By Allison Skornick-Rose

Jul 28, 2016 03:20 PM EST


Jason Bourne Theatrical Review

After the Bourne Legacy, the franchise needed a boost and it certainly got one with this latest film.

After a 4 year hiatus, and 9 years for Matt Damon (The Martian), the Bourne franchise returns to theaters this week with the latest installment titled Jason Bourne.   The highly anticipated film also sees the return of Director Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) and his "shaky cam" technique.  With the original star and the popular director back, the pieces all fall into place for a blockbuster summer hit and, for the most part, it succeeds.

Jason Bourne is off the grid, living under the radar, tortured by his past.  When a familiar face shows up in Berlin, and then is killed, he is left to find out what his father's involvement with Treadstone all meant.  Confused and bewildered, he learns his father's death, which is what caused Bourne to join Treadstone in the first place, wasn't really caused by terrorists, but by his own government and the very organization he chose to become a part of.

Bourne then goes on quest to find the people responsible and exact his revenge.  However, there are other elements at play, including help from an unlikely ally, CIA agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander; The Danish Girl), and the alliance between a large electronics mogul, Aaron Kallor (Riz Ahmed; Nightcrawler) and the head of the CIA, Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones; Men in Black).  In the end, people die and Bourne is still walking around, ever a threat to the CIA.

After the Bourne Legacy, the franchise needed a boost and it certainly got one with this latest film.  Bringing back Damon and Greengrass was smart, but even they couldn't help certain elements of the movie.  The script is somewhat bogged down with details and locations, yet there are pieces that are never fully explained like why Lee wanted Dewey dead.

Greengrass, unfortunately, hasn't learned the art of moderation either and his shaky cam technique and the ADHD inducing quick cut editing, while useful, are overused in this film.  He also feeds into the idea that more is more and the car chase at the end not only lasted for what seemed like forever, but was incredibly unrealistic… a car can't get hit that many times and still keep running.

The cast, however, is excellent. Damon was a great casting choice for the brooding, stoic, highly intelligent Bourne originally and he continues to play the conflicted killer perfectly.  The additions of Vikander and Jones add an new level of respectability to the series.  Also returning is Julia Stiles (Silver Linings Playbook) as Nicky Parsons, who is probably one of my favorite characters of the whole franchise.

The story itself is ok and leads the audience to the assumption that there will be more sequels to come, but it isn't the strongest in the franchise.  It left me unfulfilled and questioning certain aspects (such as the Lee comment mentioned earlier).  The constant travel and exotic locations, while visually interesting, were also distracting and confusing at times. 

If you are a fan of the franchise you certainly won't be disappointed, but since this film has been so anticipated, I find it falls short of all the hype.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't completely love it either.  However, I'm sure it will be incredibly successful and we can look forward to more movies to come.  Maybe they will be a little better thought out and filmed. Only time will tell.

Fans will go to see Jason Bourne regardless of what I say, and, if you've seen all the other films, I think you should see this one too, but don't walk into the theater with high expectations, or you may feel let down by the end.

Grade: B-

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MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 121 minutes
Distributed By: Universal Pictures

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