Bourne is not done yet.
Thanks to Universal Pictures Australia, we had the chance to see Paul Greengrass’s Jason Bourne before its Australian release in cinemas. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself!
Despite many thinking that the Bourne trilogy popularized the constant frustrating use of shaky cam in action scenes, you cannot deny that the original Bourne trilogy contained a raw experience of thrill whilst being devilishly sophisticated in its plots. As I was waiting at the Universal Studios office with other critics to screen the film, one of them mentioned to the other that he watched The Bourne Legacy again, and didn’t feel that it deserved the hate that it got. I could not agree more. That film’s greatest shortcoming was probably not having a story that mattered. It still felt like Bourne though with great set-pieces, action scenes and government conspiracy except with meaningless characters. This one however, attempts to take the full cake.
Directed by Paul Greengrass, the director of the original Bourne trilogy and other notable films like the Oscar Award-winning Captain Phillip, this man takes no quarter in bringing the scale up to 11 on everything that made the original Bourne trilogy great. The plot entails Bourne trying to hide from danger in the shadows, while the US government is up to its hubris once again and does another highly unethical, monitoring program for US international security. Bourne finds out some rather shocking details about his past that relates to the future of this program and so comes another quest for truth for poor, old traumatised Bourne fighting against powers bigger than himself.
Okay, this plot is noticeably recycled with an ending that makes one wonder if Bourne has gained anything significant. Our new CIA adversaries are played by Tommy Lee Jones (No Country for Old Men ahoy!) and Alicia Vikander (who did an incredible performance in Ex Machina). These two both came across as people that believe in American patriotism, and the end justifying the means. It’s a shame that these villains aren’t more three dimensional in their character development but then there are the spectacles.
In fact, there’s so much spectacle that you almost feel like you’re getting the Man of Steel syndrome of not being able to breathe from so many grand scale action scenes. They are choreographed expertly though and I could not begin to imagine how stressful it would’ve been to shoot and organise so many of these environments with extras, stunt work and location. There are some seriously intense car chase scenes to be had here that are extremely satisfying whilst breeding so much tension that you can’t keep your eyes off. They seriously pack so much adrenaline though that you’ll learn to breathe like a monk by the end of the film.
Evidently, there is quite a bit of nostalgia to be had here in this film in what makes the original trilogy so good. Especially the bombastic string and percussion soundtrack that makes everything so tense, suspenseful and thrilling that makes you feel like you are there, boots on the ground and experiencing everything with the man himself.
The story tackles interesting issues like surveillance, privacy and cyber security between the collaboration of the government and a big influential app company with its CEO landed between a rock and a hard place. I would’ve loved to see this plot explored further along with its CEO undergo further characterisation which would be quite intriguing. It’s the little engine that could in a plot thick with grandiose set pieces and many conspiracy concepts.
It is gratuitously entertaining though in some of the best ways. Despite the plot woven to not be as meaningful as it could’ve been, Jason Bourne is a feast for the eyes and senses to behold. The ending could definitely go for a sequel. Let’s hope Greengrass can learn from this one and make the whole package for the next one!