First introduced to us on the silver screen in 2002, Jason Bourne (the character) has always been a fascinating and exciting enigma. Originally based on a book series published in 1980 and written by Robert Ludlam, the character and a majority of the films have been fleshed out beautifully by Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass as actor and director respectively. “Jason Bourne” (the film) appears to be the final chapter-with Matt Damon playing the lead-in the Bourne film franchise. It pains me to say this… but I think Matt Damon is too old to keep doing it. He started the role fifteen years ago.
Nevertheless, after a 9-year hiatus and one okay spin-off film starring Jeremy Renner in the middle of that time, Damon and Greengrass reunite to lay the Jason Bourne saga to rest. Or does it?
Essentially picking up in real-time after the events of “The Bourne Ultimatum,” we find Jason Bourne still in hiding in Greece making a living as a bare-knuckle boxer. He claims to have retained most of his memories from his previous missions with the agency and some intimate knowledge of his old identity. After being reunited with a former confidant, Bourne is forced to come out of hiding again and put together the last pieces of the puzzle of his past to expose and stop a devious plan for the future.
From its inaugural film, the Bourne series seemed to have an almost clairvoyant interpretation of the juxtapositions of the events of the franchise and the events of the real world. This script is layered with a rich secondary storyline about continued civilian surveillance and hacks that jeopardize national & international security and relations.
Let me just say from this point, that if you haven’t seen the previous (Matt Damon) Bourne films, I strongly advise you to do so. All of them. They are all very well written, acted, and include a monumental amount of backstory and context that is constantly being referenced in this latest installment. If you’re too lazy to do that, just watch this… but it won’t be the same.
It felt good to travel around the world with Bourne again as his age is catching up with him and he struggles to stay one step ahead of those who are trying to capture him while getting the upper hand regarding securing intel and outsmarting the assassin with a very personal grudge trying to take him out played by the ever-so creepy Vincent Cassel. The addition of Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander showed a compelling and believable side story of old school vs. new school over what to do with Bourne if he were eventually captured.
The one thing about this franchise that never disappoints are the car chases. The stunt drivers continue to deliver some of the best stunt driving you will ever see in cinema. Yes, it’s better than anything in “The Fast & The Furious” franchise. And yes, it’s better than the highway chase in “The Matrix Reloaded.” The best action-packed driving scenes are from the Bourne franchise. I don’t know how they do it.
The fight scenes are also something that don’t disappoint. I will say that most of the fight scenes are shorter and not as elaborate as in previous Bourne films, but it still doesn’t take away from the impressive cinematography and choreography of them.
“Jason Bourne” is a fitting end to a very successful franchise. Like all its predecessors, it’s an action films that makes you pay attention and it will reward you tenfold for doing so.