I am a complete novice when it comes the Bourne franchise. I haven’t seen any of the Matt Damon trilogy, nor the Jeremy Renner addition. I’ve always imagined that Bourne was the American answer to James Bond. (that or Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt)
I was fairly apprehensive going into this as the last action-heavy film I saw Matt Damon star in was The Green Zone, which wasn’t that enjoyable. (However, he did The Martian, which was fantastic). Either way, I settled down to Paul Greengrass’ third instalment and the fifth overall of the Bourne franchise.
Greengrass opened the film in possibly the most gripping way possible as Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne is pulled back from the fringes of the Greek border into an anti-austerity rally in Athens by Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). Immediately we are thrown into a quick-paced motorbike chase away from an unnamed asset (played by Vincent Cassell) and the CIA.
Parsons was responsible for a hack on the CIA, which revealed information that they are planning on launching another program similar to the Treadstone one, which Jason Bourne is a product of. Thankfully Jason Bourne has a quick catch-up part for the fools like myself that went into this without prior knowledge.
This hack of course sends the CIA into a meltdown, led by a very haggard Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and his second-in-command Heather Lee. (Alicia Vikander) As this film catches up with Jason Bourne nine years after The Bourne Ultimatum, Paul Greengrass rightly references the changes in the world with the addition of added security from the internet and the impact of social media and the fears of privacy.
Although I am unaware of the previous films, I imagine that they follow a similar cat-and-mouse chase between Bourne and his continual efforts to elude the CIA, but how Greengrass managed to play this out was fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable. Against the backdrops of Athens, London and Las Vegas the film becomes very easy to become lost in quite pleasantly.
As I am fairly new to this franchise, majority of this was fresh to me and thus very enjoyable, but how that it stacks up against the previous four films of the franchise, I cannot comment. The mystery element that surrounds Robert Dewey, his relationship with the Asset and of course his eagerness to overturn and backstab Heather Lee in her mission to bring Bourne in, was rather impressive.
This also helped with the tense scenes throughout he film as I completely unawares what was going to be result of Jason Bourne’s escapades. Jason Bourne is very much on par with the likes of James Bond & Mission Impossible films, as the chase scenes are fantastically done and the mystery surrounding the narrative was well worked throughout.
Admittedly, the Las Vegas tear up scene with ‘The Asset’ in tow was a bit needless, considering the rest of the film didn’t have a large amount of destruction, but from the anticipation building point it was very enjoyable, and of course a chance to see the two slug it out between one another.
I thought the cast did an excellent job, Matt Damon is very much in his element as Jason Bourne especially with Vincent Cassell working opposite to him making for a fantastic duel of fates. This tension between Alicia Vikander and Tommy Lee Jones worked fantastically as they both represented different ages of the CIA, and carried their respective narrative through perfectly.
It has to be said though, it’s outstanding how little Matt Damon actually says in the film.
I am unsure why I’ve never actively pursued watching the Bourne films, but if they hold up anything like Jason Bourne that I eagerly anticipate my catch-up with that franchise. Paul Greengrass’ latest instalment is such an enjoyment to watch, with the correct amount of action and tension throughout the runtime which is a touch over two hours. But that feels like nothing due to sheer enjoyment from the film.
I actually saw this film in the same week as Suicide Squad and Star Trek Beyond. I was astounded leaving the cinema feeling that my best cinema experience in that week was with Jason Bourne.