Jason Bourne full movie review - Matt Damon is Bourne again...
After a long absence, and a rather forgettable fourth film, things get back on track with Matt Damon returning as the character these movies are *truly* about and who most people want to see (sorry, Renner).
'Identity' still remains my favourite of the entire franchise and I highly doubt it'll ever be surpassed. Unlike many, I wasn't as fussed on 'Supremacy', though both it and 'Ultimatum' were certainly better than 'Legacy'. While it's certainly good/a relief to have Damon back as Bourne, that doesn't automatically mean this film is 'great'. I'd say this one ranks somewhere in the middle. Matt Damon has always been likable in the role of Jason Bourne/David Webb. He's believably tough (his first 'fight' in this has him knock out a guy with one punch), selling the action scenes (he once again shows off Jason's proficiency for driving vehicles down lots of stairs), credible as this highly experienced/intelligent but tormented person, and I've always felt for the guy. I liked pretty much everything regarding the first film, the action, story, characters, relationships and especially the directing. A shame Doug Liman never returned as director of these films.
I was really saddened/annoyed when the woman Jason had been through so much with and later formed a relationship with, Franka Potente's Marie, was unceremoniously disposed of in the film's first sequel. That made me like that film less. However, I was pleased that Julia Stiles' Nicky Parsons got more to do later on. As I'm sure people will have been spoiled for by now (seriously, don't read unless you WANT to be spoiled. Consider this fair warning), poor Nicky suffers a somewhat similar fate to Marie in this movie. I completely understand the outcry over this. I felt a similar way when Marie was only in a small part of 'Supremacy' at the beginning. It's a testament to Julia Stiles, that she's managed to take a character who hadn't much to do early on and made her so memorable/someone the audience formed an attachment with. Here she gets a 'badass' moment, looks out for Jason/helps him until the very end, and is part of the movie's first action scene, which is quite a memorable one. Like Marie, her demise in unexpected (well...unless you've read spoilers), a total gut-punch and a completely unfair way to go for such a likable character. Having said that, Jason was warned early in the series that everyone around him/associated with him would wind up dead, and Nicky's death cements this fact (as if Jason wasn't already aware after Marie). When so many films are tempted to bring popular characters back repeatedly/use them until they've outlived their welcome, there's something depressingly 'real' about this film's 'nobody's safe' statement. It's just a shame we lose the Jason/Nicky dynamic (and the chance for any answers to questions surrounding their history) in the process, as Damon and Stiles worked so well together.
That's not to say that the new characters are a waste. Tommy Lee Jones is good, like Chris Cooper and Brian Cox were before him, though possibly doesn't have quite as interesting material to work with as they did. Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander plays a strong, intelligent, ambitious woman in CIA agent, Heather Lee. You think you know what sort of role she's fitting into (ie. taking over from Joan Allen's Pamela Landy), then later seems like an ally for Jason, buy she is in fact much *more* than that. She's crafty and can go toe-to-toe with those who are higher up than her, as well as Jason himself. I wouldn't mind seeing Heather Lee and her black plastic claw hair clip return if there's another movie. Vikander conveys SO much that's going on underneath with her character via looks/micro expressions and proves the film's biggest asset. Ironically, the character who's simply credited as 'Asset', played by go-to bad guy Vincent Cassel? Not so much. Sure, he looks dangerous, and there's some backstory given as to why he's so hell-bent on offing Jason, but for an assassin...he's rather sloppy/not very 'clean' about it. He's no Karl Urban, he's not even Clive Owen. He just simply shoots people all willy-nilly in public without any consequences. Like with Urban's character, I certainly wanted this guy dead by film's end, and his climactic fight with Jason is the movie's most memorable hand- to- hand action sequence.
Speaking of, while the Paris chase in Marie's little red Mini Cooper coupled with the use of 'Ready Steady Go' on the soundtrack in The Bourne Identity remains my favourite, the car chase in this film does bring on the public destruction...and how! The amount of cars a SWAT vehicle plows through, flipping them into the air, is really something, as is the conclusion to the chase. Although, there doesn't feel like there's as many memorable action sequences as some of the previous films had, which may disappoint some people. The directing can get a bit too shaky at times (which it to be expected with Greengrass directing), but on the whole I was at least able to make out most things when they were focused upon, despite the constant zooming in/out. The film does feel relevant to today, with issues of privacy vs security, etc. While it may not seem as 'thrilling' as the first few films, nor as interesting, the movie's not a complete write-off. There's some intriguing stuff regarding Jason's father, though like with the other interesting elements, the movie doesn't seem to explore things enough. I quite liked the film's ending, and the use of the 'Extreme Ways' song once again was most welcome, but it's possibly time the franchise wrapped up. If this film's the last, then I'm cool with it.