"Now, for the last time before I start breaking thins, explain the ending of No Country For Old Men so that I understand it!" CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) gets confronted by an old nemesis (Matt Damon) when the titular character comes looking for answer in JASON BOURNE. Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon © 2016 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh, Scott Shepherd, Bill Camp and Julia Stiles

WRITER(S): Paul Greengrass and Christopher Rouse (screenplay); Robert Ludlum (characters)

DIRECTOR(S): Paul Greengrass


THE STORY AS BEST WE KNOW IT: Picking up a decade after the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason Bourne begins with showing just how far off the grid the titular character (Matt Damon) has gone, since he earning a living as an underground fighter in Greece. So, when he sees former Treadstone operative Nicolette "Nicky" Parsons (Julia Stiles) only to discover she has information for him ... And this information could end up causing Bourne to ask more questions with answers he may not ready to handle.

Meanwhile, CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) is alerted to Nicky's activities when an old laptop goes off and cyber intelligence agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) alerts him to the problem. Now about to launch a program more intense than the Treadstone one that birthed the CIA's prodigal son, Dewey can't afford to have Parsons and Bourne popping up causing trouble. Thus, in addition to have teams ready to track him around the world, he has a man simply known as the Asset (Vincent Cassel) ready to strike at a moment's notice to take care of the problem. But since he's working very closely with Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed), a Mark Zuckerberg-like head of a company called Deep Dream on its latest software release, Dewey has bigger fish to fry.

That is, if Bourne doesn't end up frying him and everyone connected to Treadstone and the CIA's latest Black Ops program first.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? Matt Damon fans; Alicia Vikander fans; Edward Snowden enthusiasts; People that enjoyed the previous Bourne films (not including that one starring a current Avengers-alum we shall not speak of)

WHO WILL HATE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? Those who are starting the notice all the similarities between the Bourne movies in terms of story and scenes; Julia Stiles fans; Those growing tired of following all the twists and turns as Bourne fills in the gaps in his backstory. 

SO IS IT GOOD, GREAT, JUST ALL RIGHT OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? A film that personifies the mantra "the more things change, the more they stay the same," Jason Bourne is fine action movie that will satisfy fans of the Bourne series ... Even if they've seen a LOT of it before. 

Over time, film franchises develop certain traits that become the selling points of their existence. In Jason Bourne, director Paul Greengrass (who also co-wrote the script) makes sure all the tentpoles are present so there' no mistaken what film you're watching. Unfamiliar with the Bourne movie staples checklist? It includes:

  • Jason Bourne will ALWAYS disappear into a crowd and only one person, either his latest attempted assassin or the woman trying to possibly help him will see him right before he turns out of sight;
  • The government official in charge – in this case, Tommy Lee Jones' Dewey – will ALWAYS have a secondary backup plan in the form of an assassin designed to take Bourne out and be willing to sacrifice the first line of defense to get them into position to kill him;
  • There will ALWAYS be a male assassin that has either a personal connection to Bourne and/or seems to be his equal since they went through similar training that he must fight in a really crowded room or underground space;
  • If you get close to Jason Bourne, you're going to die ... Or at the very least, have to go into hiding;
  • Any cell phone in a Bourne movie will at least be used once or twice to feature a U.S. government official making a veiled or direct threat that will eventually but certainly blow up in their face;
  • Bourne will suffer a series of flashbacks that will only become clear right before his final confrontation sequence;
  • The government official he is set to face off with will always try to convince Bourne he needs to "give in" to being Bourne and forget anything about being David Webb (his birth name in case you forgot);
  • Bourne will ALWAYS learn he was lied to even more than he already had learned he had been lied to before; AND
  • Bourne is ALWAYS gonna leave someone a message to let them know that if they pursue him, he's one step ahead of them AFTER everything above happens.
Now, while all of the above sounds formulaic ... Well, sorry. That doesn't make it any less true. It also doesn't make Jason Bourne any less entertaining once things really get rolling after a somewhat slow start. 

Looking every bit like a man who has had the government trying to kill him for more than a decade (and a very in shape but definitely 45 year-old man), Damon proves himself more than still capable of making you believe in the mystique that is his character: Calculated, skilled, confused and trying to make sense of it all. When it's time to punch, kick and/or shoot, he does. When it's time for him to be surprised by a new revelation that the audience may or may not see coming, he's surprised and conflicted. And everything else pretty falls into place. 

Likewise, Jones plays his role like many of his male predecessors before him: Cold, calculating and calm under pressure with Cassel doing what an assassin with a vendetta against our protagonist would. Jason Bourne isn't attempting to reinvent the wheel by any means, just make sure it is shiny and still looks good. Per her usual, Alicia Vikander is able to make her character have more meaning (both in terms of her significance to the story and her actions) than one might expect. Doing both of those things is vital to the story working, but without Vikander exhibiting skill in doing so, the film would largely fall apart, so she deserves credit for making sure that not only does not happen, but makes you wonder how her character will evolve in the Bourne universe. 

In short, Jason Bourne ultimately proves you'll remember his name ... Even if you remember a little bit of this story because you've seen bits and pieces of it before. 



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