Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
“JASON BOURNE” My rating: C+ (Opens wide on July 29)
123 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13
It’s good to see Matt Damon back in action.
“Jason Bourne” marks his return to the renegade spy franchise after sitting out 2012’s “The Bourne Legacy” (in which Jeremy Renner played a fellow super assassin).
But let’s get real: This installment is less a continuation of the saga than a recycling of stuff we’ve already seen.
To say it’s superficial is giving it too much credit.
Writer/director Paul Greengrass (who helmed Nos. 2 and 3 in the series, “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum”) doesn’t even make a token effort at original plotting or character development. Nobody in this film has an inner life.
What he concentrates on to the exclusion of all else is movement.
The film is one long chase around the globe (Greece, Iceland, D.C., Berlin, London, Las Vegas) captured in jittery handheld camerawork and rapid-fire cutting. Is there one shot here that runs for as much as five seconds? Don’t think so.
At first it’s exciting. The movie radiates energy like a pubescent boy on a three-day Red Bull binge.
After a while it becomes numbing.
We encounter our fugitive hero on the Greece/Turkey border, where he has a gig as a street fighter. Basically he beats up other pugilists for money. It’s ugly work, but it keeps Bourne off the grid.
Enter former CIA agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), who has turned on her former employers and has now discovered evidence of the origins of the Treadstone superspy program — including a revelation about the crucial role played by Bourne’s late father.
But back in Virginia, CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones, looking ever more like a 3-D topographical map of Arizona) is on the hunt for our man. Dewey is putting the final touches on a sixth-generation version of Treadstone and doesn’t want a wild card like Jason Bourneout there to spill the beans.
He employs the talents of cyber analyst Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) to track down Bourne. Soon Heather comes to believe that maybe Bourne isn’t such a bad guy after all (although her long game is hard to pin down).
But Bourne still must contend with another assassin, known only as “The Asset” (Vincent Cassel), who carries his own grudge against our hero.
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