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USA 2016
Directed by
Paul Greengrass
123 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Jason Bourne

Synopsis: After  years in hiding Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) resurfaces just as his former employers are implementing a new covert program designed to keep America safe.

Skipping over the misfire that was The Bourne Legacy (2012) in which Bourne/Damon was replaced by Jeremy Renner's character, Paul Greengrass’s film picks up where The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) left off.  

In style and content Greengrass has remade his 2007 film, a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. Tommy Lee Jones replaces David Strathairn as the CIA operations chief fixated with hunting down Bourne and Alicia Vikander replaces Joan Allen as a sympathetic gal on the inside (Julia Stiles returns for a while as Nicky Parsons) but it’s the same unstoppable Bourne vs The CIA game with lots of urgent, tough-assed, jargon-laden talk, hi-tech equipment and cutaways to data downloading on, globe-hopping locales, brutal fisticuffs (showing a remarkable lack of imagination Bourne has apparently been making a living all this time as a bare-knuckle fighter), executions by gunfire and spectacular real-life stuntwork.  The latter is the most impressive with the standouts being a motorbike pursuit through the riot-torn streets of Athens (Tenerife actually) and an awesome set-piece in which Bourne in a black sedan pursues his nemesis, a CIA assassin (Vincent Cassel), in an armoured SWAT vehicle though the heart of Las Vegas. For sheer destructiveness (170 cars were destroyed in the process) there’s the price of your ticket right there.

If that’s what you go to the cinema for, Greengrass’s film delivers although unlike The Bourne Ultimatum the hand-held camera work and fast editing feels overdone whilst the over-arching theme of total social surveillance is too contrived to have much effect. Damon, who has aged markedly since his first fresh-faced appearance (seen many times here on computer screens) in 2002, needless to say delivers a humanity not usually seen in an action hero and it's easy to root for him. Vikander is an odd choice to play an ambitious CIA agent, her delicate presence is better suited to more gracious settings and one can only hope she returns to more thoughtful work. Jones is in familiar territory as the reptilian CIA manager.

All up, however, the oddly unimaginatively titled film is more of the same with a bigger budget.  Did we need it? No.  Will there be more?  The ending sets us up to expect so, but frankly I’m done with Jason Bourne. 




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