ROGUE WAVE

August 3, 2016
by
2 mins read

Matt Damon said he would not come back to the Bourne franchise unless Paul Greengrass, The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (’07) director, also returned. Accordingly, both are back for Jason Bourne, but the real question for us is: Is the movie worth the nine-year wait?

For the most part, yes. The action is tense and exciting, and the story smartly brings Bourne (Damon) into 2016 while illuminating previously unknown facts about his past (including his real name!). This isn’t the best movie the franchise has offered (that’s Supremacy), but it’s a worthy successor that of course opens the door for more to come.

If you haven’t seen the earlier Bourne films, starting with The Bourne Identity (2002), they are a must prior to seeing Jason Bourne. In fact, re-watch them — if you don’t, you’ll be lost in the early stages here, wondering why the CIA is after Bourne, why he went rogue, etc. Making matters worse is Bourne’s lack of a clear motive for his actions, which is the fault of co-writers Christopher Rouse and Greengrass. The viewer should never wonder why a protagonist is doing what he’s doing, and if the filmmaker chooses to deliberately withhold that information, there better be a darn good payoff (sadly, there isn’t).

The globe-trotting film hits Greece, Iceland and Virginia in the first 10 minutes: Rogue agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), long affiliated with Bourne, hacks the CIA for classified information on black ops programs, including the one that wiped out Bourne’s memory. She intends to meet Jason in Greece and share the info with him and the rest of the world — Edward Snowden-style — but the CIA, specifically cyber specialist Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) and Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones, scowling as usual), are hot on their trail. Dewey even dispatches an assassin (Vincent Cassel) to kill them before they leave Greece. Meanwhile, Dewey tries to bully a tech entrepreneur (Riz Ahmed) into sharing his users’ social media data with the government, which brings to mind contemporary issues of privacy and intrusive surveillance.

As usual with this franchise, the action is quick and impactful, edited with rapid cuts to convey a sense of chaos and peril. The fistfights are expectedly raw and gritty, but it’s the car chases through Greece and Las Vegas that viewers will remember, and rightfully so. The sequence in Vegas is especially abusive to the strip and the poor patrons foolish enough to drive on it (you’re not supposed to think of the civilian fatalities this kind of reckless driving most definitely causes), but it’s also directed with precision and ends in a startlingly creative manner.

It’s fun to see Matt Damon back in this role and it’s enjoyable to watch him uncoil the layers of Bourne’s mysterious past. A few head-scratching moments aside, Jason Bourne delivers on its promises.

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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