Over the past few months, Mr. Tom Kelly has seen and reviewed almost every movie that has been released to theatres. One that he did not see and hence review was Jason Bourne. The main reason for that being that he hasn’t seen the first 3.5 films in the series. So I thought I would take a shot at it on his behalf. Spoiler free of course.
As I’ve mentioned several times recently in the few articles I’ve managed to eek out these days and on a recent podcast (yes! We do a podcast! Occasionally…), I’m a big fan of Jason Bourne. I’ve read all of Ludlum’s books and a couple of the more recent ones by Eric Van Lustbader. And have liked them. I love the first three movies in the series. I appreciate some of what they tried to do in Bourne Legacy to tie the films together, but overall it doesn’t measure up to the very high standards set by Matt Damon and directors Doug Liman (Bourne Identity) and Paul Greengrass (Bourne’s Supremacy and Ultimatum).
Needless to say I was excited by the news that Damon and Greengrass would be returning for another Bourne film after the (not at all surprising) disappointment of the Jeremy Renner lead Legacy. On our podcast I tapped Jason Bourne as the thing I was most looking forward to for the remainder of the summer, giving it a slight edge over Suicide Squad.
And then the reviews began to come in…and they were not good. I didn’t read them in lue of spoilers, but saw many headlines with the words “worst movie of the year” or something similar. I don’t know how he managed to find a theatre or send a fax from the Appalachian mountains, but our old friend Watson saw the film and gave it 4/10, saying he left with 15 minutes left because he had to collect more snow because his drinking water was running low.
All this was very disappointing to hear, but I would see the film regardless. And perhaps with my now lowered expectations instead of sky high expectations, the film would be surprisingly good.
Unfortunately, it was not.
I didn’t dislike it to the degree that Watson did, and it is a mostly passable action flick, but it is more on par with Bourne Legacy than the first trilogy. I will give it the edge over Legacy simply because of the return of Damon who is much more interesting to watch as Bourne then Renner as Bourne-Lite.
It has all the elements of a good Bourne movie. Exoctic locations. Extended car chases. Corrupt black ops agents. Double and triple crosses. People in rooms filled with computers watching screens saying “Asset” way too many times. But the story really let’s this one down.
All the Bourne films tread a fine line with the numerous agendas of the key players. Who knows what? Who knows what they shouldn’t know? Bourne basically knowing nothing. All of which being interesting in their own right and nicely managing to dovetail together at the end where of course Bourne comes out on top and walks away to the sound of Extreme Ways by Moby. Where Jason Bourne fails is that in this case, none of those agendas are the least bit interesting and/or are completely confusing and/or completely stupid. Add in an imaginary Facebook/Apple type mogul and software platform that just reeks of trying to capture something trendy and the movie for the most part is eyerolling.
Matt Damon has more dialogue than you might be lead to believe in other reviews, but has little worthwhile to say given the points above. The action is standard fair with the finale being a highlight, but again, compared to similar scenes in the previous films it lags behind.
Another disappointment from a very disappointing summer at the box office. And by the sounds of things, Suicide Squad is not going to a savior either. I give Jason Bourne 6.5 out of 10 at least it didn’t star Jeremy Renner.