Cinematic Releases: Jason Bourne (2016) - Reviewed

Matt Damon is Bourne again. 

After nine years and a dreadful spinoff, Matt Damon is back in Jason Bourne, a fair to middling retread of everything that's come before. 

When the Jeremy Renner starring vehicle, The Bourne Legacy (2012) failed to captivate audiences, work began on bringing Damon back to the fold as the title character, Jason Bourne. Unfortunately for us, this latest entry in the long running franchise never lives up to the quality of the first three movies in the series. This easily qualifies as the fourth best of all five. Hinging on a script that tries to modernize the standing Bourne themes with more technology, typically corrupt government agents, and barely any hand to hand combat, this newest film is a lesson in mediocrity that may have been better off left alone. 

So sick of walking everywhere all the time. I'll kill a bitch. 

Damon still does his best to play the hard nosed former government while he digs even deeper into his mysterious past. As good as he is, the plot devices of Jason Bourne leave much to be desired. With an extremely long and drawn out second act and a thinly planned story arc, the latest story walks a fine line between being really good at times and becoming standard espionage fare. Where the last three Bourne flicks were heavy in combat and bloodshed, this one stretches on for long sections with low energy from its actors and barely enough intrigue to keep us enthralled. The one real highlight is the always awesome Vincent Cassel playing the evil Asset. Ex Machina's Alicia Vikander feels stilted by a lack of original dialogue and Tommy Lee Jones just treads water as the usual corrupted CIA Director. Everything about these characters is heavily borrowed from all the other Bourne movies, making it just seem like they were desperate to crank out another sequel. 

I'm a little robot, short and stout. 
Paul Greengrass is back behind the director's chair doing the same shaky cam, hyper realistic filming style that's been the mainstay of these features. And again, this time it feels like old hat. Fight scenes are hard to watch. The details are lost in movements, which makes it needlessly hard to focus at times. It's understood that they want some consistency in these movies, but they were trying to bring this franchise back from the brink of death. The least they could have done is given it a fresh overhaul with a different style of filming and a newer look. Sadly for audiences, there is just nothing new about this movie other than the technological advances and car chase finale that feels like it would have been a better fit in a Michael Bay vehicular smash fest. Time and time again, this is a repetitive Bourne movie that can't get out of its own way for two seconds. 

If you're hungry for old school Bourne action, this may not suit your desires. There are long, lingering sections that drone on and on without the hair trigger mentality of the other three movies. Many other reviews have said it and I'm gonna say it too. This is better than The Bourne Legacy but falls shy of what we've come to expect from Damon and Greengrass. It's a watchable movie, yet it doesn't even come close to reinvigorating the series. It's flat. With another open ending, I'm positive this won't be the last we see of Jason Bourne. Next time, they need to get the creativity back and find a way to give Damon more than twenty lines of dialogue and they MUST get the grittiness of the fight scenes back. Or maybe don't. Maybe it's time to let Bourne die. 

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