‘Jason Bourne’ Too Familiar, Sloppy to Fully Enjoy

Jason_Bourne_(film)I kept thinking two things while watching this: (1) Alicia Vikander is unfairly attractive and (2) I still can’t believe that Matt Damon and “The Martian” won Best Comedy at the Globes last year…

“Jason Bourne” is the fifth installment of the Bourne franchise and the first one to feature Damon since 2007’s “Ultimatum.” This time around, Bourne finally discovers the secrets to his past and comes after the head of the CIA (Tommy Lee Jones) for the final answers. Vikander, Vincent Cassel and Riz Ahmed also star as Paul Greengrass returns to direct.

I love “The Bourne Identity” and “The Bourne Ultimatum,” they’re two of the best action films of all-time; “Supremacy” and “Legacy” have their moments but are fully forgettable. So when they announced Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon were teaming back up to return to the franchise that arguably made both of their careers, I was excited. So maybe it was the nine years of anticipation or the incredibly high bar set by “Ultimatum,” but “Jason Bourne” is a just alright action film.

The opening sequence sets the tone for the entire film, in that it is engaging and visceral at times but is confusingly shot and edited and lasts too long. The film opens with a foot chase that turns into a motorcycle chase and each of them have their intense moments; but Greengrass’ trademark handheld shaky cam and rapid editing often make it muddled what is going on.

Franchise newcomers Alicia Vikander and Tommy Lee Jones both add some intrigue to the film, with Vikander being, aside from being beyond bae-able, the voice of reason for the audience. She is dedicated to her job but also has her own motives and senses that maybe the CIA is going after Bourne for the wrong reasons. Meanwhile Tommy Lee Jones plays Tommy Lee Jones in that he scowls and growls as the Director of the CIA who knows more about Bourne than he is leading on.

Riz Ahmed gives the film’s most (only) charismatic performance as the CEO of a social media giant caught in the middle of a conspiracy, although his role could be removed from the film and the plot would be entirely unchanged.

Damon is a bit perplexing. He doesn’t turn in a bad performance, but he just seems tired and is sleepwalking through the role. For a movie with his character in the title, the film actually revolves more around Vikander, with Damon just running around plugging USBs into laptops.

The film’s climax is more of the same as the opening sequence. Set in Vegas, it begins with an incredibly intense ten minutes but is followed by a choppily edited and way overlong car chase. It is almost as if Greengrass and crew had spent so much money on the big set pieces and car crashes that they felt obligated to include everything they shot.

“Jason Bourne” doesn’t do much to answer any of the burning questions left from the original trilogy nor does it leave us wanting more Bourne, but it isn’t completely without intriguing action scenes and exotic locations. But it is more of the same which is fun for a while however in the end just isn’t enough.

Critics Rating: 6/10



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