STARRING: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh, Scott Shepard, Bill Camp, Vinzenz Kiefer, Gregg Henry and Stephen Kunken
The CIA’s most dangerous former operative is drawn out of hiding to uncover more explosive truths about his past.
A decade has past after Operation Blackbriar was exposed and Jason Bourne recovered from his amnesia and vanished without a trance. In the present day, we see Bourne has isolated himself from the world and is making a living taking part in illegal fighting rings. When a former associate finds documents that concern Bourne’s recruitment into the Treadstone program, Bourne is once again pulled back into the radar of CIA, taking him down a path to uncover more explosive truths about his past.
It’s been nine years since The Bourne Ultimatum wrapped up and it seemed set in stone that Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon were to leave Jason Bourne behind with a nicely wrapped up trilogy. It even lead to a spinoff attempt in 2012 with The Bourne Legacy, with Jeremy Renner another asset film audiences had to follow in Aaron Cross. Any attempt of expanding on that character has been benched in the meantime as Greengrass and Damon have returned to cinemas with Jason Bourne and after a lengthy absence is it a worthwhile return?
Jason Bourne has a very solid opening and final act, thanks to the action sequences that take place in those acts. The action/chase sequence taking place in Greece during a violent anti-government protest is incredibly well choreographed, edited and the shooting it at nighttime was a wise choice to make it feel different from the different Bourne films. The Las Vegas car chase, also shot at night, could be argued as the best car chase in the series in how that scene is constructed. In terms of the plots running through the course of this instalment in the Bourne franchise, I personally enjoyed the fact that the asset this time hunting down Jason Bourne had his own personal reasons for it, giving the character more depth compared to previous Assets of old. Matt Damon is as ever solid as ever playing the role of Jason Bourne, while Vincent Cassel gives the Asset here enough flair to stand out from the rest of the new cast members.
The thing is with the fourth instalment in the Bourne story, it sticks to the known formula that came before with Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum and either you can be fine with that sticking to what they know or you can feel bored that after almost a decade waiting, it doesn’t quite have a different flavour to it. Personally in comparison to other Bourne villains that came before, I wasn’t really impressed with Tommy Lee Jones’s character Robert Dewey. The film also manages to waste two of the best young talents around in Alicia Vikander and Riz Ahmed. Alicia Vikander’s character Heather Lee is completely bland and while I’ve enjoyed Vikander in Ex Machina and The Danish Girl (which she is easily the best thing about that film) I just didn’t think she worked here at all. Riz Ahmed has a more thankless role however playing Aaron Kalloor, a CEO of a major social media enterprise who becomes conflicted with letting government agencies, and Robert Dewey in particular, use his social media empire to create real-time mass surveillance on everyone. In terms of other plots going on, at least that was a fresh attempt and yet it’s never fully developed or even resolved come the end of the films runtime so it all fails completely pointless that it was added in. Hell, even the personal flashback/backstory for Jason Bourne feels shoehorned in, considering the fact that we come to part four here with the character and that is suddenly thrown at the audience.
It is definitely the weakest of the Matt Damon Bourne films, though it still has them flashes of excellence with the Greece and Las Vegas sequences that reminded me why I loved the Bourne trilogy to begin with. It’s a shame that none of the new characters besides Vincent Cassel’s Asset stand out and Alicia Vikander and Riz Ahmed in particular are terribly misused. 6/10