matt Damon's scarred Jason Bourne walks from place to place, avoiding the bad guys. It's repetitive and hardly builds tension at all as Vincent Cassel's Asset tries to hunt him down at the behest of Tommy Lee Jones' hang-faced CIA director.
The action sequences are assured and measured, but never fully thrilling (with the exception of the aforementioned Greece sequence). Greengrass is more than competent in their execution, with his shaky cam and quick cuts pervading proceedings, but never threatening to derail them. It's a shame that the Vegas finale feels like a rote chase, with car-nage aplenty and muted thrills, rather than edge of your seat stuff.
Fortunately, the addition of Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee, an analyst whose motives are questionable gives the film a bit of spark and stoicism that it needs (as well as a puncture through the old boys club mentality that pervades Bourne). And Damon himself, looking aged and still capable of taking the physical workload, does great things, giving his character a wearied edge of someone lost in the world and trying to find his place within it.
But that's the thing with Jason Bourne; in among the talk of assets, chases, betrayals, fake outs and action, nothing ever feels fresh or enticing in the self imposed sense of seriousness and the idea of solely providing a blast of Bourne nostalgia.
Fans of the series may get a kick out of the franchise's return, but that's possibly about it. (Also, the fact these former CIA assets don't quite know how to disguise themselves in crowds simply beggars belief...)
Ironically, for a film about an amnesiac assassin, the whole thing about Jason Bourne is that it's instantly forgettable the minutes the lights go up - it's formulaic where it should be fresh, and in parts, flat where it should burst with energy.