The longer we wait for a movie, the greater our expectations appear to become. However, expectations can so easily lead to disappointment, evidenced by one of this year’s biggest flops, Batman vs. Superman. Unlikely to ever be as revolutionary as The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne feels slightly formulaic as it hurtles through a fast paced narrative littered with devastating action scenes. That said, if it ain’t broke why fix it? Well-tested formula aside, the film is absolutely invigorating. Despite being admittedly unoriginal, the plot manages to move fast enough that it all feels fresh and exciting. Jason Bourne doesn’t try to tack itself on as a true sequel to The Bourne Ultimatum, instead standing alone with its own storyline.
With Greece in crisis, for a reason that is unbeknownst to the viewer, the film opens on Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) obtaining some classified documents from the CIA. Within these files lie Bourne’s motives for the film, signalling a move away from past focus on taking down the institution that turned him into the killer that he is. In a series that has never been focused on saving the world, something that really sets the films apart from its genre partners, we see the focus narrowed even further.
As the film doesn’t directly continue the story of Ultimatum, the recurring character list is very short. Bourne and Parsons are the only two that carry over allowing a new crop of supporting cast to be introduced, all of who are absolutely fantastic. Alicia Vikander plays Heather Lee, the young CIA operative who is more than meets the eye, and the Academy Award winner delivers another wonderful performance. Tommy Lee Jones is a steely CIA Director who tries to throw his weight around within the agency and outside, and in the line of brilliant ‘Assets’ that are thrown at Bourne (Clive Owen, Karl Urban and Joey Ansah) is Vincent Cassel, a no nonsense killer with a personal grudge against Bourne that sets him apart.
The film is technically engaging, with Paul Greengrass using his extensive talent to provide an exciting, hard-hitting, action-rich package. With Matt Damon at the helm, something just feels right, like it shouldn’t be any other way. And while the film’s narrative doesn’t really increase the stakes other than creating some personal motive for Bourne himself, it manages to feel fast paced and purposeful.
What you have come to expect from a film in the Bourne series you get in spades; it may even be the most bang for your buck action throughout the series. The chase scenes (yes, multiple) are exciting and wonderfully shot, as long as you can handle the shaky cam. Bourne’s various close quarters combat fights are not as drawn out as films past but still pack the proverbial punch.
As much as it feels familiar, Jason Bourne manages to toe the line of being ‘samey’ whilst providing fans with everything they come to the series for, setting itself apart from just any action series. We don’t know what is next for Bourne (the film’s ending leaves just enough room to go any way) but I sure hope this isn’t the last time we see the Greengrass/Damon juggernaut on the big screen. Welcome back, Jason Bourne.
If it ain't broke don't fix it. Bourne is back feeling invigorating as ever, full of everything you could want.