It’s been nine years since our favorite amnesiac spy graced movie screens. (Well, not graced, exactly–more like pummeled.) But he’s back, and though Jason Bourne the film doesn’t quite do Jason Bourne the guy justice, it’s nevertheless a better-than-average film in what’s been a very below average summer.
Picking up several indeterminate years after the events of 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, the film finds Bourne (Matt Damon) now almost completely back in the (mental) swing of things, though still unsure about the depth of the black ops Treadstone program or what led to his father’s assassination. He whiles away his days street fighting in central Europe, fully aware that he’s still a marked man.
The man doing the marking this go-round is new CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), and perched firmly at his right hand is the agency’s cyber expert Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander). Meanwhile, the only holdover (not named Bourne) from the first three films is Julia Stiles’ former agent Nicky Parsons, who tracks Bourne down to give him access to the classified documents that may finally give the guy some answers.
And so, the globe-trotting roller coaster ride begins. Over the course of two hours, the action shifts from Greece to Iceland to Washington D.C. to Rome to California to Berlin to London to Las Vegas. Director Paul Greengrass does his damnedest to keep the pace flowing and the confusion to a minimum, and he actually pulls it off. Of course having his co-writer Christopher Rouse also edit the film must have helped considerably.
Though there are times that Jason Bourne falters (you’ll be screaming for both Bourne and Parsons to at least try to hide/blend in/wear a disguise at several different points), the end result is another fine chapter in the franchise. Greengrass’ trademark hand-held camera and quick cuts provide just enough immediacy and realism without being nausea-inducing, and the performances, including Damon’s riveting work and Jones’ dry-as-sandpaper delivery, more than keep the film afloat.
Jason Bourne doesn’t exactly land in theaters as the exclamation point at the end of the franchise– it’s more of an end-parentheses or perhaps a semi-colon (maybe an ellipses?), but it’s a solid movie nonetheless. And if it should happen to be the last time we see Damon in the role, that’ll do. It’s a satisfying end to one heck of a ride.