Thursday, July 28, 2016

Movie Review: Jason Bourne

The latest installment in the Bourne series boasts an impressive cast, interesting locales, and simple straightforward story. Fans looking for an action-packed spy thriller should find some satisfaction in this spectacle but the formula comes off as too familiar and the plot feels overly predictable. Matt Damon reprises his role as the eponymous Jason Bourne after taking off the last episode. Bourne has grown up with the actor who betrays him, he's upset about the revelation in Ultimatum and punishing himself by participating in fistfights. 

The only character to return from the previous films is Nicky (Julia Stiles) but she serves as the trope of woman sacrifice to bring back Bourne from his apathetic brawling phase. Some of the acting during their scenes feels phoned in. The only other woman in the film is the spymaster Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) who relentlessly chases Bourne but also realizes there is something wrong with the evil government men in suits for whom she works. Her accent felt strange to me, I wasn't sure if she was going for an American accent or keeping her own. 

CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) leads the men in suits substituting for the other old man before him. Following the formula, they have Ato Essandoh playing Craig Jeffers, a second in command willing to help with the nefarious government cover up. The story has evolved alongside the character and focuses on an up and coming tech developer Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) and our current fears of privacy. The Asset also shows up, they have to have  a cold-blooded killer as a semi-recognizable actor. Vincent Cassel takes on this role, an actor I've alway enjoyed watching but have felt has never got the roles he deserves.

The young cast and stellar directing of Paul Greengrass can't save the sloppy script. There are a lot of dialogue points that simply push the plot towards the final action scene, the one they flashed on the trailer pre-release and most likely through the next week. The Vegas car chase after several other action set pieces was pretty satisfying and makes the two hours spent in the theater worth it. However, even the chase feels like a similar ploy from Supremacy and Ultimatum.

The movie takes the cookie cutter formula and squirts out another edition trying to add a little twist to make the movie more personal. The routine had already felt played out two movies ago and the filmmakers don't try hard to make anything new with this opportunity. Actions fans will be satisfied and I'll be curious if the box office allows for a sequel, the ending certainly left it open for one. I don't mind the Bourne series but I think this is a fine point to end and wouldn't be super excited to see another. 

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