"Jason Bourne": Older Damon, Old Formula

Matt Damon is back in arguably his career defining role as Jason Bourne. The new film, re-teams Damon and director Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy, Bourne Ultimatum) and the formula still works. It’s the action and set pieces that make this spy thriller pop, while it tastes like bubble gum on it’s way out. You know, the kind that started out great but you’re getting a couple final chews out of it before you spit it out?

Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), embedded in a hacktivist group, hacks into the CIA and finds information that’s just good enough to bring Jason (Damon) back on to the grid. Or maybe, it’s the fact that she in particular contacts him to meet. Whatever the case, the two meet in Athens, Greece amidst an uprising, bringing the agency to the party as well. Armed with new information about his past, a chain reaction kicks off for Bourne to follow the trail.

In this installment, we’re introduced to the new CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and the head of the CIA’s cyber ops division, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander). Lee is put on the case after using her skills to prove she can keep up with Bourne’s moves. Vincent Cassel is also introduced as the knew Asset from the program, who just may have a tie to Bourne’s past as well.

Greengrass knows how to build tension visually. He gives us the lay of the land in a wide and then twists our focus with mids and close-ups as to keep us on edge with the characters. He offers us two amazing chase sequences in Athens and on the Las Vegas strip! It’s the type that will have you hold your breath, and if you need a reminder that it’s just a movie, you have to salute the choreography of it all!

While the film is stacked with a talented cast, everyone seems to have either dialed in their performance, or been written into a stereotypical corner. Vikander’s Heather Lee is fresh off the cookie sheet of other driven, elite hackers who have risen to the top of the bad guy class. She’s cold, calculated, but bland personality wise. Which is sad because Vikander is such a talent as evidenced by her recent Oscar win. Tommy Lee Jones just got paid for this one. He picked up a check and paid bills. It’s in Damon and Cassel, the two characters who do the least talking, that we get the heartfelt performances.

Jason Bourne is a solid entry into the franchise as far as giving us another chance to see Matt Damon as Jason. The action sequences alone are reason to see it in theaters on the big screen. It’s unfortunate that the overall story and some of its characters don’t get the same care!

Rating: C+

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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.