“Jason Bourne” (2016)
Running Time: 117 minutes
Director: Paul Greengrass
Featuring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed
CIA Director Robert Dewey: “Why would he come back now?”
Good question! And the answer is believable – kind of…
After nine years Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon finally reteam for another Bourne movie, that asks the inevitable question: Should they have done it?
Well within the film there is the good and the bad, and I would say the score is one to Nil in favor of producers, actor and director. After the previous Damon-Greengrass film “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007) concluded, it gave the trilogy a great send off, and I was among those that thought bring on more sequels, I mean if you could do it twice, why not more. But the intervening years have only built up the anticipation of what a new Bourne film could be, and now that has been answered with the release this week of “Jason Bourne” (2016).
As usual I am staying away from spoilers but broadly, Bourne, who now lives in Greece (or thereabouts) makes a kind of living fighting in pretty rugged tournaments, and is brought out of the cold by Nicky, (pleasing to see Julia Stiles back) who has found out some key information about Jason’s past that she thinks he needs to act on. From here we are introduced to three new main characters, CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), CIA operative Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) and the “Asset” (Vincent Cassel) who all acquit themselves well in roles that give them just enough depth for us to feel for them one way or another. The other new character is social media guru Aaron Kailoor (Riz Ahmed) who is in bed with the CIA and being asked more of his company than he ever thought he would have or need to give.
As you would expect the action scenes are incredible, and Greengrass’s shaky camera style has not lost any of its impact, it’s a credit to his cinematographer that he can keep up with what the Directors desires. The film itself shifts from Europe to the US to Germany to the UK and eventually winds up in Las Vegas for the films climax and biggest action scene in the movie. Unlike previous Bourne films this one relies on tropes and pretty stereotypical characters. There are twists but they are a little obvious and there are no real surprises that would indicate the need for Bourne to really be involved in this story at all.
Where the film excels is in changing the entire reason for there to be a Jason Bourne in the world. The older Bourne movies were made in an era of boots on the ground and one on one-action beats with the very reason for the CIA exisiting was to feed information to their asset. In this new era the power is the CIA itself and this power they weld through giant networks leaving someone like Bourne old fashioned and an antiquated model of a bygone era. That is why he is able to do the things he does, they really don’t make them like they used to.
It is also great to see an aging Damon complete with grey hair, as well as an older nemesis in Vincent Cassel’s “Asset” and of course Tommy Lee Jones. In fact the only youngish person is recent Oscar Winner Alicia Vikander who seems to be able to play any role set in any time – she is the welcome female character who is not only empowered but also has designs on her own pathway in her own way.
The film will be successful so I only hope they will make more in the series and keep this new direction going, you never know it may give Bourne a reason to live.