Review: Jason Bourne Feels Like A Relic Of The Past
Title: Jason Bourne
Director: Paul Greengrass
Screenwriter: Paul Greengrass (written by), Christopher Rouse (written by), and Robert Ludlam (characters)
Principal Cast: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles, and Riz Ahmed
Summary: The most dangerous former operative of the CIA is drawn out of hiding to uncover hidden truths about his past.
Of all of the many reboots and reimaginings that have surfaced over the years, I feel like Jason Bourne is the one no one is talking about in any context. There are plenty of people angrily writing about Ghostbusters or praising the new version of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, but no one is talking about Jason Bourne. It is a movie that even those who liked the original trilogy aren’t talking about. Perhaps it’s because I don’t watch cable television but it also feels like there hasn’t been a ton of marketing for this either. No one seems to care that this is coming out and that puzzles me because the original trilogy was huge at the time. We can talk about the merits of Independence Day: Resurgence because at least people knew it was coming out.
Jason Bourne, despite being part of one of the most influential action trilogies ever, has not evolved to the changing times.
There is plenty to be said about the legacy of the original Bourne movies. They were the movies that kicked off the rapid fire editing and shaky camera techniques that are so commonplace. Someone once told I was ruining movies for myself for noticing and commenting on them. I blame the Bourne movies for this trend but even now it feels very dated. That is something that Jason Bourne succumbs to; it feels old. This is a series that shaped a genre, for better or for worse, and this feels like a movie that could have been done in the early 2000’s. The idea seems to be to set everything back to zero, but instead of doing something new and interesting with this established character in a new age of filmmaking the creative team decided to repeat 2002 to 2007 all over again like a decade hasn’t passed.
This could all be forgiven if the movie had great action scenes or a compelling story but there is nothing interesting going on here. The plotlines are all predictable, aside from the fact that they go a slightly different route for Alicia Vikander’s character, Heather Lee, and you can tell from five minutes in who is going to live and who is going to die. I’ve spoken about how there are times when a tremendous loss of life can take me out of a movie if I’m not engaged and there is a car chase in the third act that was so brutal that it distracted me for the rest of the movie. There is a hand to hand fight toward the end that should have been brutal and intense but the editing made it so hard to pay attention that I had no idea who was fighting whom for the entire scene.
This is usually the point where a reviewer says that ‘fans of the previous movies will like this one’ but I’m not entirely sure that they will. While it is more of the same, if fans really wanted to watch a Bourne movie they have three others that they don’t have to pay $10 plus snacks for. If there were a few interesting scenes here and there I could excuse it but I cannot see any reason for someone to pay these ticket prices for this movie. It does nothing to elevate the action genre and instead looks and feels exactly the same as any other ‘man against an army’ spy movie that we’ve seen in the last year. While Matt Damon is fine in the title role he seems to have regressed in character development from the last movie, and Tommy Lee Jones looks like he is having at least a little fun as a sleazy government agent. It’s just a shame they aren’t going off to do something interesting.
Jason Bourne is yet another entry in a nostalgia property that is trying to revive a proven franchise. They tried this once in 2012 with a new actor until they begged Damon to come back. Much like Independence Day: Resurgence this movie reeks of half hearted effort and lack of interest. This was not a movie created to tell an interesting story or take an established character in a new direction, but to cash in on any goodwill fans might have of this series and they failed.