Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) returns from the shadows and once again he is being hunted by the CIA. This time Bourne is trying to find out information on a special Black Ops mission which cost his father’s life. Meanwhile, business tycoon Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) is about to introduce this super special social media platform which will have over a billion users. Naturally, the CIA see this a valuable resource for gathering intel.
Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon were probably the guys that made the Bourne franchise as popular as it is, Damon’s brooding performance and impressive physique was perfect for the role and Greengrass’ frantic style of filmmaking would become highly influential. Greengrass’ frantic and exciting style of capturing the action influenced a high number of action films, such as the Taken franchise and even the most recent Bond films. The gaping hole that was left in The Bourne Legacy due to the absence of Damon and Greengrass was sorely felt as the film felt flat, but for this installment they make their return.
Whist the latest Jason Bourne film (simply titled Jason Bourne) is perhaps the weakest of three Bourne films where Damon and Greengrass worked together their return is still a welcome one. Obviously, a lot has changed since 2007 (the date the pair made their last Bourne film) and those changes are mirrored with Edward Snowdon’s whistleblowing scandal and the increasing suspicion of government surveillance playing a major role in dictating the direction the story takes. The tension and battles between characters is well done with newcomer Hannah Lee (a surprisingly weak Alicia Vikander) clashes with CIA head Robert Dewey (a typical gruff Tommy Lee Jones performance) being one of film’s better subplots.
The return of Greengrass also marks a return for some impressive set pieces, two set pieces in particular are notable despite being good for different reasons. The protest sequence in Athens is far more grounded than the film’s finale in Las Vegas and for that reason the sequences in Athens bristles with tension and genuine excitement. The action sequence in Vegas is enjoyable simply for the fact it doesn’t really hold anything back but it sticks out from the more grounded sequences that Bourne franchise was known for.
The film does suffer from the feeling that the edges feel rather unpolished, there’s far too many conveniently named folders and documents (what’s also convenient is that an encrypted USB stick had a helpful ‘encrypted’ label written on it) making for a rather clunky and clumsily written film. Even more hilarious is the idea that you can use SQL to corrupt a database (though you can use a SQL injection) which is quite frankly one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Applying realism on such things to Hollywood films is futile, but one should expect a script that isn’t quite so flimsy and lacking in intelligence regarding the finer details of the subject matter it is dealing with.
Yet, that said, it pelts along at 100 MPH for two hours and never leaves time for boredom to sneak in.