Sunday, 31 July 2016


Lightning struck twice for Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon in the last decade, at a time when the general public (or at least I) was more conducive to the gritty appeal of the Bourne franchise. Their return to the fray comes at a new time, made cringeworthily obvious by repeated references, as the duo, aided by editor and now co-writer Christopher Rouse, attempts to attract another bolt of inspiration from the movie gods. Jason Bourne marks only such an attempt, however, and not one in the direction of actual effort; this is a team of filmmakers resting on their laurels, and while the film thus highlights the innate, if waning, quality of those laurels, it feels lazy and redundant. It additionally feels sadly stale - politically and artistically, 2007 was a rather different time. Even still, Jason Bourne might have overcame some of these unavoidable issues were it not blighted by more, entirely of its own volition. Aside from the usual chase narrative, this is a film in which the protagonist seems largely disassociated from the events that drive it, whether he's playing catch-up with details we already know (or have gleaned - you'll see every twist coming), at the behest of plot threads established and almost entirely concerning other characters, or engaged in action with figures whose importance is rarely properly developed. Bourne himself is a supporting player here, and Damon responds with a tired performance. Rouse may be to blame for some of the film's dreadful dialogue in several laughable exposition scenes, but his editing is as sharp as ever. And it's thus that Jason Bourne is, ultimately, redeemed from its mistakes: the also unavoidable talent of its creators. Greengrass, Rouse and stunt pros Gary Powell and Roger Yuan can still work the hell out of an action sequence, upon the likes of which this franchise lives or dies. In the end, Bourne lives to fight again, but one can't help but wonder if he's on his last legs.