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Review: Jason Bourne

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Matt Damon stars in Universal Pictures' JASON BOURNE

Although I love the Jason Bourne series of films that started back in 2002, I was comfortable with where it ended in 2007. I was also one of the guys who didn’t mind the idea of more sequels. While the Jeremy Renner one didn’t have any redeeming qualities, we were able to push it to the side and just wait for Matt Damon to return to take his rightful place as the world’s most dangerous amnesiac. Well, that time has finally arrived. It’s just unfortunate that the real fourth installment isn’t able to keep up with the past glories of its predecessors.

After disappearing from the world view ten years ago, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is found to be partaking in illegal street fights and living in a depressed and isolated state. He doesn’t appear to have any interest in what’s going on in the world around him, but when you’re as deadly and as valuable as he is, the old life that you tried to leave behind has a way of somehow pulling you out of the shadows and back into the dangerous game of clandestine operations.

The story in Jason Bourne is hard to follow because they don’t give you much to go on until later on in the movie. While everything is moving along, you don’t know where it’s headed or why we’re supposed to care. Once you settle down, you may come to notice that Jason Bourne is essentially a slower version of The Bourne Supremacy with a dash of Bourne Ultimatum and without a concrete story. I obviously enjoyed those two movies, but simply copying what was already done to this degree is never a good idea. This also makes all that’s here feel more empty than it ever should.

I understand that sequels are usually replicas of the originals that preceded them, but this was a bit much. That’s strange because the first two sequels in this franchise are similar to The Bourne Identity, but they still managed to feel different enough and new enough that it didn’t matter. Unfortunately, it appears that the people behind this simply took from those two movies (especially Supremacy) without including any of the heart and skill that made them successful.

Not only is this a problem, but the story is too personal to be one from Jason Bourne’s cinematic adventures. The other stories have always centered around things that leaned far more toward the professional side of the game of esiponage. Even in Supremacy, Marie’s death isn’t what drives the entire movie. Sure, it helps set things in motion, but the story there eventually came to be mainly about business and corruption. Here, it’s personal, then it becomes even more personal.

What also kind of hurts Jason Bourne is the choice to put a large of chunk of the action in the early parts of the movie. This is fine if you’re going to offer this level of action throughout the film, but not keeping that up leads to a lull in the middle that disrupts the momentum of everything that we’re watching. I’d imagine holding off on all that they’re throwing at us for a little while longer could have also helped eliminate some of these issues concerning pacing and flow.

As a huge fan of the Bourne movies, Jason Bourne is disappointing. It’s fine as a straight up action movie, but the overall effort appears to be lacking. Matt Damon led Jason Bourne movies have never this problem in the past. Throughout those first three films, there’s a level of sophistication that is completely absent here. Instead of getting something like that, we get more of a conventional action movie that was seen in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Those movies weren’t all bad or anything, but they were paper thin in quality, depth and presentation. When comparing those movies to this franchise.

Having it simply called Jason Bourne didn’t matter to me at first, but after watching it, this title makes it look like they were just too lazy to come up with something more interesting. I’m not saying that’s actually the case, but that’s how it appears now. If that’s true, I’m hoping that this franchise doesn’t turn into a series of money grabs. To be honest, I kind of thought that’s why Damon and Greengrass came back to do this anyway. They haven’t exactly been dishing out a consistent amount of successes for the past nine years.

With all of this being said, I’ll be ready and willing to watch the next one if and when it comes out. One disappointing yet somewhat decent movie in this franchise isn’t enough to turn me away from it. Now, if we end up getting another movie like this one or even worse (The Bourne Legacy)? I’ll stop watching these things all together.

There are other things like Alicia Vikander’s horrible attempt at an American accent and Tommy Lee Jones phoning his performance that I could focus on to further point out the flaws, but I think I’ve said enough. Besides, I didn’t dislike the film, and there’s enough action here to satisfy at least some of us. I just wish that the people involved would have tried harder. There’s no need to damage the reputation of this franchise by making movies that can’t compete with the one’s that came before them.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Paul Greengrass

Matt Damon
Tommy Lee Jones
Alicia Vikander
Julia Stiles
Vincent Cassel
Riz Ahmed

Film Length: 122 minutes

Release Date: July 29, 2016

Distributor: Universal Pictures

  • Score - 5.5/10
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