Bourne is back with a bang.
This summer has been pretty underwhelming considering the releases floating about, but the world is back in proper balance with the release of Jason Bourne. Often used as a way of describing a film (“Bourne meets Bond”) for example, the franchise’s influence on cinema today has been huge. Casting Jeremy Renner’s Bourne Legacy to the side, the first three Bourne films were absolutely excellent, and the newest installment is no different.
When the CIA is hacked by a former operative, Jason Bourne is pulled back into play to investigate his past further, and put an end the conspiracy that plagued his entire life. Paul Greengrass has returned to direct Jason Bourne, and well what can I say? Time and time again Greengrass has proved he is a force to be reckoned with; The Bourne Ultimatum and Captain Phillips being two major examples. His frantic, yet focused take makes material that would otherwise be mundane, thrilling. Throughout we are engaged in political issues and drama within the agency.
Then, we’re thrown into intense fist fights, and action packed city chases. Whilst the balance is perfectly acceptable, it certainly leans heavier towards the (stupid) action side. Perhaps this has been to appeal to the masses, but for me, Bourne is about the political conflict, moral issues, and well choreographed, smart action scenes – not a 15 minute chase through Las Vegas.
There’s also a side plot of privacy in the modern age, with the CIA trying to get in with a social media entrepreneur. This does make Bourne much more relevant, but fans will likely see through this, and in turn see a familiar string of events.
Where the film doesn’t fail though is with its lead – Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Damon’s cold, calculating killer certainly hasn’t lost his edge, or any of his appeal. His presence in the film is massively powerful, a force that cannot be compared. The supporting cast does a fantastic job at keeping the film alive without Damon onscreen though. Julia Stiles returns as Nicky Parsons, whilst new cast members Alicia Vikander and Tommy Lee Jones are welcome additions. Whilst some will argue theirs performances are underwhelming, or even wooden, I felt it was just right. This isn’t a time for banter or even romance. This is very much a revenge thriller with political issues thrown in – I ain’t expecting smiles.
Back in 2002, the release of Bourne Identity set off a chain reaction. Realistic, gritty action with smart plots became the in-thing. Jason Bourne feels like a step back in time in some regards, partially forgetting what made the franchise so popular with both adults and even kids like me back in the day. However, there’s still enough substance and sort of realistic action here to call it a successful Bourne – I think anyway.
To sum it up…
Bourne is certainly back with a bang. Despite too much reliance on the impact of over-the-top action scenes, fans of the franchise can relax – this is worth your time. Combining Jason Bourne’s never-ending mission to learn about his past with a relevant, post-Snowden plot is supremely gripping, and part of me hopes this isn’t the last time I’ll hear someone say “Jesus Christ it’s Jason Bourne!”.
What did you think? Was Jason Bourne as good as you expected? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet @film_swot, or hey. even check out our Facebook page!
Author: Cameron Frew