JASON BOURNE
Author: JoAnne Hyde
Date: July 28, 2016

SYNOPSIS: The next chapter of Universal Pictures' Bourne franchise, which finds the CIA's most lethal former operative drawn out of the shadows.

Did you miss him? CIA/Black Ops/super-agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is back in director Paul Greengrass’s new film of the same name. Since he now knows who he is, the film focuses on uncovering other secrets about his past, including who really killed his father.

Bourne has been living off the grid, participating in underground fist fights for money. Things change when he is contacted by someone from his past life, now-rogue agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). She wants him to join her and a Julian Assange-type character, Christian Dassault ( Vinzenz Kiefer), in exposing CIA dirty secrets by releasing material they’ve hacked.

At first Bourne is reluctant, but Nicky convinces him by telling him that he doesn’t know “everything” yet. Now, of course, CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) gets wind of this, and will, of course, send in someone to “neutralize” anyone connected with the hack. Getting Bourne would just be an extra bonus.

With the aid of his assistant/mentee Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), he sends an assassin known only as “the asset” (Vincent Cassel) to take care of the outliers. It turns out that the asset’s and Bourne’s histories have intersected before. Ergo, there will be blood and the body count will be high. But that’s what you pay to see, right? The story is largely straightforward, except that Heather wants to bring Bourne “in” rather than kill him. Her storyline strongly suggests a future film or two. The ending is left somewhat open-ended, indicating that a sequel may be pursued.

Added to the mix is a secondary plotline involving a secret surveillance deal between the CIA and the billionaire CEO of a Facebook-style social media site called Deep Dream, Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed). Dewey and Kalloor plan a press conference, deceptive in nature, at a high tech convention in Las Vegas.

As with the previous three films, Jason Bourne is filmed on location all over the world. The only location with a substitute is Athens – that sequence was filmed in the Canary Islands due to tax and logistics considerations. Otherwise, you’ll see Iceland, Berlin, London, Rome, Washington D.C., and Las Vegas. The denouement unfolds at the convention at the Aria Resort and Casino.

All of the action sequences are done well, especially the Athens riot scenes and a spectacular car chase in Las Vegas. The chase scene took five weeks to film and wrecked 170 cars! This is what you came to see!

The ever-reliable Matt Damon turns in another intense performance as the tortured Bourne. Will this guy ever catch a break? Tommy Lee Jones is the same as he is in all his films, gruff and dour, and for this role, pitiless. Alicia Vikander is a welcome addition although she does have some trouble maintaining her accent. Her character is purposely mysterious and hints strongly at more to come. Vincent Cassel makes a very convincing assassin, stony-faced and ruthless. Riz Ahmed is quite believable as the tech billionaire/superstar.

If you’re a fan of the first three films, you’ll like this one. I haven’t read Robert Ludlum’s books from which the films have been adapted, but my movie buddy has, and he said this film sticks closer to the books than the others. So if you’re looking for a good action film with a believable hero – or anti-hero if you will – then Jason Bourne is the ticket. Me? I’d watch Matt Damon read the phone book! - JoAnne Hyde

GRADE: B+


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