Sunday, August 28, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW: Jason Bourne

The Bourne movies (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy, Jason Bourne) are a guilty pleasure of mine. The Other Half and I went to see the latest one (which is the fifth in the franchise but only the fourth one to feature Matt Damon as the titular character). We mostly did so because The Bourne Ultimatum is really quite a good movie (Th Bourne Legacy, starring Jeremy Renner is not.) Also, director Paul Greengrass (United 93, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Supremacy) is back on board, so we said "why not?"

The cast is surprisingly good, with Oscar-winners Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black,  No Country for Old Men) and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) in addition to Vincent Cassell (Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve, Black Swan), Julia Stiles (The Bourne Ultimatum) and Riz Ahmed (HBO's The Night Of).

Sadly, the movie is not as good as its cast (59%/62% on rottentomatoes). I did not even recognize Vikander was the same actress who played the android in Ex Machina! (Maybe that's why she won an Oscar this year.) She was one of the best parts of the movie, and happily she has a huge role. Jones is playing the (cartoonishly corrupt) CIA Director and we find out more and more about the back story of Damon's Jason Bourne character. These are all fun and familiar aspects of a Bourne film.

However, it really was not a particular enjoyable cinematic experience. Greengrass is a kinetic, exciting director and it was this energetic style which brought him acclaim in his helming of the earlier films in the Bourne franchise. But, here it just seems frenetic and motion sickness-inducing. One aspect of Greengrass's direction which I did appreciate was that the final cut of scenes that were depicted in the trailer (like Damon knocking down a guy with one solid punch with his left hand and the scene where the CIA realizes that Bourne is back: "My god that's Jason Bourne!") are slightly (but noticeably) different. In other words, the best parts of the film which are sometimes given away in the trailer as an inducement to get the audience to fork over their cash to see the entire film, this time were still fresh. I'm sure Greengrass made this conscious decision and I appreciated it.

That being said, despite one of the most harrowing car chases ever put on film (take THAT, The French Connection) it is doubtful that Jason Bourne will be remembered as a success despite doing (relatively) well at the box-office. I will certainly think twice about going to see the next Bourne in the theaters, but I would happily watch it on cable.

Jason Bourne.
Director: Paul Greengrass.
Running Time: 123 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language.
Release Date: July 29, 2016.
Viewing Date: August 7, 2016.

Writing: B+.
Acting: A-.
Visuals: A-.
Impact: B-.

OVERALL GRADE: B/B+ (3.16/4.0)

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