After the Jeremy Renner powered offshoot a few years ago, director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon are back for another installment in the action packed Bourne franchise.
Ten years after the events that left us with a government conspiracy unveiled and Jason Bourne presumed dead once again, we find the troubled hero hiding out in a remote European city. He would have stayed there too except that his former cohort, Nicky (Julia Stiles), somehow tracks him down just to try to convince him that there are more secret whistles that need blowing, and that he needs to blow them. And then everything falls apart.
The thing about the Bourne movies is that they always felt believable. Yes, they are action movies with secret agents and elite killers, but it was always easy to suspend disbelief. The fights felt real. The situations were plausible. Things kept a sense of logic about them. Jason Bourne is James Bond for the real world. Not anymore. Jeremy Renner and his chems from the previous movie are infinitely more believable than half of what goes down here. From one punch knockouts, to feats of technology I would defy anyone to reproduce in a perfect lab setting, to a main character (Alicia Vikander) whose motivations make less sense than the CIA chief discussing secret conspiracies in the middle of a busy DC restaurant.
Once one of cinema’s undeniable intelligent badasses, Bourne makes decisions here that are far from clever, and other than a few key moments does nothing to earn that reputation. In fact, we almost never see any evidence that Jason Bourne is actually one of the most elusive, clever, and skilled rogue assassin this world has ever seen. Instead, we are told over, and over, and over again how awesome he is by every other character in the movie. Most of the time he does uselss or naive things while being terribly predictable. This is not the Jason Bourne I know.
Damon can play this role in his sleep and is still perfectly acceptable here. Everyone else around him is not. The only thing more wooden than Stiles acting is Vikander’s facial expression (singular), with her forced American accent just a bit more awkward than Tommy Lee Jones is in general here. weak, awkward, and making no sense, everything about this movie screams pointless sequel, even if it so desperately wants to make a point. What that actually is, that’s anyone’s guess.
The meat of the story here is essentially that the evil government secretly has their hands in a massive facebook on steroids type venture (it’s never actually made clear just what this social media something or other is). Greengrass and his writers have attempted to make the story socially relevant by pulling Bourne into current events, but instead he is yanked there with all the grace of a scared donkey tied to a young child’s loose tooth, with even messier results. Buzzwords are dropped at an alarming rate as if the script was generated by pulling out somewhat connected memes off a facebook feed. Privacy something here, a namedrop of Snowden there, and boom we have a plot that will get all the kids talking.
Despite a weak plot that makes little sense, with characters who have little logical motivation, and technological accuracy of 1995’s Hackers, a movie like this could be fun at least with some great action scenes and memorable moments. This movie is weak in both departments. There are about two decent action scenes if I’m being generous, and no moment sticks out to me as being especially fun except perhaps at the very beginning.
Also, Mr. Greengrass – may I ask you to tone down the shaky-cam? It’s like J.J. Abrams’ lens flares all over again.
I didn’t hate everything about it, and the very end is actually rather clever and sets up a sequel with a far better premise than this one, but I suggest you catch it at home down the road and then only if you want to be caught up for the seemingly inevitable Bourne 6.
Mrs. Hamster did not screen this film
Brother Hamster says:
“It was OK, but I don’t think anyone involved in this movie knows how technology works.”
My rating: Two out of five hats