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Movie Review : Jason Bourne

jason-bourne1.jpgThe fifth installment in the Jason Bourne franchise (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum and The Bourne Legacy), titled after the eponymous character, released this week in cinemas after a long, long wait. Franchise star Matt Damon returns along with the director of the 2nd and 3rd films, Paul Greengrass, to try and recreate the magic of the trilogy that redefined the spy genre.

Jason Bourne is in Greece, trying to hide from the US government and keep living. His old friend and one-time flame, Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons (Julia Stiles), who is also a fugitive, is working with a man called Dassault and gets her hands on some secret files that can be potentially explosive. The CIA, led by its new Director, Mr. Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and cybersecurity expert Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), gets on Nicky’s tail in order to find her as well as Bourne. From there, it’s a relentless cat-and-mouse game between Bourne and the CIA, with the action criss-crossing countries and continents in much the same way as is standard for the franchise.

I was one of those who had been yearning for a Damon-starrer Bourne movie ever since I’d watched the original trilogy. The anticipation had been sky-high and truth be told, the team behind the film has done a fair bit of work in bringing back the things that worked the first time round. But therein lies the problem! We are provided with quite a few action sequences that grip you by the lapel and force you to sit up and take notice. Starting with the Athens riots set-piece featured in the trailer, we are mentally transported back in time to when bone-crunching, “asset,” secret program, hand-held shaky camera work and at-times hard-to-follow action were the norm. The CIA still has its good guys and bad guys and, in the wake of the rise of tech giants like Google and Facebook, not to say the Snowden revelations, the game has been updated to stay relevant. But while the action is amazing as usual, and the franchise’s traditional background score is used to full effect to maximize its potential and create nostalgia value, a lot of the story feels cliched. The new thing here, or what the movie tried to sell us right from the trailers, was that Bourne’s storyline here would get the closure that the original trilogy failed to provide. To that end, we are provided a flashback of the climax of Ultimatum right in the beginning of the film. We also have a nice twist to the whole shenanigan that ties in nicely with Bourne’s past. But a few glaring loopholes remain that I can’t discuss here without spoiling the movie for you. And that would be sacrilegious, wouldn’t it?

jason-bourne-alicia-vikander-tommy-lee-jones.jpg
Alicia Vikander and Tommy Lee Jones in a still from the film.

Matt Damon is once again top-notch as the master spy/assassin. Tommy Lee Jones is more of a case of a big-name star’s talents being wasted, truth be told. Vincent Cassel as the unnamed “asset” was also so-so, with both him and Lee Jones’ characters being underdeveloped. But the one actor whose star stands to gain the most is Alicia Vikander. The Swedish actress has steadily climbed the charts of the Hollywood A-list through a host of stupendous performances over the last couple of years or so and her turn here as the cybersecurity agent and one of the major plot drivers gives her a lot of room to show off her skills. That she has perhaps the second-most screen time after Damon only helps her case. The cinematography and the background music, as I already mentioned, will make you want to watch your DVDs of the trilogy again, and I say that in a positive way. The screenplay could have been a tad better though. The movie’s climax sort of left things open-ended, providing wriggling space to the crew and the studio to make another if this one makes its mark at the box office.

All in all, Jason Bourne is a quality addition to the Bourne saga and an enjoyable watch for its fans, if a little disappointing. Those who didn’t like the tone or camera work of the original trilogy won’t be quite sold on this either.

Jason Bourne is Rated U/A and is 123 minutes long. It is now playing in cinemas.

Rating : 3.5/5.

Share your thoughts on the film and the review in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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12 thoughts on “Movie Review : Jason Bourne

  1. Ahh, great review! I haven’t been able to watch the movie yet – was going to go last night, but then something else came up. Hopefully I can see it soon and then comment further.
    Shame that Tommy Lee Jones was wasted in this though. That’s too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you’d like the film. I wasn’t too impressed, and that shows in the review too.
      Thanks for taking out time to read and share your opinion. Lee Jones was just a heavyweight wasted, Pity!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Saw the movie last night, and I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure it was necessary. I loved how the original trilogy ended, so even though I love the character and was glad to see Matt Damon again in the role, the movie just felt like it was reaching in places. Like it was trying to hard to tell a story that didn’t need to be told.
        Alicia Vikander was alright – I did like the tension between her & Bourne, and I can see them both being in another movie together.
        I actually liked Tommy Lee Jones, and while I agree that he was underused, a few of his scenes (especially the scene where Vikander somewhat upstages him in his office) were fabulous. But, they could’ve done a lot more with his character.
        The one thing I didn’t care for was the car chase scene. That was completely ridiculous, and there’s no way Bourne’s car (or the SWAT car) would’ve been able to handle those crashes.
        All in all, I’m glad we got another entry in the series, and now I want to re-watch the previous movies. And read the books! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, the movie was an unnecessary addition to the series. Damon and Greengrass said they’d only come back if there was something solid to be told. Apart from that Bourne origin subplot, I don’t think anything here was solid. New programs, that’s just a ruse.
          And yes, if this one earns enough, maybe we’ll see Damon and Vikander together again.
          The car chase, the climactic fight and a lot of other elements seemed to be rehashed from the original trilogy. And that crash sequence was way over the top, I agree. But summer action movies, you know them, don’t you?
          I’ve read quite a few, maybe 6/7, of the Eric Van Lustbader books in the series. They are high on slam-bang, globetrotting action but not so much on the drama front. Have you read them?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Haven’t read the books, but I’d like to some day. Now that I hear they are more action based rather than drama based, I’m more inclined to wait awhile to read them. And yeah, this was definitely a summer action movie / popcorn flick!! Fun in places, but ultimately forgettable.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The initial ones that Lustbader wrote, from The Bourne Legacy onwards, were largely standalone entries in the series. The last few though, have a common thread or story running through them. And yes, when you read them, you’d feel like the action is really happening in front of your eyes. The detailing is that good. But there’s not, as I said earlier, much in the way of character development and drama

              Liked by 1 person

    1. The latest Bond was also a scrappy affair, an old wine in a new bottle that didn’t feel magical.
      I don’t know how much business Bourne did, but I suspect we’re better off without any new sequel. The original trilogy is THE definitive spy flick of this millennium and hopefully Hollywood won’t mess its legacy anymore.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your views. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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