The new Bourne film, with the uninspired title of Jason Bourne, is essentially a two-hour chase sequence where the camera and the actors rarely stop moving; and that may sound like a plus for a movie in the action-thriller genre, but we’ve seen all of this before and it doesn’t take long for the shaky handheld camera and quick editing technique to go from annoying to sleep-inducing.
With its repetitive template that consists of Bourne walking quickly away from pursuers, then ambushing them and beating the snot out of them, then hijacking a vehicle where a high-speed chase ensues, all in the context of some black ops mumbo- jumbo, this movie could have easily been subtitled “Operation Overkill.”
Bourne star, Matt Damon, and director, Paul Greengrass, were wise to walk away from the Bourne trilogy when they did (after The Bourne Ultimatum), as the non-Bourne Bourne film, The Bourne Legacy, starring Jeremy Renner, was actually a much better movie than this real Bourne film. [And if you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, consider yourself lucky.]
This latest film begins with a sequence ripped straight out of Rambo III, with the forlorn Jason Bourne (Damon) fighting Russian strongmen for money, typically knocking them out with a single blow, unless he’s having a self-loathing episode where he deals with his emotional pain by allowing opponents to beat him silly.
Enter Jason’s old CIA friend, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), who has uncovered information about Bourne’s past, as well as a new black ops operation overseen by CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and his ladder-climbing assistant, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander.)
Nicky plans to get Jason hip to his real history and expose the CIA’s evil social media surveillance operation, but faster than you can say ‘Secret Agent Man’ an assassin (Vincent Cassel) simply called, ‘the asset,’ shows up to make our hero’s life even more difficult.
The acting here is decent across the board, with the always amazing Alicia Vikander being the standout, but the already convoluted story (by Greengrass and his longtime film editor, Christopher Rouse) is so lost in a morass of frantic filmmaking gimmicks that my brain (and eyes) desperately disengaged before the first act was even over.
There were some die-hard Bourne fans at the screening I attended who actually seemed to be enjoying (even applauding) this pretentious and humorless mess of a movie, so maybe it has something going for it that I just didn’t get; but I think most fans will end up filing Jason Bourne under ‘Completely Unnecessary Sequels.’ Grade: 3.5/10
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