Last updated on November 16th, 2016 at 08:38 pm
Bourne To Be Mild
Story - 65%
Performance - 75%
Cinematography - 80%
The 4th installment (ignoring Bourne: Legacy) in the Bourne franchise is a welcome addition to Jason Bourne's story, but fails to add anything noticeably new and refreshing.
Last time we saw Bourne, he narrowly escaped a steep fall off a NYC building. He discovers his true identity as the U.S. solider, David Webb. He also discovers that he voluntarily enlisted in the very covert government program he sought to destroy. Flash forward several years later where Jason Bourne resurfaces after discovering a new black ops program is in development. Bourne is grizzled and worn out. He can still knock out a man with a single punch, but the look in his eyes tells you he’s done running. He’s tired.
Ex-CIA analyst, Nicky Parsons, also comes out of hiding to share crucial information with Jason. She reveals more about the secret program and stumbles across hidden files related to Richard Webb, Jason’s father, and his connections to Treadstone. Treadstone is the original black ops program we learn about in The Bourne Identity.
With this information, Jason and Nicky embark across the world to stop the plans of a corrupt government as well as learn more about Bourne’s mysterious past.
Back In Black
I’ve been a long time fan of the Bourne franchise ever since the original film back in 2002. It is the catalyst for Matt Damon’s successful career, and is the birth of modern action filmmaking. Director Paul Greengrass’ use of ‘shaky-cam’ is now a staple of action movies and thrillers. Sure, there are plenty of copycats these days, but Paul is able to utilize this technique perfectly. He isn’t the first to use this technique, but he is among the best.
After a misfire with Bourne: Legacy (never really liked Jeremy Renner as a lead character), it is great to see Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne back in action. If you enjoyed the first three films, rest assured that you will enjoy Jason Bourne. The film retains its frantic style and keeps the suspense at an all-time high. Matt Damon looks his fiercest yet, mirroring Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. No longer a fresh-face, this Bourne’s wrinkled expression reveals a man without peace. He is angrier and meaner than ever. It feels like a natural progression for a character that has been on the run most of his life and finds a lack of purpose. Also, he must be starting to get tired of being hunted down by old white guys.
Newcomers to the Franchise
The newcomers in this entry come from the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley. Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) continues the Bourne tradition of having an oppressive white man as head of the CIA. Jones is a great presence on screen, but offers little to differentiate himself from the past “villains” of the franchise. A far more interesting addition is Alicia Vikander’s Heather Lee. She is a young ambitious CIA agent who has a knack for hacking. Like most women in this franchise, she is hardened and can hold her own when conflict arises. She plays both sides throughout the film furthering her own agenda in the process. This role is a good indicator of what to expect when Alicia fills the shoes of the Tomb Raider. The young actress has really proven her acting chops and gives us another strong performance here.
There is also a whole subplot involving a Mark-Zuckerberg-type tech genius and his new app. The character is played by Riz Ahmed, a man I haven’t seen since Nightcrawler. Although Riz is great, the plot didn’t elevate the overall film.
Kick Asset Action!
The last addition is the asset tasked with killing Jason Bourne. Typically, the Bourne franchise calls upon nameless mercs to take down Bourne. I feel this is a huge disservice to the films and saps any emotional tension from it. The mercs feel like Bourne’s personal punching bag. They even flashback to most of his kills during the beginning of the film, just in case you forgot.
This time around, Paul Greengrass decides to have a worthy adversary that has personal connections to Bourne. This adds more value to the overall narrative. The Asset, played by Vincent Cassel, is much older, experienced, and a little obsessed. He provides a strong character to challenge Bourne and he doesn’t make it very easy for our protagonist. In past films, Bourne’s foes don’t pose much of a threat. The more of Bourne we see, the less vulnerable he feels. Vincent Cassel’s character is a great addition to a franchise filled with forgetful antagonists.
More Jason Bourne Flashbacks
One of the sore points in the film is the lack of story. Jason Bourne attempts to add some emotional weight to Bourne’s tragic past, but it feels too familiar. The film basically tells the same story in each of the three original films. Bourne is haunted by his past. He pursues new information. Proceeds to kill whoever gets in his way. Learns a bit about himself and vows to “end it”. Then, Bourne walks off like a cool cat. Its all the same really.
If you are okay with a retread of the franchise’s themes than you will most likely enjoy this film. It is still a very fun blockbuster to watch. The action is intense, and Matt Damon has never been better. Check out our trailer preview before you go!