WARNING: The following review contains spoilers, I’m telling you now so you don’t pretend to be outraged later.
It has been almost ten years since Matt Damon last appeared in a Jason Bourne film. After swearing that The Bourne Ultimatum was his last run, the series was handed off to Jeremy Renner for about all of 5 minutes until Universal realized that mistakes were made and brought Damon back into the fold. So four years and a dump truck full of cash later, the famed CIA assassin is back to discover yet another important link to his past in ‘Jason Bourne’. I’ve never really been a fan of the Jason Bourne series seeing how I’m more of a Bond guy himself. However, considering the face of James Bond was Pierce Brosnan at the time, Matt Damon’s Bourne benefited greatly from being at the right place at the right time. I did have one glaring issue with this franchise upon marathoning all three Bourne movies (let’s pretend Legacy never happened because that what Universal did). There is a common theme that could really ruin the film for you if you think about it too much, but I’ll let you decide.
A couple of things I have to say before I start this review. First off, if you didn’t watch the previous Bourne films, you’ll probably be a bit of a lost watching ‘Jason Bourne’. The writers pretty much assume you know everything that happened before this film because they sure as hell don’t tell you. Secondly, if you are a fan of Honest Trailers, you probably shouldn’t watch the latest video regarding the Bourne series, because they unintentionally spoil this entire movie for you, I’ll get to that later. 10 years have passed since Bourne exposed Operation Blackbriar and has since disappeared off the grid. Bourne now spends his days in the shadiest parts of Europe punching dudes in the face for money. Meanwhile, Nicky Parsons played by Julia Stiles returns as she sneaks into a hacker warehouse and hacks into the CIA to expose a black ops program. She discovers a link between the CIA and Jason’s father and travels to Greece in order to find him, that is after she gets the hacker location she snuck into shut down by the government and then burns their equipment to hide the evidence, kind of a dick move on her part. The CIA’s new head of the cyber ops division and CIA Director Robert Dewey get word of the hack and makes the call to take out Parsons and find Bourne.
As I mentioned earlier about spoiling the movie, the main problem with the Bourne franchise is, if you have seen one Bourne movie, you have seen them all. Bourne basically fights to remember a link from his past, he exposes a secret op that the CIA is running, and then he takes down the bad guy of the week, that’s as far as the story goes. The movie suffers greatly from a lack of creativity. 10 years removed and Jason Bourne plays it as safe as possible. No attempts to inject anything new despite the fact we’ve seen other franchises do it recently to great success. Earlier this week, I applauded Star Trek for its change of style which was well received by its audience and critics alike. By the same token, the Fast and Furious franchise has taken a life of its own after years of inactivity and now it is a machine on its own. Director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon can’t be credited with doing the same, however. If you missed shaky cam action from Bourne franchise, well you’re in luck because Earthquake mode is back with a vengeance here. Look forward to watching Matt Damon beat up faceless minions as the cameraman has an episode of Parkinson’s for 2 hours. Unless the seats you are seating in are motion moving, there really isn’t a point of shaking the camera like you are in the action which is a point that Greengass still hasn’t learned up to this point.
As if the predictable writing and visuals weren’t bad enough, the acting doesn’t gain any points either. Case in point, Alicia Vikander who plays Heather Lee, the head of the CIA cyber ops division. Not only was this role miscast having such a young actress playing a high-level head of the CIA, Vikander herself doesn’t sell you on her role. Her character is way too naive and gullible to believe she worked her way up to a top level position without blackmail or a casting couch. Not to mention her motivations aren’t clearly defined. You can’t tell if she truly wants to help Bourne or use him for her own personal gain. Tommy Lee Jones is back as the strings behind the CIA Robert Dewey, and his job is to be as evil as humanly possible…or just be Tommy Lee Jones. In an attempt to secure Bourne, Dewey calls for ‘the asset’ (Vincent Cassel) to eliminate Lee’s teams and kill Bourne. Hell Dewey’s sole job is to order half the cast to be shot in the head. The heart of this movie revolves around four characters and just about everyone phones in what feels like a 2-hour mortgage payment rather than an action thriller.
Jason Bourne does a good job at staging high paced action scenes but you expect that at the bare minimum for this franchise. The film suffers from a lack of risk-taking and playing by the numbers with the story. If you are expecting Damon’s great charisma to save this, don’t hold your breath. This movie feels like a cash grab, it doesn’t revive the series or make you want to see more going forward. I mean the producers clearly didn’t put any effort into coming up with an interesting film title and they put just as much effort the film itself. If you are a Jason Bourne fan, you’ll have fun seeing Bourne again but I have a hard time recommending this one to anyone else. Instead of promoting gun control maybe Damon should have promoted generic writing control. Jason Bourne delivers a dud and after ten years it fails to live up to its predecessors.
OFFICIAL RATING: *
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