“Jason Bourne” slides right back into the style of the Bourne films, meeting audience’s expectations — but not exceeding them.
Even though Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) would rather be left alone, he finds a new mission, which means it’s time for our hero to be Bourne again.
If you can’t remember who Jason Bourne is, that’s all right, because he has only just remembered himself. And his past has resurfaced thanks to a tip from an old friend, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). But when Bourne digs into his past, some bodies start to show up — bodies that CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) would like to see stay buried.
Dewey agrees to accept the help of an up-and-coming agent ready to prove herself, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander). This time, Dewey wants Bourne stopped for good.
“Jason Bourne” has all the characteristics of previous Bourne films: hand-held cameras that give shaky action scenes; fast editing; the music; spy gadgets; guns; snipers; eavesdropping; computer hacking; cellphones; cameras and tracking devices. It feels exactly like a Bourne film, which satisfies the audience by giving them exactly what they want. While it may feel familiar, it’s been long enough since the last Bourne ride that it doesn’t get too tedious.
The plot, on the other hand, is a different story. Some too-long scenes leave viewers shifting in their seats, awaiting the next move. It also has fewer hand-to-hand fight scenes, which were always a fun opportunity to see Bourne use something as simple as a newspaper or ballpoint pen to end a baddie’s life. “Jason Bourne” focuses more on less-thrilling gun shootouts and car chases.
The plot isn’t as tight as it could be. There are two story lines going on at once, and the end doesn’t connect them in a way that makes sense. Fully comprehending the plot would likely require a second viewing. Some of the confusion is due simply to the twisty-turny motives of the characters.
And speaking of characters, pairing old cast members (like Dewey, who has experience with Bourne), with newcomers (like Lee, who’s having her first Bourne rodeo) makes for a complicated dynamic that creates some fun scenes for the audience.
“Jason Bourne” doesn’t offer anything new to the Bourne franchise, just more of the same old, same old. It’s not the strongest contender, either, because of the plotting issues. But it has enough of the elements that make the Bourne series worth watching, even if you opt to wait for the DVD release.