The defective Spy returns in another outing. After the disaster that was The Bourne Legacy Matt Damon returns to the role of Jason Bourne, the CIA asset that went awry and undid the programming that made him into the most effective killing machine in the world. This time around Bourne has put aside his need to find out about his life and is just trying to survive as a fighter in the underground bare knuckle scene. Sure he’s still having the flashbacks about being a killer and is haunted by the reasons for his choosing the life of the ultimate killer, but he knows that he’s probably already got all the answers that are out there. When a familiar face returns into his life it sets off another hunt for a different truth.
The good thing here about Jason Bourne is that they’ve moved this character on, they’ve shown a development of the base character that is different from the other movies that star Damon. We’ve got no mention of the Jeremy Renner character from Legacy, which is good in a way as that film was just awful. I couldn’t find one person in the run up to seeing this press show that actually watched Legacy, or would admit to it, and some even asked if I was sure I didn’t just make it up. I do like the three Damon films as they show a movement in the characters dynamic. They also tap into that thing where you wonder if you are a highly trained killing machine just waiting to be activated.
Here Writer/Director Paul Greengrass has brought current news issues into the script with a hint of the Wikileaks and Government looking to have access to our internet usage information. It gives a little more to the film and makes you wonder about what is going on behind the scenes of the news stories in reality. Matt Damon returns to the character who was fresh-faced in Identity and shows that the life he’s been trying to recover since being found in the sea has taken a serious toll on his body. Damon can play this role in his sleep at this point and it’s more of the same. In fact the phrase more of the same is more relevant here than you can imagine. The problem is that there is nothing new and the film suffers for it.
As usual for the Damon Bourne’s the cast around him are excellent with Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, and Vincent Cassel joining in. I’m getting a little tired of Hollywood underusing Vincent Cassel as the evil European villain type as he’s proven time and time again in European productions that he can act, and if you don’t believe me then watch Mon Roi. Julia Stiles returns to the story again and does a great Diane Lane impression. The camera work and dialogue is on par with the rest of the series. But that is the trouble. There is no innovation. There is nothing that will let this film be different in your mind from any of the other Damon films. At this point we should be seeing some form of crossroads for the character, but it’s like the 1970’s and 1980’s James Bond Movies, you know everything is going to be fine in the end.
What lifts this film into a three out of five rather than a two out of five, which I struggled to justify, but it’s getting the three, is the final fight scene between Cassel and Damon. This has to be the most brutal and well done fight scene in any of these Bourne movies. You just feel every punch, kick, and crunch.
When Damon said he was going to return to the role of Bourne I held out hope for the series but really feel let down now. It’s a fine action film. It’s okay to kill two hours of your time if you liked the original trilogy of Damon Bourne films. It is better than Legacy, sorry Hawkeye but it was awful. But it’s not the film that will justify, at least in my mind, any future Bourne films. It may be time that we all forget about Jason Bourne.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writers: Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse, Robert Ludlum
Stars: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander