It took almost 10 years and one ill-fated reboot/spin-off to get another (real) Bourne film into cinemas but it has officially arrived and currently almost made $200 million worldwide. When we meet Bourne again he’s living off the grid, fighting for money and dealing with the consequences of his actions as a killer while still gradually gaining back his memory, until his old friend Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) tracks him down to tell him there’s even more he doesn’t know and that the government is planning another program, worse than the one that ruined his life. So begins the destruction and mayhem that always follows closely behind Jason Bourne.
It’s hard to find a bad word to say about Matt Damon, he’s a terrific actor, widely known as an all around great guy and he slips back into the role like no time has passed. Damon gives you exactly what you want and more, with a character that has been through so much you wouldn’t expect there to be more to add and yet there is, which he gives the audience flawlessly. It’s unfortunate that he’s the only part of the cast that isn’t flawed, while Alicia Vikander was a brilliant addition to the cast, her character of Heather Lee, cyber expert, is nowhere near the depth that we usually see from this actress. While her performance is great, the story and writing has not given her enough that she can really get her teeth into and show her talent, leaving her as more of a pawn than a player which is a similar result as with a lot of the other characters. Such as Vincent Cassell, who is a well respected actor but English language films have a pattern of not doing him justice, and this is no exception, his character receives very little care and attention and feels entirely formulaic and predictable, yet another plot device rather than a genuine character. Then there’s Tommy Lee Jones and his CIA Director Dewey, it’s the same thing you see from Jones in nearly every single film and at this point it is not entertaining to watch and again completely predictable. Lastly, many viewers will be happy to see the return of Stiles’ Parsons but her screen time is extremely limited which is one of the more disappointing aspects of the film.
The most important factor is that this feels like a Bourne film, it doesn’t feel changed or different because of the lapse in time, skipping from country to country and running a fantastic pace throughout, while keeping the sense of imminent danger that is vital, is all still there in abundance. While visually and thematically the film feels perfectly consistent with the other films, the story has issues because when really thought about, it’s just much too simple, there have been attempts to beef it up with Riz Ahmed’s tech genius Aaron Kalloor but the addition simply doesn’t work and adds only one moment of value, the rest of which could have been achieved with a few lines of dialogue rather than several moments spread throughout the film. Simplified it just doesn’t feel strong enough, which is hindered further by the typical Bourne flashbacks which in this case feel overused and become rather repetitive. On the other hand, yet again it provides us with some fantastically choreographed chases both on foot and in various vehicles and the physical action of these films is forever increasing in quality and cannot be faulted.
Most importantly, after all this time a film worthy of the sequel has been made, it follows in the footsteps of the films before it in a satisfactory manner. While it has issues, they don’t dramatically take away from its value as a whole or the watching experience, it is still as entertaining as it should be and Bourne fans will not be disappointed with this one but it sadly just isn’t one to shout about.