It’s been 9 years since the team of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass last graced us with a Bourne collaboration. 2007 saw The Bourne Ultimatum released in theaters and it was a great action film that spun the series on its head for the better. Several years passed and Damon and Greengrass basically told everyone who cared that they had told Jason’s story to the best of their abilities and that there was nothing left to say. Well, that answer wasn’t good enough for the studios. They went ahead and recruited a different lead actor, writer, and director and released The Bourne Legacy in 2012. It received a subdued response; personally, I hated that entry, because it was dull and ended on a cliffhanger that made it seem like two films were shot at the same time. I doubt we’ll ever see the real conclusion to that story.
Matt Damon went on record and said that the only way he would be back for new installment of the franchise was if director Paul Greengrass returned, as well. It looks like the planets aligned and both men have returned. Jason Bourne picks up several years after the events of Bourne Ultimatum and never mentions Legacy. In the new film Jason Bourne spends his time pit fighting and living off the grid, when he’s brought out of hiding by old acquaintances that have more information about his past.
CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) is the man in charge now and he still wants Bourne brought in by any means necessary. On his team is a young and bright upstart, Agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), who wants to ascend the ranks within her department. Not only is she beautiful but also she’s somewhat of a computer whiz and can out hack even the most complex of hackers. I made mention earlier that Bourne was brought out of hiding due to new information on his past. Well, the person that brought him out of hiding was none other than Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles).
The gist of Jason Bourne, once he’s out of hiding is to neutralize him. If the CIA can bring him in alive then fine, but if not, dead will suffice. Dewey activates an asset (Vincent Cassel) and the clock begins to tick for Jason Bourne. Jason Bourne was one of my most anticipated films of 2016 – I mean, it’s literally been 10 years in the making and the product we get is not all that great. Yes, the action is great and is bookended by some serious and ultra cool set-pieces, but the meat and potatoes of the story arc plays out like a safe retread of what we already know and have seen in 3-4 films. There’s nothing remotely groundbreaking in this latest installment.
The sinister program that was originally spearheaded by the mysterious group known as Treadstone has morphed into a next-generation program now known as Iron Hand. I didn’t mind that due to the natural progression of things in the original trilogy of films. It’s obvious that the government would not just fold up their “super soldier” program – it would just segue into something else. Great, I get it and understand it. What hinders the overall product is that the Jason Bourne character does not get to segue into a new storyline. I remember Matt Damon going on interviews and saying that his character’s story arc had been told and that there was nothing else to say with regards to Jason Bourne. Watching Jason Bourne and see in the active storyline they developed (or underdeveloped) for him sort of contradict his earlier comments and stance. He’s still putting the pieces of his past together, which at this point, is rather dull. Outside of the action and world-hopping from location to location – I did not care for the story at all. Jason Bourne is not the worst film ever but it is at the bottom of the Bourne films starring Matt Damon. If you’re to see the film then just see it as a form of completion but taper your expectations.
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