Jason Bourne (Damon) is living in exile scraping out an existence as a bareknuckle boxer. After a hack against the CIA’s database by former contact Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) the organisation believes that Bourne is going after them. Agency operative Heather Lee (Vikander) and director Robert Dewey (Jones) attempt to put him down for good.
Endings are a tricky thing. We’ve all seen plenty of films that just can’t stick to the ending, which makes it so great when you get one that hits perfectly. The Bourne Ultimatum had an ending that wrapped up the trilogy so well and cleanly that to attempt to add anything else afterwards is a foolhardy act. So going in to Jason Bourne, you wonder: have they found something worth coming back for? The answer, unfortunately, is not really. The plot is a little limp. Treadstone rears its ugly head again as Parsons tries to make it public but instead turns up a little more of Bourne’s past. This time it’s the mystery of his father and his involvement in the program, something which hasn’t bothered Bourne before. Really it’s just an excuse to get Bourne back. The action is as good as usual. Though there isn’t anything as memorable as the Waterloo Station scene from Ultimatum or the improvised weapon fights from Supremacy and Ultimatum the film does still entertain as Bourne evades capture during a protest that turns in to a riot in Rome and when he sets up a meeting in London. Greengrass is an expert at this stuff now, staging with confidence, making entertaining and coherent action scenes while keeping the action grounded in realism. The hits feel like they hurt.
Time has moved on since the last proper Bourne film and so has technology. This time the CIA aren’t just tracking you through thousands of CCTV cameras, they are now in your computers and phones. This new age is represented by the young agency operative Heather Lee, an ambitious and highly skilled agent who is an expert in digital technology, and Aaron Kalloor, a rock star tech genius and the creator of a popular social media company. Unfortunately, despite them being played by the wonderfully talented Alicia Vikander and Riz Ahmed, Lee is fairly dull and her intentions hazy and Kalloor is more of a theme than a character who only registers on the fringes of the story. The rest of the cast fair a bit better. Vincent Cassel is perfectly cast as an asset with a vendetta against Bourne and Tommy Lee Jones, with his face like a landslide, joins Albert Finney, Brian Cox and David Straitharn as the ruthless older men who run the show, patriots who will protect their country even if it means killing at a moment’s notice. Jason Bourne is synonymous with Matt Damon now and he wears his weariness and assassin skill with ease.
Jason Bourne has some good moments and it’s bolstered by the skilled direction from Greengrass and Damon’s strong performance but it never convinces you that there is a reason for its existence.
JASON BOURNE / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: PAUL GREENGRASS / SCREENPLAY: CHRISTOPHER ROUSE, PAUL GREENGRASS / STARRING: MATT DAMON, TOMMY LEE JONES, ALICIA VIKANDER, VINCENT CASSEL / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 28TH