“Jason Bored is more like it”
Jason Bourne marks the long awaited return of Matt Damon in the title role. He also brings along with him director Paul Greengrass to the Bourne franchise. Their last movie in the franchise was in 2007. The world is a completely different place from when that movie was released. So has Jason Bourne also changed since his last appearance? Frankly, no. That’s part of the problem.
It has been nine years since The Bourne Ultimatum and about a decade in universe time since that movie. Jason Bourne has gone into hiding once again and living a quiet yet violent life. His life is in turmoil once again when Nicky Parsons returns with new information. The CIA is also after him once again and along with them they are bringing a new program for assassins. If this sounds familiar then you’re not wrong. The film is too familiar and ultimately to its detriment.
It has become old hat when a bunch of people stop and stare at a screen with a picture of Bourne and it says, ” (fill in blank) That’s Jason Bourne”. This is the fifth film and even the movie where Jason Bourne was not even in, it was was an old trope. There are the familiar car chases, action scenes that are hard to follow, an enigmatic fellow assassin who hunts Bourne and a shadowy government conspiracy are all here once again. Nothing is new. It also shows on actors such as Matt Damon who doesn’t seem too interested in the role. Bourne has always been something of a stoic person but it looks like Damon is tired in the role.
The direction and plot are tired also. The movie does not seem to know what it wants to be. One part it’s the return of Jason Bourne and what he knows or doesn’t know. The fact that the movie has to bring in father issues that were nowhere hinted at in previous movies doesn’t entirely work and seems like forced drama and more of a hand waving technique to make Bourne more redeemable for being a government killer. There is also a subplot about people’s rights in the digital age with a tech mogul. This all seems in response to the Edward Snowden incident in real life as the real life man’s name is dropped several times. The movie wants to be a methodical action movie while mixing in real life politics and it doesn’t entirely work. It seems like the creators wanted to make one movie but were forced to put Bourne into the movie.
The actors all do to the best they can with the roles they are given. Julia Stiles returns as Nicki Parsons and despite being the one returning cast member, she feels wasted. Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander and Vincent Cassel play the main antagonists. Each of these actors have varying scales of ambiguity around them as you can see certain points of view but it’s still the same thing we have seen in other movies from the series. There is nothing wrong with them but it seems like there could have been more done with the characters.
The biggest flaw with the movie is how safe it wants to be. It suffers from a case of “Remember this thing you loved from the old movies” and stumbles because of it. Jason Bourne is not a bad film. There are entertaining moments throughout. But there is nothing new about the film either. If you love the franchise, it might certainly work for you. It just didn’t work for me.