Fans of spy action thrillers breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced that both Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass would be returning to make another Bourne film. The series continued in 2012 without the two and Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, Duplicity) behind the camera and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Avengers) in the lead role. Fans were disappointed. Big time. This despite the fact that Gilroy had been a co-writer on the previous Bourne films. Now the winning combination was back on board. Would that be enough to revive the limping series?
The answer is yes and no. A problem with the latest Bourne films is that it is a rehash of the previous three Greengrass/Damon films. If that does not bother you then you will enjoy this adrenaline infused spy romp. If you are the more discerning type of film fan then this might seem like lazy filmmaking to you but for the majority of fans they just want to be entertained and this film is still better than most in the genre.
Once again ex-spy Jason Bourne (Matt Damon – The Martian, Interstellar) is drawn out of hiding in order to find out more about who he really is. Once again he is on the run trying to jog his memory or uncover more about his past. Remember his memory has been wiped. This is made even more difficult by the fact that he has a high level assassin (Vincent Cassel – Black Swan, Ocean’s Thriteen) on his tail.
His ally Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles – The Bourne Supremacy, Silver Linings Playbook) brings Bourne some hacked Black Ops file from the CIA which contains some information about his past. Including information about his father and recruitment to the CIA. This puts Bourne back on the CIA radar as too dangerous to be out there on the loose.
At the same time the United States government is once again trying to revive a spy unit that operates in the shadows. CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln, Men in Black 3) is the man behind this. Also within the CIA trying to catch Bourne is Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl, Ex Machina). She wants to stop the former agent without killing him.
The action in the film is stellar. Greengrass certainly knows how to construct a realistic action scene. It is the dubious plot points that drag it down. You can forget this while watching Bourne whip down a street in Athens in which there is a riot occurring on a motorcycle. It will have your heart racing just as fast as the motorcycle. We then move on to London for some higher brow chase stuff. The apex of the action happens in the bright lights of Las Vegas where there occurs some great car chase scenes. Action is definitely the best part of the film. And as you can see, there is a wide variety of action styles. That is part of the problem with the film in that you can see they have consciously tried to check all the spy/action film boxes. It doesn’t occur organically, rather because they feel it has to.
As far as the acting goes the three leads – Damon, Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander – they all turn in solid performances with the right amount of believability. That is not an easy thing to do when the script has that been there done that feel to it. Vikander takes over that female role in Bourne films that we have seen before. The woman who thinks she knows best and can outsmart the ex-agent.