Jason Bourne: Movie Review
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From the first few bars of music in the first few seconds of Jason Bourne, nostalgia kicks in. Those notes are forever linked to the mysterious assassin fans loved from the moment they met, the release of the original – The Bourne Identity.
Back in 2002, no one knew Jason Bourne. He didn't even know himself. It was that mystery coupled with the intense action, interesting characters, and intriguing storyline that captured the world's attention.
These 14 years later, Matt Damon returns to the big screen as Jason Bourne (or David Webb or John Michael Kane or whichever alias you like). In this fourth installment (not counting the 2012 Jeremy Renner attempt, The Bourne Legacy), director Paul Greengrass brings Bourne out of hiding.
When ousted CIA IT specialist and ally Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) uncovers highly classified secrets about Bourne's past, attracting the attention of the agency, she coaxes the former assassin out in the open. Concerned for her safety and intrigued by her findings, Bourne meets with her and his presence doesn't go unnoticed by those in the CIA who wish to eliminate him -- once and for all.
Bourne's familiar. He still doesn't say much. Then again, his actions always spoke better than his words. But, he's also different. He's definitely older. And he's even more psychologically preoccupied with the role he played in Treadstone, killing all of those "targets" for the U.S. government. He's not living his life. He's just surviving. Nicky attempts to pull him out of his dark place, but it's not until he's given a new mission -- to root out the truth about his family and the agency's current operations -- that he's himself again. The film shines a light on the real issues of security vs. privacy -- in a fictionalized, heightened, 2-hour timeframe. That and the ever Bourne-esque question: what does it mean to be a patriot?
Unfortunately for Jason Bourne, the new supporting cast isn't as interesting as in installments past. The actors themselves are great, including acting legend Tommy Lee Jones. They give solid performances, but the characters seem less 3-dimensional than previous favorites. This is especially true for the female lead, CIA technology specialist Heather Lee (played by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander). There's an interesting element about her, but she's not as engaging or endearing a character as Franka Potente's Marie and Stiles' Nicky Parsons.
Approach Jason Bourne with caution. Universal Pictures' soon-to-be summer blockbuster is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language. Bourne gets violent. There are intense car chases, one especially destructive one through the streets of Las Vegas. No panoramas of skyscrapers toppling in this one. Just on the street, hand-to-hand, in-your-face combat for which Bourne is known. The stunt team did overtime on this one.
Don't be surprised that this fourth film doesn't measure up to the original. That's a hard move to pull off for any franchise. It doesn't offer us anything truly new, but it does redeem the 2012 movie. Besides all of that, it still manages to stay a cut above some of the other action movies coming to theaters these days.
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