He’s back. “Jason Bourne” resurrects Matt Damon’s legendary character — bringing back the same level of intensity and suspense that elevated the original trilogy to prestige. With Damon once again at the forefront, director Paul Greengrass ticked off every box on the checklist of prototypical Bourne elements, ultimately creating a high-energy, albeit cliched, action movie. While many may be tired of watching the same plotline movie after movie, this is clearly tailored toward the hearts of the casual and crazed Bourne fans who are not concerned with triteness.
“Jason Bourne” utilizes the same key plot elements as before, focusing on a mysterious and haunting history that causes him to question himself and his actions. Dragged back into the line of fire by his only friend and ally, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), the stone-faced assassin brawls his way through the onslaught of CIA agents and hitmen in search of the truth about his past. Paul Greengrass pulls out all the stops here, reclaiming his throne as the king of shaky cam. Viewers are pulled into chase scenes in attempts to understand what is actually going on. Cars whizz past, flames jump into the air and crowds of people produce a chaotic frenzy of activity that consumes viewers’ attention. The trained killer also still can’t seem to find a weapon at the right times, forced to use pens, books, dish towels and hubcaps in tight situations in true Bourne fashion.
Matt Damon sinks right back in as the titular badass with his signature grimaces and grunts. True to form, the action-packed movie presents the 45-year-old actor with only 25 lines or so of actual dialogue. The essence of Jason Bourne is not captured in his eloquence, but rather in his actions. Consistent with the other films, Greengrass excels at using Damon’s movements and behavior to build intrigue and formulate the narrative of the film. Every step is executed with a purpose and deliberation which adds a layer of authenticity and helps develop each scene without the need for overdubbed monologues.
While Matt Damon connects the movie back to its beginnings, a new array of faces revitalizes the franchise. Alicia Vikander, Ato Essandoh and Tommy Lee Jones all provide strong performances and allow for some measure of organization and subtlety amid all of the fighting, fleeing and frowning from Damon. At the same time, the actors did seem to fit quite nicely into the plot structure left over from the past movies, as Jones filled the CIA-boss roles previously occupied by David Strathairn (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) and Chris Cooper (“The Bourne Identity”), while Vikander felt reminiscent of Pamela Landy (“The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”). The new cast picks up from where “Ultimatum” left off with Jones and Vikander especially adding new dimensions to their characters.
“Jason Bourne” does stray slightly in the direction of a new theme, bringing the debate between privacy and national security into play, but it fails to add any true depth to the plot other than providing a platform for Bourne, the CIA and Greengrass to continue doing the only thing they have ever done: fight each other. When all’s said and done, the blockbuster film knows what it is and refuses to stray from the template that it has constructed. But while “Jason Bourne” failed to add any true narrative innovation, it energetically accomplished the goal of creating a fourth thrilling and fast-paced action movie.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Ato Essandoh
Release Date: July 29, 2016
Image Courtesy of AceShowBiz