By now, the audience that has watched ‘Jason Bourne’ would be wondering why a fourth sequel was even made when the storyline was never that strong enough to bring Jason back from exile. Yes, the big question on everyone’s mind. When Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon were set to join hands for yet another Jason Bourne outing, who wouldn’t have been excited in the first place?
In many ways, films in the Bourne franchise (barring Legacy) were a marked improvement (with regard to overall quality and execution) in comparison with contemporary action flicks of their respective times. The CGI application was kept at a bare minimum, and the realistically choreographed action sequences were a definite strong-point. The franchise peaked at Ultimatum and like every other person who loved the series, I too believed that Jason better be kept under wraps unless something exceptionally brilliant came along maybe years down the line. And here we are!
Unfortunately, this film cannot come close to topping Ultimatum or its prequels in terms of basic plot or thrills. But that doesn’t mean ‘Jason Bourne’ is a bad flick. It holds firm ground as a decent standalone, with a couple of mind-blowing action set pieces. The Las Vegas car-chase scene at the end was pure eye-candy for action buffs. The cinematography is yet again as shaky as it gets (in typical Bourne style!). The drawback here arrives in the form of the storyline. We, the audience, are asked to empathize with Jason over the conspiratorial death of his dad many years ago. The scene involving Jason and his father (in a flashback) lasts about two minutes to be precise. Meh, not enough to extract enough interest from an average viewer. While the reason for his murder and the proceedings that follow (such as the social media-surveillance connection) aren’t convincing by a long-shot, director Paul Greengrass tries to compensate with pulsating action played out by a cast that includes Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassell and Julia Stiles (returning as Nicky Parsons and seems to have aged gracefully).
Vikander is the new-gen addition here but surprisingly her role is mostly restrained to giving instructions from a surveillance point, up until the climax. Still, she gels with the Bourne franchise vibe quite easily and could be an interesting character to look into, in case further sequels or spin-offs are made. Cassell’s character remains that of a typical assassin for most part and he fits the bill. Damon looks old and tired, but still got the goods when it comes to doing action scenes. In fact, no serious issues at all with any of the casting choices. I also had major hopes with regards to the storyline (when Greengrass and editor Christopher Rouse were said to be penning the screenplay) but this is where I kindof felt letdown. The only scene that brought a smile to my face was at the very end, right before Moby’s ‘Extreme Ways’ started playing and the end-credits rolled up.
Nonetheless, ‘Jason Bourne’ is still several notches above your CGI filled nonsensical actioners that are churned out by Hollywood week after week. This alone makes the film worth a watch at the cinema halls. It never bores you, but it fails to top its predecessors.
*** out of five stars
Watch the trailer here: