Review: Jason Bourne (2016)


It’s been nine years since Matt Damon starred as the titular amnesiac assassin of the Bourne series, with the third instalment providing complete closure to his arc. And yet, after a failed spin-off, Damon has found his way back for another outing that incorporates many modern-day issues to fit with the times, such as the exponential development of social media and privacy concerns, but never fully warrants its existence. Bourne (Damon) is drawn out of the shadows when Nicky (Julia Stiles), intent on exposing confidential information, attracts the CIA’s attention, once more ending up on the run. Like before, what comes after involves chases, whether on foot or in vehicles, through an endless array of cities as Bourne is tracked and hunted by CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones). It’s frenetic and fast-paced, director Paul Greengrass back in the hot seat for more documentary-like intensive camera work. There’s quick cuts aplenty, and plenty of lingering shots on tech software and startled faces. This time, however, save from a blistering opening in Athens, it tires quickly, mostly because underneath there’s not much of a narrative. With his memory mostly fully in tact, the mystery element that kept audiences intrigued has mostly dissipated. Bourne has no real objective, and the other threads (Riz Ahmed’s dubious Mark Zuckerberg-esque pioneer) feel tacked on, meaning that, come the end, the comeback is a lot of bang without the buck.

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