Review: Jason Bourne

The perplexingly titled Jason Bourne arrives nine years after the last entry of the series, and honestly, doesn’t deliver anything new.

When Nicki, an ex-Treadstone operative, uncovers new secrets about the closed operation and the existence of a new one, she calls on Jason Bourne to look into it. The super agent has all but vanished into obscurity, but Nicki has him at a disadvantage… the secrets pertain to Jason’s father’s involvement in Treadstone.

I am a huge fan of the original Bourne trilogy (2002 – 2007) and I consider it one of the most well defined and consistently excellent trilogies ever made. So when The Bourne Legacy was made and turned out to be a cash-grab by Universal Studios, I had reservations about a return for director Paul Greengrass and actor Matt Damon this year…

But I had hoped my intuition was wrong.

This film has a fair bit going for it too. Tommy Lee Jones (another favourite of mine) joins the cast, as well as rising starlet Alicia Vikander and familiar French face Vincent Cassel. Yet one quickly realises while watching, this film has very little fresh about it.
It feels like Bourne has less at stake here than in the previous films, and even the CIA’s interest in him seems less convincing than before. Bourne’s past, before training at Treadstone, is a legitimate question; even Ultimatum didn’t cover the why behind Bourne’s initiation, it only answered the main overbearing questions: what and how and even who.
But even the why isn’t explained in any great detail here, the film feels compressed and muddled, almost refusing to focus on Bourne’s new question and preferring to follow a young tech mogul revealing a new app that the CIA want to use to monitor the public.
I honestly don’t know; there are two stories at play and neither gel together. One is Tommy Lee Jones’ Director of the CIA and his attempts at corrupting this new app into a tool for use of spying on the nation, the other is Bourne looking for answers about his father and the history of Treadstone.

It all feels tangled when the two meet.

Personally, the one thing Jason Bourne lacks is an especially skilled Jason Bourne. Supremacy and especially Ultimatum championed Bourne’s increasing skillset and understanding to thwart capture. Here… it is a steady action movie / revenge plot. Vincent Cassel’s hitman wants revenge on Bourne, but that story gets lost in the screenplay squeeze.

It is sad to say, but nothing stood out for me. There was no definitive moment of “wow”, like Bourne’s skills of espionage, or a colossal chase. There are two, but they just don’t feel particularly original. I can safely say that the consistency with the trilogy exists otherwise; it is Paul Greengrass doing his thing, John Powell was still involved with the score. So it isn’t a terrible film; it does entertain for two hours!

In light of being a fourth part from an excellent, well rounded trilogy, this entry simply wasn’t unique enough to stand with the others. It ultimately feels unnecessary. Not quite the cash-grab Legacy was, but certainly lacking.


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