Jason-Bourne-Movie-Review

The Greatest Hits is never the best album.

Jason Bourne the fourth fifth installment in the Bourne franchise reunites original star Matt Damon with director of The Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum Paul Greengrass. The film plays as a rehash of everything that made Bourne such a smash to begin with, but never really recaptures the quality of the original trilogy.

Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) has been living off the grid since the events of The Bourne Ultimatum. She surfaces at a hacker collective in Iceland, obtaining files linked to Jason Bourne’s origins with Treadstone, the dark CIA sect that created the eponymous assassin.

Parsons attempts to rendezvous with Bourne, but a few mistakes lead to head of the CIA Cyber Division Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) tracking her and Bourne down. New CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) deploys an asset he has stationed in Europe (Vincent Cassel) to track down both Bourne and Parsons and ultimately take them out.

In true Bourne fashion, this plot impetus quickly leads into a series of close-quarters action sequences that play out in several major cities. Eventually, a new CIA program is discovered that involves spying through a social network, but that doesn’t really matter – Jason Bourne exists to do one thing: give Bourne fans the same kind of revolutionary action sequences that made the original trilogy and landmark in the action genre.

From that standpoint, the film really works. The action sequences are vintage Bourne with all the MacGyver-esque fistfight and claustrophobic chase hallmarks that have become synonymous with this franchise. They could have been plucked from any of the previous films, with the only real difference being the locales and the villains. They certainly don’t disappoint.

What does disappoint, though, is the plot that connects the sequences. Diving right back into the “Who am I?” territory of the original film, Bourne tries to take the answers to the initial questions a step deeper, despite ostensibly answering all that needed to be answered in Bourne’s previous adventure. It feels like a poor excuse to make another Bourne film, and it certainly doesn’t fit the anti-bloated-action-movie motif and concern of the original trilogy – these films always went against blockbuster conventions, and now we’re stuck with a flatly plotted excuse to deliver some popcorn fun in the same way sequelitis has already crippled us.

It’s a shame that Jason Bourne couldn’t find a better reason for its existence, because the action is so good (particularly a chase scene down the Las Vegas Strip) that it should be justified by a story that could begin a new trilogy. Instead, it just seems like a passenger on a ride that doesn’t know where it’s going.

Fitting in that the main character of the film series has always felt so lost, but at this stage in the game, it’s time for Jason Bourne to find himself and the film to stop relying on the tropes it supposedly didn’t need any more after The Bourne Ultimatum.

If there’s going to be another Bourne, let’s give him a memory so we can make something memorable.