Bourne is back, kicking ass and taking names in the latest film in the epic spy series Jason Bourne.
It’s been nine years since Bourne Ultimatum wrapped up the story of Jason Bourne, an amnesiac CIA agent embroiled in the murky world of international espionage on a desperate mission to discover who he is.
And while Ultimatum ended with Bourne seemingly walking away into the sunset, content with his lot in life, the studio – much like the fictional CIA of the film – weren’t going to let a killer franchise like this simply disappear.
So, after a failed attempt to reboot Bourne with Jeremy Renner in Legacy, the real Bourne, Matt Damon, is back along with the series regular writer/director Paul Greengrass.
The pair are a winning combo, crafting an intricate and well thought out thriller that updates Bourne for the modern world, while retaining the bone-crunching and brutal spirit of the older films.
Jason Bourne is a triumph and a return to form for the series after the somewhat lacklustre Bourne Legacy, and I put that down to the combined efforts of Damon and Greengrass.
In promotional material for the film and interviews, Damon gushes about his director saying he’s always up for working with him and the opposite appears to be true as well.
It’s obvious from what’s on the screen that Greengrass gets the best out of Damon, while the physicality of the Bourne character gives Greengrass room to be visually creative as a director.
A perfect example would be the motorbike chase in this film, it’s a wonderful piece of cinema full of tension and drama without going overlong or feeling forced. The majority of the action in the film feels like this.
Combine this with a wonderfully talented cast including Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassell and returning star Julia Stiles, and you’ve got a recipe for a cracking spy thriller.
Unfortunately, much like Bourne himself, the film isn’t without its weaknesses and the most glaring one in my opinion is that the film never shakes the feeling that it’s a bit ‘tacked on’.
By which I mean the story of Jason Bourne was perfectly wrapped up in the last trilogy. This film, while still tense and fun, feels slightly extraneous – especially the villains (Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel).
To borrow a video game metaphor, they feel like the bad guys in an expansion pack. Sure, they’re cool enough and they make sense in the world, they just fail to be as engaging as more established villains.
That aside though, Jason Bourne is a fantastic thriller that’ll impress fans of the series and newbies alike.