Saturday, July 30, 2016

Jason Bourne - Review

Jason Bourne

It’s only appropriate that the film “Jason Bourne” starts out with him bareknuckle boxing, somewhere in remote Greece probably not too far from where we first saw him floating in the Mediterranean in ‘The Bourne Identity”. After all it has been his boxing skills, plus a high IQ and quick agility to extricate  and escape impossible circumstances that overall has made the JB series one of the more perplexing and popular espionage film characters.

So with this array of well-developed and honed attributes we have followed the gone rogue CIA agent for 12 years now as he attempts to survive on the run from a range of international assassins under the authority of the CIA who simply want him (for better or worse) dead.  And if you exclude that cinematic hiccup in 2012 starring Jeremy Brenner in “The Bourne Legacy” playing  a similar  super CIA Agent on the run named Aaron Cross, the overall legacy of 3 of the 4 “Bourne films” have had Matt Damon at the helm with the results always being spectacular, thrilling and smart entertainment. So, you ask what has Jason been up to.

PREMISE: Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, recent Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), and Vincent Cassel (Ocean 13 and The Black Swan) it’s been nine years after his disappearance from New York at the conclusion of The Bourne Ultimatum. In 2016 we find Jason Bourne unexpectedly resurfacing at a time when the world is faced with unprecedented instability through the back drop of US agencies wrestling with the need for national security at all cost verses personal privacy at all cost. At the same time, a new program has been created to hunt Jason down while he is still trying to find all the answers to his past and family, which as in the past has essentially left him without answers as to who he was and who he is now.

REVIEW: It’s so good to see this franchise revived at the hands of Director Paul Greengrass who directed Supremacy and Ultimatum. From the onset Greengrass appropriately makes it clear our Jason is a weary and tired man as he looks like someone worn down from having to look over his shoulders 24 -7 with advancing gray hair and wrinkles around the eyes. Jason is approaching middle age before our eyes.

But in short order Greengrass takes us on a typical Bourne chase sequence about 30 minutes into the film with the intent (I guess) of capturing the same brilliant chaotic crispness and magical intrigue from the previous films. Instead it felt like a simple retread from “The Bourne Ultimatum’ boarding purely on “Bourne Redundancy”. And yet after that minor miscue the film does settle down to be better than it started. Why?

Well, because of Matt Damon of course, which makes the Jason Bourne film the best action thriller I have seen this year. And while it is not as edgy in the past – maybe not as passionate in the past and in fact even a bit more subdued than in the past, it still works.

Yeah I know Rotten Tomato has it underwater with a score of 59, but for me it still has terrific chase sequences, terrific fight scenes, smart uses of cyber technology and a smart easy plot pace to follow. And while some scene transitions seem a bit out laddish just like in “Star Trek Beyond” it is still just fun to watch.

Furthermore Damon owns the DNA of this character as the laconic, restless, emotionally wounded and personally conflicted Jason Bourne. He is like a “Dark Knight” figure of real flesh and blood minus any reliance on a bullet proof fancy suit or a souped up car or unusual electronic devices to help him survive. It’s all mental acuity and physical instincts on full display with JB and a concise and precise joy to see.

Ultimately with all of the previous Bourne efforts, its all about Jason. Why, because we root for someone who seems underneath like a good guy inspite of the fact the entire world seems to want him dead.

See Jason Bourne – “The Bourne Remastered”.

3 – 1/2 Stars

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