Jason Bourne is back in action when the CIA is exposed for a new project called Iron Hand.
Tommy Lee Jones
2 Hours and 8 Minutes
July 29th 2016
Distributor: Universal Studios
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Matt Damon, and Alicia Vikander
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse
Genre: Action, Espionage
I was a big fan of the Bourne Identity when Doug Liman was the first director. When Paul Greengrass added the ADHD camera angles and “realistic drama” to the series, it fared well with the audience. The Bourne Supremacy got raving reviews because of its intense action scenes and riveting story.
Paul Greengrass is hoping lightning strikes twice, but does the same formula work?
Language: The Lord’s name is taken in vain and s*** is dropped a few times.
Violence: Heads smash through glass, elbows slam through faces, bullets drop men, necks snap, and aggressive fights break out throughout the film. However, bloodshed is light. Many cars are destroyed.
Sex: No romance exists in this movie at all.
Negative Elements: Paul Greengrass paints heavily that the NSA and CIA have purely sinister intentions. By the end of the movie, you will be convinced that the powers protecting us are up to no good.
Positive Elements: “You won’t find peace until you return to who you are,” Tommy Lee Jones tells Matt Damon. Jason Bourne is about confronting who God made you to be. You can’t escape your gifts and purpose, and you won’t be able to find peace until you grow into your destiny.
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is a wandering soldier with no home. He spends his days getting into underground fist fights in Greece. Meanwhile, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) hacks into the CIA and discovers a new campaign called Iron Hand. Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), CIA director, is tasked with taking Nicky down for finding their dark secret. With the help of computer-hacking wizard, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), the government is bent on silencing Nicky and finding Jason. Nicky’s only refuge is bringing Jason Bourne back into action. As the plot of project Iron Hand uncovers, secrets surface about Jason’s father.
Let’s do the Jason Bourne checklist, shall we?
Dizzying fight scene involving suffocation: Check
Awkward silences between actors: Check
Dizzying car chase involving smashed cars: Check
Loss of a close female that spurs on Jason: Check
Evil, white CIA operator: Check
Plot centered around “getting Jason”: Check
New female lead that grows soft for Jason: Check
Weird European Assassin: Check
Ends with the Moby theme song: Check
The formula is here and Paul Greengrass is darn sure that it hasn’t grown stale. Almost every plot that rocketed Supremacy and Ultimatum makes a comeback in this film. The only thing that really changed in this movie are a few locations and a culturally-relevant plot. When it was fresh and new in the early 2010’s, the audience cheered at the raw acting and gripping fight scenes. Also, Jason Bourne was a one man fighting machine back then. But now…
What was once raw acting has turned into long, drawn-out awkwardness between actors. The dialogue feels dry. I believe the dry acting was to give the impression that this is a realistic government agency with real problems. The Bourne series has never had trouble replacing drama and acting with subtle realism.
The chemistry in this movie between characters is so buried underneath glowering faces and drone lines. You really can’t tell if anyone cares about what they are saying. I get it: it’s supposed to imitate reality, but it is also incredibly void of passion. Matt Damon’s face is stuck on pure lemon. He always looks like he just ate a mega-sour Warhead.
Bourne fails to capture the complex storylnes that marked the series, as the plot seems too simple and the portrayal of “super-spy espionage” got a little corny. Every computer hacking scene looked like a chapter from Michael Bay’s understanding of how computers work. I thought the winding and complex plot would put me in a loop, but I found the plot to be super easy to follow. The sinister plot involved in this movie is taken right out of the 2015 headlines. The shadowy CIA is working with a mobile company in order to have the technology to monitor everyone. Robert Dewey demands that the young tech mogul (Riz Ahmed) give him a backdoor to people’s private lives. Not even being subtle, eh Paul?
The finale takes place in Vegas, where Jason takes us through some gripping car chases and a dizzying fight scene. The whirlwind fisticuffs and ADHD camera is still exciting to watch. I prefer camera angles where you can articulate actions and specify movements, but Paul’s vision works to make things suspenseful. I just wish these fight scenes weren’t so formulaic to the movies. Seems like the new way to make a sequel is to carbon copy the movie before it.
What worked in 2010 does not have the same appeal. The formula shows its age and also proves that the Bourne series does not have a one-size-fits-all. You’ll enjoy the whiplash fight scenes and car chases, but probably little else.
+ Exciting fight scenes
+ Beautiful locations
+ Bourne is still the man
- Lame hacking scenes
- Passionless acting
- Same old formula
- Story is too simple