Jason Bourne has been established as one of the most authentic action characters in recent silver screen history. The character may be part James Bond, part Ethan Hunt, but the Bourne franchise has felt the most plausible, offered exciting action set pieces and global tensions that feel achingly ripped-from-today’s-headlines. It all started when The Bourne Identity was released fourteen years ago and attracted a large audience; sequels The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) showed improvement with each entry. Now nearly nine years later and a fourth entry (not including the Matt Damon-less The Bourne Legacy) has arrived. It goes with saying that another Bourne didn’t really need to be told – Ultimatum left us with some closure, but if you think back, it really was the fans of the series that were pushing for another film.
The action picks up ten years later and no one has heard from Jason Bourne (Damon). Meanwhile, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) is set on exposing the BlackBriar program and all other things that the CIA has been up to; all very hush-hush stuff, something that the Agency is very concerned about keeping secret. A quick brief on the plot: Nicky hacks into the CIA and downloads the confidential files, runs into Bourne and informs him that he really needs to see those files. Well, oops, the CIA finds out about what she did. The action hits hard rather quickly and we are taken from set piece to set piece with some exciting results. Damon returns as his most recognized character and continues to play the part with finesse. A man of few words, a tough look, and a man who knows his way well enough to never get caught and eliminate any threats with ease.
Tommy Lee Jones is Robert Dewey, the new Director of the CIA and does a fine job sort of reminding of Samuel Gerard while recent Oscar winner Alicia Vikander plays Heather Lee, a woman who knows her way around a laptop who begins to question Bourne’s movement – “Is he really a threat? Is he after us?” Her character is similar to Pamela Landy, the Joan Allen character in previous entries, who sadly doesn’t return. The same scenes from the previous entries appear in this film; agents chasing after Bourne, wild chase scenes, brutal fights, and people staring at their computer screens trying to get a fix of their target’s location. Only thing is that these scenes don’t pack the punch, there is no sense of intensity.
One thing that is for certain is that this film does seem a little forced from time to time, which is both good and bad. Good, because we get someone we care about, someone who’s lost everything and wants to know the truth, plus on point action sequences, directed with verve by Paul Greengrass (who directed both Supremacy and Ultimatum). Unfortunately, it takes a long to actually get there which is not to say that this film isn’t superbly crafted – Greengrass’s direction is still on point, the editing is crisp and fast, the soundtrack is still exciting and even the story while slow in the start, isn’t half bad. One character worth mentioning as a new asset is Vincent Cassel, who does a fine job but I was wondering one thing while watching his character – why not give him a backstory or even some dialogue? The assets from the previous films hardly said anything and that’s what made them awesome to watch. He, this asset has a story, kills people without mercy just to show how tough and brutal he is. Is that really necessary? I didn’t think so.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
A bravura Las Vegas sequence is amazing to watch even if some parts come across as, “Yeah, ok that could happen, right?” Jason Bourne is a film that does feel unnecessary to make but in the end, it’s totally enjoyable. The character is still there, but I really was missing some good counter-parts. This film is one of the more satisfying films over the summer. One that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to take your money while leaving you feeling angry that the filmmakers didn’t care. Jason Bourne does not have the best title and is definitely not the best as compared to the trilogy. One thing to note is to not walk into the theater with any great expectations, I know it sounds hard, but give this film a chance, Bourne at least would want you to.