In a recent interview, “Jason Bourne” co-writer and director Paul Greengrass revealed that Matt Damon’s title character only has about 25 lines of dialogue in the entire film. After seeing this fifth “Bourne” installment – he wasn’t exaggerating! Damon delivers short, declarative sentences on just about 25 occasions. So, in honor of this achievement, the following review is made-up of 25 (mostly) short, declarative sentences:
“Jason Bourne” is a two-hour cat-and-mouse game. And that’s ALL it is. Nine years after “Ultimatum”, Bourne is back on the grid. He’s angry, seeking revenge and looking for answers. Bourne wants to know why he became a CIA assassin in the first place. If he has to kill a few more people in order to get what he wants – than that’s exactly what he’ll do.
CIA director Dewey (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and his young internet prodigy (played by Alicia Vikander) are out to find him. The outlaw Bourne reunites with old friend Nicky (Julia Stiles). Meantime, a Silicon Valley tech giant is launching a new surveillance service. All isn’t what it seems. The creator (played by “Nightcrawler”’s Riz Ahmed) is in over his head. Not original.
The story is ultra-basic instead of ultra-modern. The screenplay is so mindlessly thin it screams “Franchise Revival Money Grab”. For a film with a main character who’s constantly on the run, “Jason Bourne” feels so stable, stagnant and stale. It lacks energy and the willingness to go deeper to provide the audience with some substance, instead relying, almost solely, on chase scenes.
I had a lot of problems with 2012’s “The Bourne Legacy”, with Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross. Much like “Jason Bourne”, it was really, REALLY talky. But at least “Legacy” had other elements (including a romance between Renner and Rachel Weisz) that kept your interest.
Greengrass’s trademark close-ups brought me back to my experience watching “Captain Phillips”. Once again I felt a little seasick. Filming locations include Athens, Berlin, D.C. and London. The climactic Las Vegas strip car chase sequence is fantastic. Otherwise, “Jason Bourne” is a bore.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Jason Bourne” gets a D.
Running Time: 123 min.