Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne

In Theatres: 
Jul 29, 2016
Running Time: 
123 minutes

Bourne is back. That’s the main premise behind Jason Bourne, which marks the return of Matt Damon in the titular role as well as Paul Greengrass as director. It’s been nine years since their last film together, but they don’t miss a beat as Bourne once again emerges from the shadows to take on the government agents who created him. While the action is classic Bourne, the story comes off as generic and uninspiring.


Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been living off the grid for the past 10 years, most recently in Greece, but when former CIA agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) aims to blow the whistle on the government's secret black ops programs he is once again pulled into the fray. For years he’s believed he voluntarily signed up for the Operation Treadstone program but new information obtained from Nicky reveals that that might not entirely be the case. As usual, he must face those in charge to get to the truth of who he really is.


This is nothing we haven’t seen before in all of the previous films. Bourne is on a one-man mission to bring those responsible to justice while other highly trained assets do their best to kill him. This time it’s CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) who are tasked with taking him down. The opening half of the film primarily takes place during a protest/rebellion in Greece just as Bourne returns to society. The set piece is absolutely fantastic and highlights everything fans have come to love about the franchise with fast-paced action, intimate fighting sequences, and outrageous car chases. Every move Damon makes is down to an exact precision. Bourne may be older, but he’s still just as dangerous as he was before.


The atmosphere switches gears when the setting changes to Las Vegas. The CIA has secretly been working with the social media platform Deep Dream and its founder, Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed), to collect data on everyone. With everyone gathered in Vegas for a tech conference, Bourne sees this as the perfect opportunity to get face to face with Dewey. The whole plot involving Deep Dream, the CIA, and privacy concerns is laughably ridiculous. I still don’t understand why both Dewey and Kalloor were even doing a panel together when they’re trying to be so secretive with their dealings.


Furthermore, once Bourne gets to Vegas it becomes an on-the-rails action film that doesn’t even try to be creative in its approach. In a span of a few seconds, Bourne grabs both a tracking device and a high tech listening device (with video, too) off random tables. I know it’s a tech conference, but really? The story just feels lazy by this point. Bourne used to be about making due with an ordinary environment; now everything is just handed to him. By the time the final chase sequence in Vegas happens, he’s nearly indestructible.


Jason Bourne delivers what you would expect from the franchise regarding the action. It’s up close and personal; pure Paul Greengrass, for better or worse depending on your opinions of his style. It’s a shame the lackluster story feels like it’s riding on the coattails of the original trilogy. Bourne may be back, but his reasoning behind it all could have used a little more vacation time to get everything in order.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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