2-8 December 2016 #835

Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne is a bit of a washout for Matt Damon who really came of age as an action hero.
Sophia Pande

The most riveting part of Jason Bourne is the inscrutable titular character played by Matt Damon as he weaves and punches and slams his way through the film (there are now five in the franchise to date, four of which star Damon) in action sequences that are now the go to standard for those who aspire towards this kind of visceral, fast paced drama first pioneered by Paul Greengrass in the second Bourne film The Bourne Supremacy (2004).

Greengrass went on to direct The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) and now this latest film that continues to follow Jason Bourne’s tortured struggle to find out how his life was co-opted by the CIA, making him into the formidable killer that he is. Years after Bourne has (somewhat) come to terms with the CIA’s nefarious and murky programmes designed to train killers like him using morally untenable methods, he is still plagued by bouts of hazy memories surrounding his father’s death just before he chose (he thinks willingly) to go into the murky Treadstone programme that made him who he is now.

Pursued by the CIA after an old friend and former CIA agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) alerts Bourne about the anomalies regarding his own recruitment into Treadstone, Bourne is once again caught in a web where he must stay a step ahead, both to uncover the truth and to save his own life.

There are a few new characters to liven up this film which is not as good as the preceding ones but still exhilarating enough action wise to give it a chance. Talent is wasted with the usually compelling Alicia Vikander as the one note Heather Lee, a young, brilliant CIA cyber ops whiz who ought to be enigmatic but isn’t given enough screen-time or real depth to truly mystify. Tommy Lee Jones is similarly squandered as the boring, evil CIA Director Richard Dewey, and Vincent Cassel plays an endless iteration of his usual baddie as an unnamed assassin with a personal vendetta against Bourne.

Jason Bourne is a bit of a washout for Matt Damon who really came of age as an action hero with the Bourne character in the early 2000s. This is a film which desperately tries to bring an old story into the new age with a worn out subplot about hacking, government spying (guess which agency is behind it) and a certain not-so-veiled hint regarding a ubiquitous social networking phenomenon that has, however unwillingly, facilitated big brother’s interests in listening in on individuals’ private lives.

At the end of an interminable chase scene finale, the only thing that will keep you from walking is the rough-hewn charisma that is Matt Damon as he surprises you one more time.

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