Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne ★★★

Jason Bourne was one of my most anticipated films of the year and I was hoping it would be the crown jewel in a summer of disappointments. For years now the director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon said they would only return to the franchise if they had a story worth telling. After a 9 year absence we've the next installment and I hoped this would be a worthy sequel that would take the series to new heights.
The result is a film that isn't bad, but you do get the feeling why did they bother. It doesn't advance the story, it doesn't break new ground and it feels very dated. When 'The Bourne Identity' was released it felt like a breath of fresh air and soon after we saw every action film including the Bond franchise steal from the Bourne formula.
When 'The Bourne Ultimatum' was released it ended a perfect trilogy on a high and if it was left like that nobody would have complained, but when the studios have a money making franchise they want to keep returning to the well.
Jason Bourne opens with Bourne living day to day as a prize boxer, still living off the grid and hoping to stay anonymous, but when an old friend and colleague Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) resurfaces with stolen files that include personal information about his past Bourne is brought once again into the public eye. While it does address issues that are contemporary to the world we live in today with a plot that deals with cyber warfare and a new team of CIA agents all with their own political agendas, but with the introduction of Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander as Bourne's new antagonists, it's only Vikander who makes an impression with a more nuanced character whereas Jones isn't given anything to work with other than his characters shady history.
As with the previous films in the series, Bourne travels to various locations around the world and is involved in exciting set pieces, while they do have great moments, the action doesn't really stand out from anything we've seen before. The opening action sequence set in Athens during a political protest is the most timely and beautifully orchestrated one that sets the tone for the film, but it struggles to reach these heights again.
It's great to see Greengrass return to the franchise and he does deliver a very entertaining film full of exciting set pieces, but if only he could have brought with him a desire to fully invigorate the franchise for a new era.

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