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USD $1 ₱ 56.96 0.0000 September 29, 2023
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While Still Entertaining, ‘Jason Bourne’ Doesn’t Feel Necessary

This film can't provide the rush of discovery that fueled the previous movies, but it is still an intense, energetic spy movie that ought to satisfy franchise fans.

Jason Bourne picks up with the titular character (Matt Damon) off the grid in Greece, working out his issues in an underground fighting ring. His old ally, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) makes contact with him, delivering information on a new CIA black ops project, and new details regarding Project Treadstone and the circumstances by which Bourne ended up in the program. The former assassin comes out of hiding to once again uncover the truth, pursued at every turn by CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), and ambitious young agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), who seems to have her own agenda.

This new installment in the Bourne series is basically about maintaining the status quo. Given what the main character accomplished in the last three movies, one would think that things might have substantially changed in the CIA. But they're really as nefarious as ever, doing all manner of shady things in the name of protecting the free world. And Bourne, already having remembered his past, is suddenly presented with new details that he can't quite remember. This film can't provide the rush of discovery that fueled the previous movies, but it is still an intense, energetic spy movie that ought to satisfy franchise fans.

To the film's credit, the story takes on more contemporary issues. It isn't so much about the ethics of employing killers to keep the world safe. Its central issue is about online surveillance, the movie clearly taking inspiration from recent debates about the sort of access government agencies should be granted into various Internet services. But the film's stab at relevance is halfhearted at best. The movie presents a strong stance, but the resolution doesn't reflect its thinking. In the end, this film is the basic mechanics: a super spy evading capture while trying to uncover some secrets.

To that extent, the movie is fairly entertaining. There isn’t much that’s new; the film is still mostly about people trying to meet up in public spaces while under surveillance and trying to disappear into crowds so they can talk in person. Bourne is still mostly hiding in plain sight, using a variety of means to distract his pursuers from his main objectives. And he’s still always just one step ahead. None of it is novel, but even in repetition these elements can be tense and captivating.

Paul Greengrass returns as director, bringing with him his signature shooting style. The shaky camera certainly isn’t for everyone, but Greengrass has always been able to use it well. He somehow manages to keep the action coherent even as the images get more and more chaotic. Matt Damon is never anything less than a professional. He gives the lead character touches of vulnerability, making him much more than just the ultimate spy. Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander play his pursuers, and there is an interesting dynamic built between the two of them.


Jason Bourne doesn’t feel entirely necessary. The franchise told a pretty complete story in the original trilogy. This installment doesn’t really add a whole to that narrative, the film seemingly built to just get the lead character out of hiding and open the door for future stories. But there are still moments that might remind one of the exhilaration that those first movies brought. It is still fueled by the pure momentum of its capable lead character heading into dangerous situation and systematically working his way out. It isn’t nearly as revelatory in 2016, but it’s still kind of fun.

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Jason Bourne
Action, Thriller
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