By Christian DiMartino
Jason Bourne has emerged from the shadows once again in, well, Jason Bourne, and my question is: Can’t we just leave this guy alone?
The last time we saw Bourne (Matt Damon, still rocking it even though he has a few years on him now) was nine years ago, in the spectacular The Bourne Ultimatum. It seems as if government officials cannot let this guy rest, even if they think he’s dead. But yet it’s clear that even Damon and director Paul Greengrass (who made Ultimatum, The Bourne Supremacy, and United 93) didn’t want to let this guy rest. But the question is: is his return worth it?
Judging from the mixed response, I suppose that depends. Some say no. Me? I think it is. While it doesn’t live up to the first three films, it’s still a wild thrill ride, benefiting once again from having Damon’s ass-kickery at the helm. Really though, if you liked the films that came before it, I can’t really see much reason to complain, despite its flaws.
Bourne, having faked his death the last time we saw him, has been in hiding. He does random fighting matches. I don’t know. Random. He’s got a good amount of his memory now, but there’s still a few fuzzy details. So, he’s drawn back into the game whenever his old friend, Nicky (Julia Stiles) discovers that his father might’ve had a part in the organization that made Bourne who he is.
And from then on, I won’t say much else, probably because they’ve done their best to keep the plot under wraps. The story though, I’ll say, feels a tad familiar. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen four of these movies already… but anyways, Tommy Lee Jones plays an angry (Tommy Lee Jones? Angry? I’ll be damned) CIA operative on the hunt for Bourne. Recent Oscar winner Alicia Vikander plays another CIA member, but she may or may not be convinced that Bourne is all that bad. And Vincent Cassel plays a dude only known as “Asset,” who is really hellbent on capturing Bourne’s ass.
This does have sort of a Greatest Hits vibe to it, but hey, those hits were pretty great. Jason Bourne works for the same reasons that the first three films did. It’s fast, furious, and whip-smart, featuring another solid outing from Damon, who is a man of few words this time around. In fact, every performance here works. In particular, Jones and Vikander. The action sequences, all plausibility aside, are on target. Greengrass is a great filmmaker, and he manages to even make action look artsy. A bold feat.
Aside from familiarity in story, the only real problem I had with Jason Bourne is a storyline involving a middle eastern guy. What about him? I have no clue. Every time the film would cut to this, my interest would sort of fade. I didn’t know what that was about, and I didn’t care, because it didn’t concern Bourne. Or did it? God knows.
All I know is, Jason Bourne is a good film. Not as good as the masterpiece that was The Bourne Ultimatum, but it’s still better than The Bourne Legacy, that forgettable Jeremy Renner outing. People are complaining, and let me just say: It’s a Bourne movie, that feels like a Bourne movie, and is a good one. Considering how high the bar was raised, I ain’t complaining.