Movie Review: Jason Bourne (2016)

Posted: January 28, 2017 in Action, Drama
Tags: , ,


Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is no longer suffering from amnesia and is off the grid, making a living by fighting illegally in Greece.  Former CIA analyst Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) is now working with hacktivist Christian Dussault (Vinzenz Kiefer) in Iceland.  Nicky hacks files related to the Treadstone operation, and finds out that Bourne’s father was involved in Treadstone. Nicky and Jason meet during a violent demonstration in Greece, where they are being tailed by a CIA assassin, nicknamed the Asset. (Vincent Cassell)  The asset shoots Nicky, but Jason escapes to Berlin to meet Dussalt.  In Berlin, Jason learns that ex-CIA agent Malcolm Smith (Bill Camp) was intimately involved in Operation Treadstone.  In London, Jason meets Smith, all the while being followed by The Asset.  As the chase continues, divisions grow between CIA director Dewey, (Tommy Lee Jones) and his protégé Heather Lee. (Alicia Wikander )  Lee believes she can bring Bourne back to the CIA without violence, while Dewey wants Bourne dead or alive.

While tailing Bourne, CIA Director Dewey is also meeting with tech wiz Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) founder of Deep Dream.  Kallor says that Deep Dream is all about internet privacy, but if that’s true, why is he talking to Dewey?  What does Jason learn from Malcolm about Treadstone and his father’s involvement in Treadstone?  Does The Asset find Jason Bourne?

Jason Bourne doesn’t give the audience much for continuity.  The last time Bourne was seen he was swimming away, the movie doesn’t say how he got to Greece.  It’s just an article of faith that he does get away.  There are element of this movie that are interesting, the personal aspect of Bourne’s fight, the involvement of his father, the re-emergence of Nicky Parsons, the distancing of Bourne from the hacker character.  Bourne is not interested in bringing down the CIA, even though he could.  I liked that aspect of the movie.  There are things I didn’t like about the plot, the illegal fighting scene seemed to be more a vanity scene than integral to the plot.  Also the sub-plot with Dewey and Kalloor was underdeveloped, and really seemed unnecessary, and the ending was left open-ended, for yet another sequel, which will happen, because of the commercial success of this movie.

Matt Damon is perfectly suited to play Jason Bourne, the stoic action hero.  Damon uses the economy of words to his advantage, when he speaks it commands attention.  He’s very much in the Clint Eastwood mold in the Bourne movies, he doesn’t say much, but his character acts when necessary.  He’s one of the few people who can play an intelligent action hero.  It’s nice to see Julia Stiles again, she and Damon have a nice onscreen chemistry.  Tommy Lee Jones plays the CIA Director as a no-nonsense gritty character who gets the job done whatever means necessary, something about him playing people in positions of authority, just makes sense.  Alicia Vikander is an interesting addition, her character is not going by the book here, she wants to bring Bourne in alive, but she also wants to impress the CIA director. Vikander walks the tightrope well, but the accent she uses is odd. Riz Ahmed doesn’t fare well here, because the role is underwritten.

The direction is superb, this is first and foremost an action film, and it works as an action film, despite underdeveloped characters and continuity plot holes. Director Paul Greengrass  who’s directed all four of these films knows this territory well, and keeps the action surging forward.  There are two big action scenes one in Greece, one in Las Vegas, and Greengrass keeps the pacing quick enough to keep the movie interesting enough to get to the big Vegas action scene.  He gets mostly good performances from the top-notch cast.  Greengrass also directed United 93, and Captain Phillips, two great movies in their own right.

Jason Bourne:  The action hero born again.


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