This fourth instalment in the Jason Bourne film canon definitely isn’t the best of the series – but still offers up action fare a cut above most entries in the genre.
It will probably sit third in the franchise as a whole – comfortably better than Legacy and Identity, but not quite in the same league as Supremacy and Ultimatum – and is a sort of reboot that could herald a new trilogy, or not, as they may have just about exhausted Matt Damon’s character after a nine-year hiatus.
It’s basically set around four set-pieces – a cracking Athens intro followed by further major scenes in Berlin, London and Las Vegas – that are nicely pieced together with the usual accomplished direction of helmer Paul Greengrass (who directed the aforementioned Supremacy and Ultimatum), even though you could argue each scene has been touched upon in previous entries, thus providing nothing ground-breakingly new.
But they’re still impressively solid scenes nonetheless – particularly a climactic car chase along the Vegas Strip – and definitely make the movie well worth a watch just as an action film in its own right.
Now fully recovered from the amnesia which saw Bourne disappear ‘off the grid’ after swimming away in New York’s East River at the end of Ultimatum, he gets tracked down by old ally Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) after spending his guilt-wrecked days prize-fighting in Greece.
And when she unveils a new initiative more advanced than the one he was involved in, he gets dragged back into the world he thought he’d left behind, with Tommy Lee Jones’ dodgy CIA agency director Robert Dewey, hot-shot cyber division chief Heather Lee (The Danish Girl’s Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander) – and a hired hitman known as ‘The Asset’ (Ocean’s Twelve’s Vincent Cassel) – tailing him across the globe with the fear he will reveal previous top-secret programs.
Throw in a twist or two – particularly centred around Bourne’s father – then everything satisfyingly meshes together to make this a generally worthwhile entry, with both Vikander and Lee Jones providing noteworthy support.
The only slight tinge of disappointment is that there’s nothing really new brought to the table that only makes this solid, serviceable fare, and nothing more.
But Damon’s performance through his pain-staking body language (he actually has very few lines in this) always makes his character one of the more intriguing ‘action men’ of the past generation – and even if this ends up as a standalone film it was just about worth telling.
It definitely has a strong identity, never quite reigns supreme, and isn’t the ultimate Bourne – but still enjoyably extends his legacy.
Gavin Miller[youtube id=”F4gJsKZvqE4″ width=”600″ height=”350″]
Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh, Scott Shepherd, Bill Camp, Vinzenz Kiefer & Gregg Henry
Running Time: 2 Hrs 3 Mins
Director: Paul Greengrass
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