Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Movie Review #463: "Jason Bourne" (2016)

Movie"Jason Bourne"
Director: Paul Greengrass
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 3 minutes
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Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) hacks the CIA mainframe and uncovers information on their Black Ops programs, all the way from Treadstone to their newest, not yet started program Iron Hand. She then seeks out Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) because everything seems to somehow stem from his father. As expected, the CIA is in pursuit of Nicky, who leads them right to Bourne. Now, they are looking to finishing him once and for all. 

After the disappointment of the Tony Gilroy-directed "The Bourne Legacy," Paul Greengrass returns to the directors chair for "Jason Bourne" in the hopes of restoring the Bourne series to the glory it saw with his films "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum." Matt Damon and the titular character of Jason Bourne have also returned for this installment, and he really couldn't have come soon enough. We can all agree we were looking for an excuse to cleanse our palates of Jeremy Renner's stinkbomb. Much like the previous trilogy, the CIA is trying to eliminate Bourne while he tries to uncover more secrets about his past. The characters on the CIA side have since changed. Now, Director Robert Dewy, played by Grumpy Cat impersonator Tommy Lee Jones, and head of the CIA's cyber division Heather Lee, played by Alicia Vikander, are the ones pursuing Bourne, who has come out of hiding after Nicky Parsons hacks into the CIA's mainframe to uncover secret documents on the past and future Black Ops programs run by the organization. The name 'Edward Snowden' is invoked at least twice in reference to this hack, and we started to get a little nervous the writers were going to heavily rely on his name as a comparison point. Apart from these few instances, they keep Snowden's name relatively absent from the screenplay. Of course, as with all of these movies, there is an asset on the ground ready to run around with Bourne in whatever country he finds himself hiding in, and this time, it's Greece. The asset is played by Vincent Cassel, and he is the one doing the physical chasing of Bourne, only this time, the asset actually has a personal connection and deep-seeded vendetta against Bourne. This is the only real difference in the plot of "Jason Bourne." Up until this point, the assets have only been doing as they were told in attempting to terminate Bourne. Now, there is a lot more at stake, so the question becomes: can the filmmakers capitalize on the connection, or will they let it fall by the wayside?

Despite a nine year layoff from the series, Matt Damon hasn't lost a beat where the action genre is concerned, though he is noticeably older as the years wear on his face like grizzle badges of honor. Bourne is as badass as ever and continues to kick major butt. Unfortunately, this installment is completely by the book and follows the exact same tried and true formula step-by-step with only a few minor changes in its characters and settings. There are a few good fight scenes early on and an entertaining chase sequence that is pure and total chaos late in the game, but it feels like there are a few unnecessary instances of bureaucratic filler. Also, Greengrass goes absolutely bonkers with his shaky camerawork. Though this has been a staple of the Bourne films, in this installment, it's absolutely too much, and you can feel it the second the action starts. We don't need to feel like Bourne is kicking us in the balls, we just want to watch him do it.

Though "Jason Bourne" is a decent movie, it's a far cry from the original Bourne trilogy. We get pretty much the same performance we've always gotten from Damon with his minimalist lines and his constant talk of secrets. Alicia Vikander is also good here, though her wavering accent is sort of distracting. The story doesn't feel as gripping as the ones from the past and it doesn't do enough to distinguish itself from the thousands of other action thrillers out there without the Jason Bourne character. That being said, it is worlds better than "The Bourne Legacy," even with some of the worst shaky camerawork we have ever seen. We would have liked to see more risks being taken since Damon signed back onto the franchise.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 56%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Pixels"

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