Jason Bourne (2016)

When we first met Jason Bourne (an amazing-to-think-it 14 years ago) he was dragged from the ocean, shot up and with no recollection of who he was or why his head was full of such handy information as several languages and super-fighting skills. Three films on, he remembers everything – but that doesn’t mean he knows everything.

When former CIA operative turned rogue, Nicky Parsons, uncovers files showing that the Treadstone-like black ops programs aren’t as dead in the water as they’d thought, she tracks down the thoroughly off-the-grid Bourne, assuming he’ll want to help stop it again. But Bourne is a shell of his former self, suffering from PTSD flashbacks and obsessed with staying unnoticed – something that Nicky has just endangered.

While a solid, if frantic, action movie, the fifth (if you include the much-derided The Bourne Legacy, with Jeremy Renner instead of Matt Damon) installment of the Bourne series was rather disappointing compared to the original trilogy, at least. Something is missing – a sense of intrigue, perhaps? Instead, we have a straight chase-fight-action plot, until a few twisty plot threads come in nearer the end. That Bourne has lost a bit of spark is a bit of a downer on the beginning of the movie, and only towards the end does he start to perk up and show an interest in ‘the game’ a little – but even then I couldn’t have cared less about the slightly forced-feeling father storyline, but your mileage may vary.

I did enjoy revisiting the character, and I found it really interesting to see both Bourne (Matt Damon) and Julia Stiles (Parsons) reprising their roles after so long, both having aged and no fake efforts to cover that up. With the new characters, Alicia Vikander always seems a little bland to me, losing much of the emotion to her dialogue with the American accent. She also seemed far too young to be head of any CIA department? Hmm. Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel round out the main cast, both doing their usual fine work, if nothing outstanding.

Plot-wise, we’ve got the very topical privacy in social network data collection, with both sides of a certain argument played out. It largely takes a back seat to the relentless action, meaning I’ll not whine too much about dialogue like, “Use SQL to break their database!” 😉

Biggest complaint from me is probably the camera work, which left me a little nauseous and headachy – not quite at Blair Witch hand-held wobble levels, but still unnecessary, imo.

Overall, though, the Bourne franchise remains fun. If this is a disappointing chapter in the series, I’d suggest that’s because the originals were actually Very Good movies, whereas this is just a good action movie.

Released: 27th July 2016
Viewed: 5th August 2016
Running time: 123 minutes
Rated: 12A

My rating: 6.5/10

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