I’ve always liked the Bourne series enough, without actually loving it. But I wouldn’t exactly call myself a big fan of the series. And when I heard Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass were returning for a fourth Bourne movie, I was admittedly a little surprised because for me, the series wrapped up the story with last movie, Bourne Ultimatum.
The fourth Bourne movie feels a little different and apart from the rest of the series, not only because it has come out nearly ten years after the last one, but also because, it aims to tell a story about a timely subject like surveillance. And while there are some big positives to seeing Bourne back on the big screen, at the same time, there are things that hold the film back.
The film focuses primarily about Bourne finding out more about his past, after he is lured out of hiding by CIA director Robert Dewey, and agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander).
What works best about Jason Bourne are the action sequences. The opening sequence set in Athens is easily one of the franchise’s best, which flows at such a brisk pace, all while racking up the suspense and intensity at a continuous pace. And then into the second act, we get another sequence in Berlin, just as good, where you have Bourne, the CIA and a group of operatives playing a game of cat and mouse, which unfolds simply brilliantly. Greengrass is as adept as ever with the action, even if his shaky-cam routine gets annoying and distracting at times and the performances work really well, Alicia Vikander and Tommy Lee Jones manage to steal the spotlight from Matt Damon, with two very good performances, even though Damon is at his brooding best as the former CIA operative.
But while that’s all good, the movie consistently feels dragged down by inconsistent pacing, which occurs due to the film’s attention to it’s clumsily told sub-plot about surveillance via internet privacy, which includes Riz Ahmed playing a Mark Zukerberg-type tech-genius billionaire, who may or may not be be involved in shady stuff. And if you take out those two signature set-pieces, there isn’t a lot of excitement to be had here. Furthermore, towards the end I was starting to get a real sense of been here, seen this. Because the film does rehash some minor elements of previous Bourne films.
I’m going to recommend this, just barely. Because watching Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass return to the Bourne franchise is something that needs to be seen, but I think you should also be vary of the fact that it simply isn’t upto the level of the previous films.