Movie Review: Jason Bourne

By Matthew Huntley

August 4, 2016

Only Tom Cruise runs better.

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Prior to seeing Jason Bourne, I made an effort to re-watch all four preceding “Bourne” movies just to re-familiarize myself with the character and premise, even though it's not a terribly complicated series to wrap one's head around. In fact, during my revisiting it became even more obvious that each movie more or less follows the same pattern, whereby the hero must devise new ways to avoid being either captured or killed by those pursuing him.

That's pretty much the gist of their stories, and at some point during each installment, the following events take place, often in this order: a) the hero steals either a car or bike, or both, and races it through a major city's narrow streets with very sharp corners; b) the hero misleads his chasers by utilizing technology as well as a large crowd of people in a public setting; c) the hero engages in hand-to-hand combat with another professional “asset” who's been assigned to take him down and, at the same time, leverages whatever prop he can find, be it a rolled up magazine or a frying pan; d) the hero takes part in an overlong, fully-blown out car chase through a more expansive city than the one from point “a”, resulting in considerable collateral damage. Oh, and the hero endures at least three different beatings that should have killed him. But, like most heroes in action movies, he simply gets up and walks away with just a few minor cuts and bruises.

The question you may be asking is, why even bring these points up? It's not like their inclusion in Jason Bourne will dissuade anyone from seeing it. In fact, they may be the reasons most people see it in the first place, because even though they're conventions, the “Bourne” movies pull them off with such a high level of skill and craftsmanship, the audiences is able to enjoy them on these merits alone.


But, and here's why I mentioned the pattern, the franchise is starting to show its age and this latest entry feels especially redundant, which is inevitable for any series that's nearly a decade and a half old. And because it's become sort of been a Matt Damon-only vehicle (with the exception of the The Bourne Legacy), we can't imagine anyone else playing the titular character (unlike James Bond or Batman, Jason Bourne isn't as easily replaceable with another actor). Therefore, I'd say after Jason Bourne, unless the filmmakers develop a new pattern, it's high time Bourne hang up his running shoes, slow down, and accept whatever consequences come his way. He looks tired anyway.

That's not to say he hasn't still got it, and the man can still throw a mean punch. That's what we find him doing at the beginning of Jason Bourne on the border between Greece and Albania. For some time now (the movie doesn't specify how long it's been between now and the events of “The Bourne Ultimatum”), Bourne, the CIA's former “$30 million weapon” and ex-assassin, has been in hiding and surviving by taking part in underground bare-knuckle boxing matches. He's gotten exceptionally good at it, too, with the fights lasting a mere second before Bourne knocks his opponent out cold, puts his shirt back on, and goes back to looking serious and plaintive and having flashbacks of his erstwhile life as a professional killer.

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