Starring Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Ato Essandoh, Riz Ahmed, Julia Stiles
Directed by Paul Greengrass
For the record, I probably should have watched the other Bourne films before seeing this, but Jason Bourne seems to give even less than a damn in regards to new viewers. Unless you have some inkling as to what’s going on you will be hopelessly lost in light references and the assumption that you know all there is to know about Jason Bourne. It’s partly my own fault as I have the DVD’s sitting on my shelf and I knew this film was coming up. The fact is they’ve never interested me that much, so I threw caution far, far away and hoped everything would make enough sense.
To some degree I picked up the basic narrative of the Bourne series. Jason Bourne is David Webb, formally of the CIA, raging a one-man vendetta against the agency that considers him one great, big loose end. You’ll be lost if you don’t do your homework, but at the same time that’s all there really is to it. There isn’t much else going on and Jason Bourne makes no effort to rise above its status as a fifth instalment. The character would be well-rounded if the film followed the themes of ones own true identity, but Matt Damon is far too busy scowling and dodging bullets to care about any of that.
Instead we’re offered what little is needed to pass itself off as this generically dull spy-action-thriller combination. There’s all the nonexistent technology (zoom and enhance, anyone?) alongside that trademark Bourne political tension, but it’s nothing you haven’t encountered before inside and outside of the Bourne series. There’s this attempt at modernising the film by acknowledging the issues of information gathering and government surveillance, but the social media angle is so obviously tacked on an under-developed. What is Deep Dream? Who the hell knows. Do we see it? No. Does it matter at all? Nope. Director Greengrass has said he doesn’t do social media, and it shows.
This has the opposite of the desired effect. It highlights how out of touch Jason Bourne is with the modern take on today’s drama film. So the question needs to be asked. Did we need another Bourne film? Any film, done correctly, is always welcome, but going by what is on offer here the short answer is no. Broadly, Jason Bourne gives us nothing we couldn’t take away from any old action flick, and specific to the Bourne series there’s nothing here that really furthers the character or story arc. From what I’ve read the series is really a matter of fail to catch Bourne and repeat, and Jason Bourne has no real intent of ingenuity.
I don’t know, maybe I’m expecting too much but with the reputation that precedes it I expected more. In writing this review I feel like the creation of Jason Bourne as a whole. It has our best interests at heart but it’s not the best and there are far better reviews that have come before it. It also just sort of peters out.