Once a CIA agent, always a CIA agent? Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) tries his best to prove otherwise. It’s been ten years since he walked away from the agency and in this installment he is gainfully employed as an illegal bare knuckle boxer somewhere near a border between Greece and Macedonia (you don’t want to know where) . It is certainly not a career he would dream of but the man should get points for independence and finding a niche in difficult circumstances 😉 .
Of course the demons of the past remain active and vigilant. CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) assigns hacker and counterinsurgency expert Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) to find Jason. Lee suspects that former operative Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) is also looking for him. As she begins tracking the duo, Bourne finds himself back in action battling a sinister network that utilizes terror and technology to maintain unchecked power. He has to stop them, not to mention a mysterious assassin known as just Asset (Vincent Cassel) who might or might not be the man behind the death of Bourne’s father.
I liked this movie far more than I’d thought I would. The director ditched old Robert Ludlum books and decided to follow an entirely modern scenario, with CIA being able to follow people via drones, local CCTV systems, and satellites in real time. This is a world of “full spectrum surveillance” wherein the lines between protection and terror are murky and blurred at best, non-existent at worst. I enjoyed those scenes the most – a showcase what contemporary technology is capable to do in wrong hands. Other frenetically edited action sequences weren’t bad as well – especially one chase scene through an anti-austerity riot in Athens (actually shot in Tenerife or so I’ve read) or the car chase in Las Vegas with the Trump hotel clearly visible in the skyline.
I also have to grant it: Matt Damon has grown into the role. In the last installment he fits it really well, far better than at the beginning. His speech may be sparse, but his body is expressively talkative, conveying violence, pathos and even tragedy in surprisingly precise fashion. Also the Snowden/social media hints refreshed the whole formula even though the ingredients remained basically the same. Nobody is to be trusted, all technological gizmos can be used more often for bad than for good purposes and, when the worst comes to the worst, the silent, strong hero might return to basics and use a table leg or a chair, never a social media site.
What didn’t work? There were just two moments that made me stop in my tracks and laugh. In one Nicky Parsons, knowing fully well she might be pursued by ruthless assassins, runs through the crowd of rioting Greeks waving her blonde mane like a flag for anybody to spot. Hello, girlie, where’s your self-preservation instinct? Can’t you put a hood, a cap or a scarf on ? The next moment happened in London when Vincent Cassel gets rid of his surveillance chip, throwing it into a bin. Well, since those infamous terrorist attacks there have been almost no litter bins on London streets…Add to that characters which might seem a bit too shallow if you are not well-versed in the Jason Bourne universe (yes, I’ve read Ludlum books some time ago) and you starts to understand all those critical voices better.
While watching this one I had a feeling that Jason Bourne delivered fans of the franchise more of what they’ve come to expect. It might be its biggest asset or its biggest flaw, depending on your personal views. I liked it well enough even though it was pure entertainment, zero thinking. I also liked the ambiguity of the ending and the fact that it is the last part. Finally. Or maybe not? ;p