Jason Bourne Movie Review
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You know his name. You know his face. You know his story. Well one of three ain’t bad. After all, professional baseball players end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame with those types of numbers. One thing that this particular movie franchise which is inspired by novels from bestselling author Robert Ludlum has taught us, is that we know only what we’re allowed to know. Talk about compartmentalization, geez. Director Paul Greengrass is back to helm the latest chapter, Jason Bourne, and he wants everyone to know that there’s always more to the story.
The last time we saw Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) was nine long years ago when he was searching for information about his past. Now that I think about it, Universal Pictures missed a huge marketing opportunity of Super Bowl-sized proportions. They should have partnered with Geico for a Bourne themed insurance commercial. I can see/hear it now; Matt Damon appears on the screen shooting and punching his way through a scene while a voice-over of “If you want answers about your shady past, you beat the information out of people. It’s what you do. If you want to save 15% or more on car insurance, you switch to Geico.” plays. That would have been marketing genius.
Anyway back to the plot. Jason Bourne brings back the story of the original character after a nine year hiatus that featured a spin-off movie of sorts called The Bourne Legacy (2012) and starred Jeremy Renner as the main character. To set proper expectations here, don’t plan on seeing his character in a cameo performance or anything. This story is strictly about Jason finally getting to the origins of his past. Of course along the way he will be tracked and hunted like a wild animal while leaving a path of destruction in his wake. Although far off the grid, a familiar face pulls him back in and also inadvertently puts him back on the radar. Former CIA analyst Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) tracks Bourne down to deliver some newly discovered “sensitive” information. Because the government is apparently always watching, flags are raised and plans are put into motion to shut this whole thing down. Unable to walk away again, Bourne decides to stand and shed light on those living in the shadows.
Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips (2013)) is no stranger to the franchise as he also directed The Bourne Supremacy (2004) as well The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Although this is the first time Greengrass has taken on any of the writing duties, that part of the story doesn’t seem to miss a beat. Jason Bourne is definitely a “back to basics” type of project. Anything that you may have liked or loved about the original trilogy has been retained and put on display again in 2016. Even the most popular song from the franchise soundtrack is back with a new updated version. Yes this means that Moby recorded yet ANOTHER version of Extreme Ways.
There are three new key additions to Jason Bourne on the cast front. First up is CIA Director Robert Dewey played by Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black (1997). He aims to bring down the insurgence by those seeking to expose the CIA by whatever means necessary. To that end comes the “Asset” played by Vincent Cassel (Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)) who seems to have a personal vendetta against Bourne. Completing his mission of taking out Bourne seems to be more of a personal matter than a professional one. Finally there’s the tech brain behind the newly led operation. Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina (2015)) is Heather Lee, who is a bright young ambitious mind. She seems to have mind set on how everything should be done. Another subplot to the overall story, that doesn’t directly involve Bourne, centers around a Mark Zuckerberg-type entrepreneur played by Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler (2014)).
Together, this symphony makes sweet suspenseful music along with its star performer, Matt Damon. Some might be hesitant to invest the time and money involved in seeing its flagship star return to the franchise after such a long absence. I can confirm it’s almost as if he never left. Jason Bourne has all of the suspense, action and entertainment that has made it such a solid box office draw over the years. Even if you don’t remember scene for scene what transpired, this latest chapter is done in such a way that, for all intents and purposes, could have been the first movie in the franchise. I say that in a weekend loaded with decent choices this is another selection that you can’t go wrong with.