Jason Bourne (2016)
dir. Paul Greengrass
written by: Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse
starring: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles
2.75 out of 4 stars
Placing nine years between installments pegs limited memorability for series. When that series consists primarily of repeated “running from the government agency that trained me to be a trained killer for the good of country” plots, my allocated memory is on the level of early floppy disks–a few megabytes destroyed by a refrigerator magnet. Matt Damon transitioned from Doug Liman to Paul Greengrass to form a trio of entertaining but ultimately unmemorable action flicks that started his rise to superstardom before relenting the Robert Ludlum character for Jeremy Renner’s single outing.
Reteaming with director Paul Greengrass, teaming with Oscar-winning editor Christopher Rouse on writing duties, picks up with the title character removed from his long term evasive maneuvers. When Bourne hunter turned rogue agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) warns him of another program similar to that which changed his life, it unveils layers of corruption stemming from CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones, in all his gruff glory). Per usual, the globe trotting begins as they tackle, shoot, and daredevil their way through the story.
With absolute minimal dialogue, Damon’s secret agent is provided even less to work with than usual. His most vocal component falls in his interactions with Stiles, rarely an acting dynamo, and this occasion causes both of them to drop the ball. Their dialogue feels forced, and the connection is shaky at best. Fortunately, Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander are given the bulk of the acting for this Bourne movie. Jones, to no surprise juggles the ruthless Dewey with great ease. He hides the character’s dealing for as long as necessary and lets loose when he clearly no longer gives a hoot. Vikander, spare her barely passable American accent, provides her expectedly expert handling as the young CIA agent who has taken lead in attempting to peaceably bring in Bourne. Whether filled with fear or contempt, Vikander is the spotlight in the movie.
Mostly forgettable and then weakest of the Bourne entries, it makes me wonder if they are going to attempt another run at the franchise. Greengrass and Rouse had exceptional fun crafting another action packed movie, and the box office returns have been ample. With Matt Damon’s starpower on the continual rise, it would be no surprise to see yet another Bourne movie cruise (or more likely smash) into theaters. Clearly it’s unnecessary, but what does the movie industry care? They released another Ice Age movie, and who the hell needed that?