30 minutes into “Jason Bourne” (Matt Damon’s franchise return) and I thought one thing: all Bourne movies are the same movie.
Set years after “Ultimatum” and “Legacy” (and with no mention of the latter), Bourne resurfaces after the CIA suspects his involvement in a Snowden-esque hacking incident. Bourne meanwhile, discovers the truth about his father and seeks revenge.
I’m not the biggest Bourne fan, but I enjoy the movies for a few reasons. Matt Damon is a badass spy, Paul Greengrass does well with shakycam filmmaking (a style I hate), and they usually have enough thrills and ideas to keep me intrigued. “Jason Bourne” lacks the ideas because it follows the same formula as “Supremacy” and “Ultimatum.”
SPOILERS OF THIS AND PREVIOUS BOURNE MOVIES AHEAD!
In “The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” and “Jason Bourne,” you can follow this structure:
Act One – The CIA discovers Jason Bourne in hiding and when they attempt to kill him, they instead kill an acquaintance or loved one.
Act Two – Bourne spends a lot of the movie quietly staring when he’s not kicking ass or discovering secrets.
Act Three – Bourne discovers the big secret of the movie, escapes, and either engages in a brutal fist fight or frenetic car chase afterwards. He then retreats, and queue Moby.
“Jason Bourne” is exactly that, so if you’ve seen one Bourne movie, you sadly don’t need to see this one. It also doesn’t help that the big mystery Bourne’s solving in this one isn’t that compelling. Can Bourne just live quiet off the grid and end the story there?
Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, and Vincent Cassel all respectively excel as the film’s antagonistic CIA director, a stateside analyst who aids Bourne, and a former comrade with a grudge against Bourne. Cassel’s introduction is a badass, dark scene and he once again does well as a menacing villain.
Unfortunately, these characters are all reminiscent of other characters from previous installments played by Chris Cooper (“Identity”), Brian Cox (“Identity” and “Supremacy”), David Straithern (“Ultimatum”), Joan Allen (“Supremacy” and “Ultimatum”), Clive Owen (“Identity”), Karl Urban (“Supremacy”), and Edgar Ramirez (“Ultimatum”).
Okay, so I’m crapping on this movie, but there are some good aspects. Damon is once again on fire as Bourne, even if I’m tired of his story at this point. The action is very good and features one harrowing riot scene and the most brutal fist fight in the entire series (tops “Ultimatum”).
The franchise should have ended with “Ultimatum.” “Legacy” was a daring installment and while I enjoyed it, I knew it wouldn’t be successful. “Jason Bourne” seems like a desperate cash grab that’s simply out of any fresh ideas.