Sunday, September 11, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Jason Bourne (2016)

Matt Damon returns as JASON BOURNE (2016), nine years after the release of the last film in the series.

When last seen in THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007), Jason had finally cleared up his amnesia and learned the truth about how he came to be, in essence, a human weapon for the U.S. government.

Since he disappeared into the ocean just after that, Jason has been living "off the grid," apparently surviving by winning cash for taking on all comers in one-sided boxing matches. He's unexpectedly contacted by Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), who's been digging into Jason's past...and that of his father.

Nicky's infiltration of old computer files is immediately noticed by CIA computer specialist Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), and when she alerts CIA chief Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), he loses no time activating an "asset" (Vincent Cassel) to take out both Bourne and Parsons.

Like the CIA's Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) before him, Dewey is a very bad man who secretly trashes Heather's plan to bring Bourne in from the cold.

Some reviewers, such as Leonard Maltin, found JASON BOURNE redundant. But let's face it, aren't all of the films in the saga somewhat similar? When a viewer sits down to watch a Bourne film, it's expected at the outset that we'll be learning bits about Bourne's past while bad CIA actors try to take him out in great-looking European-set chase scenes. And that's exactly what JASON BOURNE delivers...with a chase on the Vegas Strip thrown in for a change of pace!

My reaction fell more in line with that of Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, who found the film "as relevant and contemporary as it is escapist." The issues raised in the film regarding the government tracking our every move -- brought home in part via the cameras enabling the CIA to watch Jason and Nicky's meeting in Greece -- are timely and troubling. Meanwhile the escapism comes in with Bourne's Bond-like ability to survive absolutely anything thrown at him.

Like the other films, the movie's location work is attractive, and I must say I especially enjoyed the completely unrealistic yet totally exciting Vegas chase sequence, with a SWAT truck upending cars up and down the street as though they were Matchbox cars.

I do think they could have tried to find a way to change up Bourne's enemies a bit, as Jones's CIA bigwig trying to take out Bourne was perhaps the film's most repetitive aspect. On the other hand, it's a formula that works. The door was clearly left open at the end for another film, and I'd be interested to know where the story would go next.

It was great to see Stiles again as the agent who over time became sympathetic to Bourne's problems. Vikander was acceptable as the ambiguously motivated CIA employee involved in the case, if lacking in emotional depth under the chilly exterior. I did miss Joan Allen as Pam Landy; she was terrific in the two previous films.

At 123 minutes the film could have been tightened up by a few minutes, as it started to feel sluggish towards the end, but for the most part it's another exciting couple of hours in the company of Jason Bourne.

JASON BOURNE was directed and cowritten by Paul Greengrass, who directed all but the first Bourne film. It was filmed by Barry Ackroyd.

Parental Advisory: JASON BOURNE is rated PG-13 for intense violence and brief strong language. It's not particularly bloody, but children may be troubled by a death and the offhanded way the CIA killer "offs" absolutely anyone in his path.

Reviews of the previous Jason Bourne films: THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002), THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004), and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007).


Blogger Jerry E said...

One long breathless chase! I enjoyed it quite a lot. Matt Damon is one of just a few actors today that get me to the cinema - Tom Hanks and George Clooney are two others. They can be relied on for solid entertainment generally.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jerry,

I was wondering what you thought and glad to know you enjoyed it also! It was an entertaining afternoon at the movies. :)

Best wishes,

4:25 PM  

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