2 1/2 Stars
Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon return to the Bourne franchise after a one film hiatus in the series and their much-anticipated reunion is a bit of a letdown. Jason Bourne has a second tier quality that suggests an attempt to wring dollars out of a still viable brand instead of continuing a highly regarded trilogy of films. Two thrilling chase scenes bookend the film, but those well executed sequences can’t hide the fact that stagnation is beginning to set in.
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been living off the grid for a decade. He takes part in underground fights for money in a hellish third world country and has isolated himself from his former life. Then former CIA operative and friend Nancy Parsons (Julia Stiles) asks for a meeting, Jason is dragged back into the crosshairs of the agency and their hired assassin (Vincent Cassel), who is gunning for Bourne. Overzealous CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) appoints expert counterintelligence office Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) to draw Bourne out of hiding and possibly back into the agency.
There is also the inclusion of the Arron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) character, a billionaire wunderkind whose social media app is a tool for government privacy invasion. This cross between Marc Zuckerberg and Snowden is the film’s most compelling and under used character. The previous pictures had interesting stories that were punctuated by spectacular action set-pieces. This time out we know the action is going to be big and splashy, but the story didn’t have to feel like a close-line to set up these scenes of mayhem.
It’s easy to overlook that The Bourne Identity was a career changing role for Damon, and to forget how The Bourne Supremacy influenced action films and filmmaking for over a decade. These were fresh, innovate films, and the stakes were high on the way to their final scenes with those opening chords to Moby’s “Extreme Ways”. This supposedly last go around from Damon and Greengrass is a respectable, but routine chapter in the Bourne series.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Stars: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander