July 28, 2016
The Bourne films were based on the bestselling novels written by Robert Ludlum. So far there had been five films. The series began with "The Bourne Identity" (2002), followed by "The Bourne Supremacy" (2004) and "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007), all starring Matt Damon in the title role. After a break of five years, they released a film without Damon called "The Bourne Legacy," starring Jeremy Renner as Alex Cross. This was famously shot in the streets of Manila, but the film was not too well-received by the public. For this fifth installment, Matt Damon is back as Bourne.
10 years after the events of "The Bourne Ultimatum'" rogue spy Jason Bourne still wanted to get to the bottom of how his father died and how he got into the Treadstone black ops project. The CIA director Robert Dewey will stop at nothing to keep Bourne from the terrible truth, even if it meant killing him. Meanwhile, a rising new CIA operative Heather Lee thought it would be better to convince Bourne to rejoin the CIA.
Matt Damon IS Jason Bourne. He looks like he is in better shape than ever. He has got this character perfectly under his skin already, with his ruthlessly brutish, deadly skills and nebulously violent past. Not only does he excel in the action scenes (be they chases on foot or by car, or hand-to-hand combat), he also had to make the audience feel his frustration about the the past kept secret from him by this shady organization.
Tommy Lee Jones plays yet another curmudgeonly character here. His excessively irregular and wrinkled face is really illustrative of that word. As Dewey, Jones revisits a role very similar to his Oscar award-winning role in "The Fugitive" as an official relentlessly tracking a rogue, though their intentions may not be the same.
Also playing a key role is another Oscar award-winning actress, Alicia Vikander, in the first modern-day role I have seen her in. As Heather Lee, Vikander played it low-key and mysterious, obviously hiding her true motivations, probably to be revealed in a future film. I feel there is much more to this character and we will have to wait for the next film to find out more about her.
Director Paul Greengrass was in full gritty action mode in this one -- shaky cam all the way from beginning to end. The fight scenes were shot extremely closeup. Even the car chases were shot extremely closeup. This makes the action very fast and blurry, you hardly focus on any single detail as the motion was continuous and shifty. That big chase scene down the strip in Las Vegas was one harrowing and dizzying sequence that seemed to have lasted longer than it should. Not for the weak of constitution.
The story seemed to be setting up for bigger things to come, and you can feel that they were somehow holding back. This one was good, but honestly was probably a notch below the awesomeness of the first three films, but not by much. Anyhow, it was great to see Matt Damon back again as Bourne -- that alone makes this film worth watching already. 8/10.