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Midvale Journal

Dan's Review: "Jason Bourne" sticks to the formula

Jul 30, 2016 12:45AM ● By Dan Metcalf

Matt Damon in Jason Bourne - © 2016 - Universal Pictures

Jason Bourne (Universal Pictures)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language.

Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh, Scott Shepherd, Bill Camp, Vinzenz Kiefer, Stephen Kunken, Gregg Henry.

Written by Paul Greengrass and Christopher Rouse, based on characters created by Robert Ludlum.

Directed by Paul Greengrass.



There comes a time in a film franchise when the studios know they’ve worn out their welcome, but the lure of money overrules any ideas of ending it. Sequel after sequel is to be expected, and even when your actors are too old to play the main parts, you can also expect reboots and prequels. The Jason Bourne franchise is one of those wildly popular series, with a likeable actor in the title role and plenty of cool spy stuff that rival anything James Bond ever came up with. After a nine-year absence, Matt Damon is back in Jason Bourne.

We pick up Bourne living off the grid since his last ‘Ultimatum’ to the CIA. He does so with the help of Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) another former CIA operative who also lives in the shadows. Their private lives are threatened when Nicky agrees to assist a ‘Wikileaks’-type character in exposing the CIA’s darkest secrets, including the illegal black ops programs involving Bourne. Her hope is that by telling the world about the CIA’s dirty deeds, she and Bourne can stop running and live out their lives with some semblance of normalcy. When she accesses the CIA server, her hack is detected and the files she copied are tracked by CIA cyber boss Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander). Lee’s boss is CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), who has yet another secret agenda in the works involving a social media program that will allow the government unlimited access to spy on the world’s population.

As the story progresses, Bourne has to fend off a host of other agents, including one named “The Asset” (Vincent Cassel), a man who was part of the early black ops involving Bourne. He also has an axe to grind with Bourne, who manages to slip away just ahead of the CIA during battles in Athens, Berlin, London and eventually Las Vegas. That’s where Dewey, Lee, and the asset converge for (yet another) epic battle and chase through the streets.

There’s good news and bad news for Bourne fans. The good news is Jason Bourne is a true “Bourne” movie, complete with all the cool stunts, spy tech and fast-paced action you’ve come to expect from other movies in the series. The bad news is, Jason Bourne is yet another Bourne movie, with few surprises and very little that sets it apart from the other films in the series. In other words, it seems that the Bourne formula has become a little stale at this point. Sure, there are plenty of intense chases and fights, cool spy intrigue and the patented shaky camera cinematography, but you’ve seen it all before in the other movies.

So if all you need to enjoy a decent Bourne movie is John Powell’s familiar musical soundtrack, chases, fights and stylish espionage tech, culminating with Moby’s “Extreme Ways” song (you know, the techno-pop one that plays at the end credits of all Bourne movies), then Jason Bourne will not disappoint.

If you were looking for something a little more unique or compelling, then you may not remember much about Jason Bourne.

Jason Bourne Trailer