Jason Bourne Review #2: A Bone Crushing, Cinematic Smackdown
Jason Bourne is back and thankfully hasn't forgotten how to beat bad guys to a pulp. Director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon have the Bourne formula perfected; a dash of conspiracy, a sprinkle of big brother, healthy tablespoon of beautiful sidekick, and a bucket of bone crushing action. There's not much different in their third Bourne outing. The beats are pretty much the same, but it works. Jason Bourne is a swift actioner that never lets up for a second. Whatever political statements it attempts to make is negligible under the action onslaught.
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is a haunted man. The kills, the lost companions, years on the run has left him in a shell. He survives day to day on his winnings from bare knuckle fights. But you can only hide from your past for so long. Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), the former CIA analyst turned hacker, has tracked him down. She has penetrated the CIA database and stolen top secret files. Her intrusion launches an elite team of killers to recover the data. The cutthroat CIA Director (Tommy Lee Jones) and his brilliant cyber-security chief (Alicia Vikander) will not allow those files to go public. They contain a terrible secret the agency has hidden about Bourne's recruitment into Operation Treadstone.
Foremost, Jason Bourne is a blistering action movie. It's packed with scene after scene of spectacularly choreographed fights, chases, and gunplay. I have no issue when a film goes to the well, if that well is filled with gold. Greengrass uses quick editing, a pulse pounding soundtrack, and mass chaos to remind us just how lethal Jason Bourne can be. He's the gun in a knife fight, a character that is brutally efficient; but not without conscience. Bourne has been searching his past for a long time. The audience finally gets answers in a barrage of bullets and explosions.
The film wants to make a statement on the culpability of unchecked government. Greengrass is a fierce privacy advocate. His political leanings are front and center. You'll hear Edward Snowden, the NSA, and big brother thrown around in spades. It's philosophy light to be honest, but that's not the reason most people are going to see this film. Jason Bourne is a popcorn summer flick that promises and delivers a cinematic pummeling.
I have no issues with Matt Damon reprising this role after swearing he was done. Universal backed up a dump truck of money and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. He owns the character of Jason Bourne. The Bourne series had gotten a bit stale, but his hiatus from the character has brought new vigor. It's fantastic seeing him back in this form.
Jason Bourne is a much needed boost to a summer movie season bereft of hard-hitting, non-costumed action. It continues the established story while introducing fresh new characters. The political message is hit or miss. I couldn't care less. I wanted to see Jason Bourne kick ass and he does it gloriously.