Much like Ethan Hunt and James Bond, James Bourne is one of those invincible guys that just keeps on going; an unstoppable movie force that execs have no problem resurrecting. Using his steely gaze and focused demeanour for good (sort of) Bourne is back in this new self-titled endeavour, searching for more truths from his past (although at this point, how many more secrets can you realistically unearth?) Also back to save us from Jeremy Renner’s disappointing outing in The Bourne Legacy, is Matt Damon as he tries to redeem the Bourne franchise and deliver a contemporary action film of Rogue Nation standard. Needless to say, there’s a lot to accomplish this time around.
Set a decade after his disappearance at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) returns with the help of Nikki Parsons (Julia Stiles), as he attempts to discover information about his past that has been brought to light. Unfortunately for Bourne, Operation Ironhand is attempting to hunt him down and exterminate, led by Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), the CIA Director, who has enlisted an asset to help (Vincent Cassel). The film also stars Academy Award winning Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee, a CIA agent who is eager to bring Bourne in, instead of killing him.
What Bourne excels in is the fundamentals of its genre – the breath-taking, thrilling action sequences that audiences have come to expect – executed with precision in the hands of director Paul Greengrass and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd. The latter takes great care in transporting you to the heat of the action, with visceral, in-your-face shots that capture the agility and immediacy of the scenes and its actors superbly. Whether it’s on the back of Bourne’s rickety motorcycle, in the swift movements of deadly falls or trailing behind an intense car chase, Ackroyd and Greengrass know how to assimilate an audience into the fabric of a movie. Without a doubt these action sequences – particularly the Athens Protest scene, and the ending Vegas chase – are the best feature of the film, and should be commended for their sublime execution. Truly, the locations and sets used rival Skyfall, with Jason Bourne showcasing the alluring and mysterious destinations that make action and spy films so enthralling.
Fortunately, Matt Damon excels in his signature role as the cool-headed, deadpan assassin who you can’t quite predict. Regardless, Damon brings a sense of believability to a character whose feats are above all, ridiculous and mind-blowing, and in anyone else’s hands, Bourne would melt into a meagre, forgettable puddle. One of the more promising characters from the original series also returns – Julia Stiles’ Nikki Parsons. Although prepare yourself for her quick exit, this proving to be one of the more frustrating elements of the film. As a rare, complex character, she is reduced to a jerk-reactionary character that is used to fuel Bourne’s venture back into a world he so adamantly swore off entering again. It’s lazy at best, and a travesty at worst. The film attempts to compensate you by introducing another female counterpart – this time played by Alicia Vikander – Heather Lee, who admittedly, Vikander manages to make relatively interesting, but she’s not given much to work with. Aside from Bourne himself, the movie fails to introduce any solid characters that have more than an initial impact, although it does a rather impressive job at covering this up with explosive action, so you have to give them props for that.
While the plot itself is a little predictable, Jason Bourne tries its best to remain familiar to audiences with its classic musical score, and key stylistic elements, whilst also introducing itself as something fresh and invigorating, that isn’t simply a rehash of former Bourne outings. For the most part, the film succeeds in being engaging and different, while also maintaining its familiarity, even if it missteps at quieter periods in the film.
However, in this particular ultimatum, Jason Bourne manages to reign supreme and regain his former identity (see what we did there), proving to be a compelling and relevant action hero amidst several competent competitors. You can rest easy and rely on Jason Bourne to fulfil your unsatisfied action cravings, despite a few expected flaws.
JASON BOURNE IS OUT IN CINEMAS NOW!