Jason Bourne

Not exactly a necessary sequel, but it’s a solid return for Matt Damon.
Movie Review #1,075


Distributed by Universal Pictures. Action, Thriller. Running time: 2 hours, 3 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language. Released July 29, 2016. Directed by Paul Greengrass. Produced by Matt Damon, Gregory Goodman, Paul Greengrass, Frank Marshall, Ben Smith, and Jeffrey M. Weiner.  Written by Paul Greengrass & Christopher Rouse, from the characters by Robert Ludlum. Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh, and Scott Shepherd.

It’s good to have Matt Damon back.  The last movie, “The Bourne Legacy”, was essentially the “Halloween III” of the Bourne movies.  It didn’t star Matt Damon, and while I do recall giving it a halfway decent review, it has grown worse and worse in my mind over time.  The first favor “Jason Bourne” does for the series is it thoroughly renders “Legacy” irrelevant.  Instead, this is a direct sequel to 2007’s “The Bourne Ultimatum”.

And what better a name for this entry than the name of the lead character himself.  “Jason Bourne” takes a dive not only into the continuing Bourne story, but also into some of his backstory.  We get a sense of what makes him tick in this movie.  This fifth entry in the series isn’t an entirely necessary sequel, but it’s still a fun story.  Jason Bourne is finally recovering from amnesia and is starting to regain a sense of just who he is.  He now wants to dig into the various documents and events that dictate information about his father’s involvement in Operation Treadstone, the black ops program that has been in effect since “The Bourne Identity”.  On his side is Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), the ex-CIA operative who had accompanied Bourne in the first three films, as well.  Meanwhile, CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) has set up a new program, with the help of agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), to stop Bourne.

Most of the film offers some of the best action choreography I’ve seen in a long time.  In terms of action, “Jason Bourne” is a return to form for the series.  I can’t remember a single moment in Jeremy Renner’s movie that matched any bit of any of Matt Damon’s movies.  The action sequences in “Jason Bourne” are almost always lots of fun.  They are as exciting as, and sometimes superior to, anything we saw in the first three films.

However, the finale arrives as if out of a different movie.  It is absolutely ridiculous.  We start seeing Team Bourne and Team Dewey chasing each others vehicles down the highway, going the wrong direction through heavy traffic.  First of all, when you’re crashing that many cars and injuring that many people, that is called domestic terrorism, and it should not be glorified in any movie.  Second of all, it’s so far over the top that we can no longer take the movie seriously.  In almost every situation, perfection demands restraint, and despite what we might think, a car chase demands restraint, too.  “Jason Bourne” is a solid action film, but it’s this ending that kills all the fun.


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