Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassell, Scott Shepherd (123 min – Rated M).
It began with Bourne Identity (2002), into Supremacy (2004), hitting an Ultimatum (2007), then deferred into Legacy (2012) with temporary new lead Jeremy Renner. Now the aptly named Jason Bourne takes the series full circle in true action movie tradition leaving possibly the best ‘til last.
Oscar winner for co-writing Good Will Hunting (1997), Matt Damon is versatile in every film in which he appears and his ongoing combination with erratic director Paul Greengrass on the Bourne series has been a winner from the beginning. The fact few have mentioned Damon as a possible new 007 candidate is due to total control of this character and many similarities that they possess – except the previous James Bond installment (Spectre) was weak in comparison to this adventure.
For an international CIA assassin often using his amnesia as motivation to kill, Jason Bourne is now convincing himself that solid memories are returning which may unlock the truth – something his own government has been covering up. Our first glimpse of our unlikely hero this time is entering a dusty open air ring for a fist fight, which as one would expect for a man with his skills, doesn’t last long.
Jump to Athens as Bourne meets up with his only true friend and fellow CIA runaway Nicky (Julia Stiles) basically saying to him that remembering everything doesn’t mean you know everything. Cue a series of extended hunts by authorities to capture the elusive individual with dire results that often end up fatal for anyone in pursuit.
Brilliantly gruff Tommy Lee Jones is flinty head of operations overseeing surveillance and vigilant capture of Bourne which proves to be, as it always is, difficult. His scowling voice and blank stares command attention, this veteran is a welcome addition to the series. More secrets and lies than in any previous Bourne film come to light but Jason also seems to have more alibis including newcomer Agent Heather Lee (Alica Vikander). She senses early that things are not as they seem temporarily switching her allegiance to assist with what is right.
Action sequences seem to pick up pace as the movie flows into edge of your seat stunt filled fight or chase scenes defying natural gravity on so many levels. The plot as in all the Robert Ludlum novels which this character is based, is often confusing multi-faceted technical jargon but on screen it all seems to work – even if the audience is often left scratching their heads in fine script particulars.
Beware of continuous shaky cam during car and foot chases, crazy angles and movements changing aspects of vertigo on regular intervals. There are spectacular, gritty, impressive action sequences to behold and the cast is strong but let’s hope this is the final big screen adventure for Bourne for a while.
Shane A. Bassett