Jason Bourne, Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, movie, review

Jason Bourne (2016) – Review

When The Bourne Legacy came along a few years ago, I couldn’t help but wonder why. What was the point in doing Bourne when it wasn’t actually Jason Bourne, but some other agent who was only special because he popped pills? It was like doing a Bond movie about a buzzed 009. Despite actually being serviceable in the end, the whole thing just felt unnecessary and I soon found myself pining for another Damon/Greengrass tag-team to put things right. Now that we’ve got it, it turns out we probably didn’t need it either.

Jason Bourne is a good film, but considering the quality of the original trilogy it really ought to be great. It could be the substitution of an intrinsic title noun for the more boring lead-character’s-name-title (one of my pet peeves – I’d rather it was called The Bourne Fifthoneium), but it’s more likely the fact that it’s basically just the same film all over again. Only, by this point, we don’t care as much.

Jason Bourne, Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, movie, review

From the outset we’re treading a very familiar path. After we see Bourne making a living in illegal fight pits (a bit cliche, but I guess someone like him would naturally use his fists to make off-the-grid money), there’s lots of city-hopping, close-ups on computer screens (probably too many), and serious CIA officials tracking agents around Europe and saying stuff like “Sir, we’ve been hacked”.

It doesn’t necessarily pose a problem – few directors do the extreme close-up cyber thriller pacing as well as Paul Greengrass (even if his action is still poisoned with shaky cam). It’s just that in this case it really feels like we’ve seen it all before; the stakes are the same as Bourne runs around Europe evading CIA operatives while trying to uncover truths about his past. Perhaps because of how neatly the story was wrapped up by the end of Ultimatum, the urgency is no longer there.

That being said, the film still wrestles the audience towards a predictable but thrilling climax, with help from a strong supporting cast of Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander and Nightcrawler’s Riz Ahmed as a thinly-veiled Mark Zuckerberg. There’s also fun car chase towards the end, which may not be as memorable as The Bourne Identity’s mini chase, but sure packs a punch.


Just about worth the price of admission, and at times it feels good to be back, but it’s a film that probably didn’t need to be made.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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