Twitter review: You know his name. But you’ll also know where this film is going way ahead of when it gets there.
Spoiler-free review: When thinking how to describe this movie, I actually weirdly thought of The Godfather Part III and Return Of The Jedi. Primarily because those movies are inferior to the supremely high bar the first films set. I like both of those films, but I also admit that they pale compared to the first two films. So here we are with the 5th Bourne film and the fourth one featuring Jason Bourne (there is really no reference at all to The Bourne Legacy – with a possible exception of the name of the program Jeremy Renner was part of in that film. So think of The Bourne Legacy so far as Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch – part of the franchise, but in name only).
In this film, Jason is ‘off the grid’, making a living of sorts by taking part in fights with other beefy men (though, being JASON BOURNE, he can take these guys out whenever his whimsy calls for it). Then he comes into contact with Nicky Parsons, who was also a regular in the first three Bourne films. Nicky has some information about Jason’s father, and she wants to share it with Jason. Never mind how she managed to find him when he was supposed to be invisible to everyone, or that she’s putting herself and Jason in danger by meeting up with him. Let the chase commence.
In the course of the film, Jason comes to not only remember his father, but also comes face to face with what made him JASON BOURNE in the first place. And because we need to have a bad guy at the top, and because the previous heads of the CIA and/or the various secret programs are dead or not available, we get Tommy Lee Jones’ head of the CIA as the main bad guy. Jones does a decent enough job with the role, but his role, and that of just about everyone else in this film, is hampered by the fact that so many of the major beats are telegraphed a mile away. If you’ve seen the Bourne films, you’ll know what’s coming well before any of the other characters do. There are shootings. There are car chases. And the insistence on including a Facebook-like platform called
Wet Dream Deep Dream is there to give everyone a target to go for towards the end of the film.
In the end, I did like this film. Because it’s a JASON BOURNE film (I think at this point, we can be excused for thinking this is a superhero film; Jason has become what John McClane did with the Die Hard fims – more larger than life and thus less realistic than when we were first introduced to them), and they are enjoyable. Matt Damon can still bring it, and he does it well in this film. But if you’ve seen the other Bourne films, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve seen this film before.
Spolier-filled review: I suppose if there was a major problem I had with this film, other than the telegraphing of beats a mile away, it would be the length of the film. One example: Jason and Nicky are running away on a motorbike, while
The Night Fox Vincent Cassel’s character, is being told by someone from the CIA, where to run to for the kill shot. As soon as this was being shown, I knew in an instant Nicky was toast and Jason would get away (it would be a tough sell to kill off your leading character 20 minutes into the film; Hitchcock could get away with it, but that’s about it). That scene took something like 5 minutes from start to finish.
Another example. Towards the end, Jason is chasing
François To the Asset, in Las Vegas. The Asset is driving a SWAT truck (don’t ask) and Jason is driving an Audi. During the whole chase, I kept wondering “How the hell is JASON BOURNE supposed to stop a SWAT truck?” After another 5 minute chase, we got our answer. Jason drives his Audi on top of the truck, which then smashes through a casino, leaving hardly an extra scratch on JASON BOURNE. Other than seeing a ton of cars getting smashed to bits by the truck, this scene just felt like pure padding. It was also not very inspiring, especially if you compare it to the Berlin chase scene in The Bourne Identity.
I figure that the director could have cut out at least 15-20 minutes of film and not lost a single thing. Which is a shame. Because while I enjoy a good chase, I get bored with padding. And I laughed at the end of the last chase. I wish they could have done a bit better.