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JASON BOURNE

JasonBourneDirected by Paul Greengrass
Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Viklander

Almost a decade after the last Jason Bourne film, Matt Damon once again straps on the 9mm pistol and hangdog expression for the character’s return to the big screen.

After a decade off the grid, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is pulled back into a world of intrigue, when former handler Nicky (Julia Stiles) hacks the CIA database for evidence of ongoing black bag operations similar to Treadstone. What she finds is not only a link to Bourne’s past, but also current evidence of CIA wrong doing. The result once again pits Bourne against the organisation that created him -cue car chases, close quarters combat, divided loyalties and lots of spy chicanery.

Author Robert Ludlum’s character claimed the spy genre territory between LeCarre and Fleming. Bourne is nowhere near as outrageous as Bond, nor as gritty as “Smiley”, but instead straddles the gap as a hybrid between the two. Yet despite an update to the plot-line (well…. a thin veneer of cyber-security and Snowden/ Wikileaks references), this is what you would expect from returning Bourne – action aplenty in a murky world of espionage.

It is also a course correct from the failed attempt to spin the series with the Bourne Legacy, and brings the franchise back to the original character. Under the direction of Paul Greengrass, who really cemented the feel for that franchise with The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, this sees Bourne revived with all the flare of the previous Damon films. The action sequences are superb, filled with quick paced tension. The rapid edits that have become synonymous with the visual style of the franchise are all here. In terms of look and feel Jason Bourne is a solid action thriller.

It’s just in terms of depth that this Bourne lacks a little. Despite the excellent cast, they are given little to do and the characters feel underdeveloped. Jones, Viklander and Cassel all deliver sterling performances, but their characters all lack the nuance that would give them that needed extra layer. A criticism that can be extended to the plot itself, as the whole cyber-security aspect just serves as a new coat of paint for the CIA black ops program, and give Bourne a new stake in the game. After the trilogy wrapped up so neatly in Ultimatum, this does feel a little tacked on.

Still, when all said and done, Bourne is back. Sure Jason can shrug off damage that would dent a terminator’s metal endo- skeleton, but somehow Damon’s performance adds a humanity and vulnerability to the CIA trained killer machine. It may not have the fervor of the original trilogy, but it provides just enough spy based thrills to get you through.

DAVID O’CONNELL

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