Title: Jason Bourne
Director Paul Greengrass
Summary: The most dangerous former operative of the CIA is drawn out of hiding to uncover hidden truths about his past.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the Bourne movies. I know I’ve seen all three of them but I cannot recall a single detail from all of them. I just remember that they were fun to watch at the time, but that I cannot imagine they have aged well. The rapid cut editing and shaky camera that defined the original trilogy were a novelty at the time, but compared to todays standards I had to wonder if they really could stand the test of time. This was also a movie that was on my far too long list of “movies I keep forgetting were coming out” which didn’t say a lot about how anticipated I was for it.
Jason Bourne feels like a relic of ten years ago that doesn’t bring anything new to the table and left me oddly bored.
There is a reason I often come down rather hard on action movies that rely heavily on rapid cut editing and shaky cameras; they make it hard to have a sense of space. This is a problem I have always had with the Bourne movies. We were about five minutes into Jason Bourne when I realized that I couldn’t remember a single thing that had happened in the previous four movies. This is because of the editing and the filming style; while it gives the movie a very grounded and gritty feeling it also diminishes any sense of space and you can’t remember where anyone is in reference to each other. There is a hand-to-hand fight at the end of Jason Bourne that was so all over the place that I can’t recall a single detail. I even had a hard time keeping track of who was punching whom because the camera was moving around so much.
This is something that the original Bourne movies did which is why they tend to blur together, even for fans. This type of filmmaking was new to the table when the original trilogy came out but now every movie is shot this way. The thing that made the Bourne movies unique is, ironically, the thing that makes the new movie feel extremely conventional. The plot itself is full of contrivances and double crosses, but again this is something that we see in almost all movies about the government. Jason Bourne is very much a sequel to its previous movies in that it brings nothing new to not only its series, but a genre it helped define.
There are things that work but they were so few and far between that I never really connected with the movie as a whole. There is an extended chase scene through Las Vegas and the only thing I took out of it was the massive loss of life. When I get distracted by loss of life in an action movie that means the movie is not keeping me engaged. Matt Damon is still excellent in the role and I was pleased with the direction that they took with Alicia Vikander’s new character of Heather Lee, but those moments weren’t enough to make me forgive just how bored I was by the entire movie.
Jason Bourne is a movie that hasn’t adapted to the genre it helped define. The Bourne trilogy gave us a new breed of action movie and action star so a sequel that just makes more of that cannot help but feel dated somehow. The fans of the previous movies will likely find a lot to enjoy in this new entry, but as someone who only has a passing fondness of the series this brought nothing new to the table.