Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass return after missing out the fourth of the franchise, the disappointing Bourne Legacy. This is the third Bourne film which has had to come up with a reason for the spy to return.
Supremacy managed it well and Legacy simply focused on a different agent. This fifth film struggles to come come up with a reasonable reason for the hero to return, therefore, despite being well made this fifth Bourne feels forced.
Jason Bourne has a very contemporary story. Bourne who has been off the grid for nearly 10 years, is brought back into action when Julia Stiles’ ex-agent, Nicky Parsons, hacks the CIA and discovers that they’re up to their usual tricks. The information she passes to the most dangerous man on earth, who has taken up street fighting for a living, involves Bourne’s past and a new plan to monitor people around the world.
The film’s message of governments monitoring civilians is an important one and it is hard not to root for our hero as he remains one step ahead of his all seeing enemies. Indeed this film’s desire to be relevant means the first action scene takes place in Athens during a riot, where the annoyed Greek people literally help Bourne when the police try and stop him. The film’s political stances are hard to argue against but the quality of the story stops this espionage film from matching the fantastic original three movies.
Jason Bourne is similar in many ways to Spectre (Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond); it fails to bring anything new to the table while shrinking its own world. Similar to how Blofeld reveals himself to be Bond’s brother and “The author of all his pain” here the revelation of Bourne’s past cheapens the previous films and seems entirely fictional. The film also feels all too similar – a room full of people at compurers confused as they wonder what Jason will do next followed by shaky violent action scenes.
This is not an un-enjoyable two hours though. Damon is still incredibly watchable and Greengrass can put together marvellously tense scenes. New to the cast is Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander. Jones plays the Director of the CIA and is ostensibly the same as Brian Cox’s character from the first two films. He, as always, is fantastic in his very own grumpy style, the problem is that his character is written so openly evil that he far more fictional than Bourne’s previous adversaries. Vikander has proven to be one of the current must see actresses, and as ever, is very good here, even though she seems far too young to be so highly ranked in the CIA.
Jason Bourne is not a bad film and is certainly no where near as dull as the Jeremy Renner fronted Legacy, but you can’t help but feel that this forced film somewhat cheapens the fantastic story of the first three.
[rating=3] | Harry Davenport
Action, Thriller | USA, 2016 | 12A | Universal Pictures |27th July 2016 (UK) | Dir.Paul Greengrass | Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmed,Ato Essandoh