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Jason Bourne

Hollywood doesn’t know when to stop. When studios find a franchise, they milk it until the product is absolutely spoiled, then they abandon the shriveled franchise and move on to another. We can see this process begin to happen to the great spy franchise Bourne. The most recent film: Jason Bourne is an example of how stretched a story has become in order for the studio to churn out some extra dollars.

Jason Bourne is the fifth installation in the franchise and it follows Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) as he begins to uncover more secrets from his past. There is the typical corrupt government official, this time played by Tommy Lee Jones, and the female operative that is sympathetic for Bourne (here portrayed by the returning Julia Stiles and the new Alicia Vikander). The film also takes a look at the digital era of spies, and the dangers of government surveillance.

Paul Greengrass returns to direct Damon in the titular role. Their two previous Bourne films (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) were undoubtedly the best films in the franchise. However, both the actor and the director were reluctant to return to the franchise, as they felt that the story had been told to its fullest potential. It seems that something changed their minds (money?) and they do their very best to try and make this most recent film live up to its predecessors, but inevitably their first gut feeling was true; there is no story left to tell.

The cast additions give the film an extra spice, without them you would undoubtedly be seeing the exact same film as Ultimatum, the parallels are a bit uncanny. Vikander is fine playing a very serious cyber security official, and Riz Ahmed, who plays a Silicon Valley mogul afraid of government surveillance, is great to watch as well (if a little underused). Lee Jones meanwhile seems to be very bored throughout the film; his performance is fueled by a low energy and indifference that is transfused to the audience. Damon as Bourne has little to do or say except look very concerned and walk fast when being followed, a bit of a waste of such a great versatile actor.

The story itself tries to parallel the dangers of privacy with that of real life whistleblower Edward Snowden. The effort is admirable, but nevertheless Greengrass never has time to focus on the issue too much, as he has to think of one elongated action or chase scene after the next. A pity, since he is a visionary mind that has brought us such great human and political analysis in such films as United 93 and Captain Phillips.

So in the end Jason Bourne is a rehash of the superior Greengrass Bourne films. And don’t get me wrong, Jason Bourneis an entertaining spy film, certainly when comparing this film to the other Bourne movies it pales in comparison, but when compared to the rump of action and spy films that are coming out today, it looks like a work of art.



About Young Critic

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I've been writing on different version of this website since February of 2013. I originally founded the website in a film-buff phase in high school, but it has since continued through college and into my adult life. Young Critic may be getting older, but the love and passion for film is forever young. 

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