Way back in 2002 when Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) made the transition from page to big screen we had yet to get the slick, cool Daniel Craig ‘Bond’, and Tome Cruise was still finding his grove in the Mission Impossible films. So it was not hard to love Damon as Bourne a bad-ass amnesiac spy who could take guys out in seconds with his swift moves and quick thinking. I really enjoy revisiting the three previous Bourne films, and while I didn’t hate Jeremy Renner’s attempt to fill Damon’s shoes, I was hoping Damon and director Paul Greengrass had one more in them. Fast forward to almost 15 years later where the Bourne films have been a tremendous influence on action films, you see it in the afore mentioned Bond and Mission movies as well as films like “The Hunger Games” and the “Taken” series. So how well does the latest “Jason Bourne” fare in this action film mold that it helped set the tone for?
After staying off the grid for years Jason Bourne (Damon) is scrapping by bare-knuckle brawling in foreign countries. When a former enemy turned ally Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) uncovers a secret from Bourne’s past, she is compelled to find him and give him the information. When the CIA learns of the hack by Parsons, they are put on the trail of Bourne once again. Leading the way with her computer skills and hunger to move up the chain at the CIA is Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) who along with Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) make it their mission to bring down the elusive Jason Bourne. Also gunning for Bourne is Vincent Cassel as the “Asset” an operative much like who Bourne was to become who has a personal stake the elimination of Bourne.
If this film would have come out instead of “The Bourne Legacy” in 2012 it may have been criticized much like it will be now, as too little too late. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is very much like the first three ‘Bourne’ films, the pacing is quick, the action is intense, and Damon is always fun to watch. But much like he plays it in the film there is a sense of tiredness throughout the running time. The plot feels very shoed-in as it adds nothing to the previous storyline, and director Greengrass as well as most of the main cast besides Vikander is pushing 50 or beyond, hence they are too old for this shit. Aside from the pretty excellent action set pieces there is little else to “Jason Bourne”. What appears most absent is the writing of Tony Gilroy who brought more depth to the character and his reasons for defending himself against the government that created him. I still believe that the filmmakers of this series brought about a better type of action film, but I think it’s time to leave Jason Bourne in the past where he still reigns as a leader in the action film genre, even if he doesn’t remember.
–Robert L. Castillo