Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassell, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed
Plot: Nikki Parsons (Stiles) uncovers information about a new Black Ops program and information suggesting Bourne’s deceased father was involved in Treadstone.
It took me a long time to decide if I was happy that this movie was being made. The Bourne trilogy (let’s forget Legacy for a moment), was so perfect, so self-sufficient, that it seems foolish to extend the franchise by one more film. Ultimatum’s ending was so visually stimulating, so complete, bringing Bourne’s spy back into the fold seemed unnecessary. A little like Nolan and Bale deciding to bring the Dark Knight back for another spin. Tempting, but self-destructive to the brilliance that came before. On the other hand, is there such thing as enough Bourne? With both Greengrass and Damon paired together again, it was enough to tempt me into the cinema, alongside with a nail-biting trailer that promised, at the very least, Jason Bourne would be entertaining.
To offer my final verdict paragraphs early, totally unnecessary, brilliantly fun. Jason Bourne’s biggest flaw is that it cannot quite muster up enough reason to exist. There is a flimsy excuse bringing Bourne’s never-mentioned-before father into the story, conjuring up a reason for Bourne to turn his intentions upon the CIA once again. The opening of this movie is a desperate scrabble for exposition, while Ultimatum and Supremacy just drifted into the story, as easily as slipping into a bath. It shows in Matt Damon’s performance. He is good, but has covered these beats so many times before, we can seem him struggling to figure out what new to add to the character. Legacy also did a bit of damage to the structure we adored so much: it showed us that there is clearly a structure. Tommy Lee Jones makes for an excellent bad guy, but as Norton showed us, as long as a decent enough actor is there cloaking the truth, it is a fairly interchangeable role. Jones could have been played by Finney, Cox or Strathairn and little would have changed. Hell, it would have been more fun to cast Seth Rogen, just to see what happened. There are also little beats that don’t work as well as they did before. While amazingly opening up one of the supporting characters, the ending to this movie doesn’t hold a candle to Ultimatum’s epilogue. Story-wise, Jason Bourne didn’t impress me enough. However, when we step away from the story and embrace the action, Jason Bourne is bloody good. As much as we can criticise the narrative, it matters very little when Greengrass’s direction take hold. The new beat here is bringing one of the assets to the foreground, an assassin with a personal vendetta against Bourne, making him more than the nameless baddies that came before. There are several great fight-scenes that breathe life into the movie. A pulse-pounding chase in Athens amidst a riot is Greengrass quality. London features once again, in a great set-up that shows not only Bourne’s prowess, but the other characters. It also features a painfully brutal fall off a building that Greengrass’s direction helps you imagine every punch, collision and bruise. Finally, we get the finale in Vegas, which throws everything at the pot in true Bourne fashion. Ultimatum might steal the best set-ups the franchise has, but Jason Bourne will have something you like. There is a fist-fight involving household items, evading government officials and the car chase to end all car chases. In conclusion: yes, I am happy this film was made.
Final Verdict: It might seem forced in terms of story, but the action makes up for it with Greengrass at his best.