Jason Bourne (2016) – Paul Greengrass

Director Paul Greengrass got the band back together for the fourth Bourne sequel, bringing Matt Damon’s turn at Robert Ludlum’s iconic character another shot at the big screen. And while there’s some cool ideas at work in the story, when the plot makes it ‘personal’ for Bourne to get him involved in the narrative, the film falls into an inevitable stumble.

Bourne is drawn out of his hiding in Greece by Nicky (Julia Stiles) who is working within a hackers’ group to dig into the CIA’s hidden programs and agenda. She discovers that Bourne’s own father was involved in the original Treadstone program that recruited him. A ‘reveal’ the series didn’t need.

Meanwhile, State-side CIA head Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) is dealing with Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) a social media guru who is about to unveil improvements on his new platform which has users worldwide. It seems the CIA wants a backdoor into the program to continue its data collection on people around the globe.

That is a great and very relevant story piece, also showing anti-government protests happening in Greece, the backdrop for the first big action sequence of the film makes the subplots that much more interesting than the contrived personal plot point that is brought in to move Bourne along.

Jason-Bourne-2016

Working at the agency is Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), who is working cyber-ops and convinces Dewey to let her in on the hunt for the resurfaced Bourne.

There are some cool sequences, and Vincent Cassel appearing as an Asset in the hunt for Bourne is a great addition to the cast, but it’s hard to get into a story that seems contrived, especially when the smaller narratives are much more interesting.

Damon is still in great form as Bourne, and the action sequences are still ably handled in the visual style early in the series, and I love the sense of continuity with all of the characters, but I just had no time, or suspension of disbelief for the familial connection for Bourne.

Yes, the writers make it as believable as they can, and it gives us a new light on why Bourne signed up for Treadstone, but was it needed? What if Bourne had been drawn back into events because the hacker group was going to dox agents around the globe? He’d have to find a balance between the CIA and the information, and then tie Kalloor’s social media platform into that?

I love the Bourne films, I even enjoy Legacy, but this one has to be my least favourite in the series, and one hopes that they get a chance to make one more so that this isn’t the less than stellar end for the character. I mean, they do lay groundwork for another follow-up as the film closes. Who knows?

Maybe Jason Bourne will resurface again.

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