Bourne is back! After nearly a decade of hiatus, Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan) has finally stepped back into the shoes of superspy Jason Bourne! Ready to kick ass, take names, expose CIA conspiracies, and provide exhilarating action! Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) returns with his skillful storytelling and compelling characters to deliver an action packed joyride we all know and love!
The Bourne movies are among my favorite action movies. I’ve always found Robert Ludlum’s novels intriguing as the only bit of conspiracy theorizing that does not immediately make me roll my eyes like many other novels or real life conspiracy theories. Even though these movies could not possibly be more different from the novels on which they share names, the movies are still a gripping tale of action, intrigue, conspiracy, CIA covert ops, and mind control/brainwashing to create the perfect weapon.
Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) is in hiding and on the run from the CIA. Parsons is working to uncover information about Bourne and Operation Treadstone, the program that turned US Marine David Webb into CIA spy/assassin Jason Bourne. Parsons uncovers information about a new program, Operation Ironhand.
As Parsons hacks the CIA to learn more about Ironhand, the situation becomes critical, resulting in the Director of the CIA Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) personally involving himself to stop the leak. CIA Cyber Ops Division agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) counter-hacks Parsons and installs malware to prevent Parsons from opening files about Ironhand.
We see Bourne has made a semi-living since going underground. Bourne is in Greece in illegal fighting matches for people to take bets on. Parsons tracks down Bourne, but Lee tracked Parsons, and the CIA has their operatives converging on Parsons’ and Bourne’s location.
We learn that Bourne’s father, Richard Webb (Gregg Henry) was involved in Treadstone and there may be more to the story than Bourne realizes. The hunt is on for the truth about Ironhand!
The story is typical Bourne flair: Bourne is uncovering information, gets into several fights with CIA ops, connects the dots about the old white guy, gets in a car chase, fights an ultimate super assassin. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
This may be just me, but I have a feeling there is a “Bourne curse”, on both the movies and the novels. Ever since Ludlum’s death, the Bourne novels have never felt quite the same as the ones Ludlum himself wrote. While not bad per se, the feeling is just not there. The recent novels don’t capture the imagination or intrigue the way Ludlum’s did. The same applies to the movies.
In the spin-off movie, The Bourne Legacy, we were introduced to someone no one cared about played by Jeremy Renner (Thor, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol). The pieces were all there for a typical Bourne adventure, but it just did not feel the same without Damon. Renner gets a bad rap in anything he’s in, I think he’s a really good actor, but Matt Damon IS Jason Bourne. Jason Bourne is not James Bond. Bourne is one of those roles that has become synonymous with the actor, similar to Kiefer Sutherland (Young Guns, A Few Good Men) as Jack Bauer on 24 and Sam Waterston (The Great Gatsby (1974), The Newsroom) as Jack McCoy on Law and Order. I’m aware of the new series 24: Legacy with Corey Hawkins (Iron Man 3, Straight Outta Compton) as the lead and I will give it a chance as I’ve always done but I’m afraid 24 won’t quite feel the same without Sutherland playing Bauer.
Regardless, Jason Bourne is a thrilling summer action movie and an experience well worth your time and money. Is it a movie that needed to exist? No, but it exists now and I’m surprisingly glad it does exist. I may not want to watch it again like I have for the original trilogy but it is still a fun joyride and there is a solid foundation for a sequel, because we all know a sequel is coming like it or not.
*Image Source: USA today