Matt Damon played the titular CIA assassin from The Bourne Identity to The Bourne Ultimatum between 2002 and 2007 and refused to sign on for another Bourne movie without director Paul Greengrass (who lead the second and third instalments) until they came up with the right script.
This means it has taken almost nine years for audiences to see Damon back in his most famous role, but it was certainly worth the wait.
Jeremy Renner’s stand-alone movie The Bourne Legacy is ignored here and Jason Bourne takes place several years after the events of Ultimatum – Bourne is now in hiding in Europe, laying low to avoid detection from the CIA.
That is until former CIA agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles, reprising her role) shows up in Greece with classified information on black ops missions she stole from the CIA database. Nicky thinks Bourne should see what she found about Operation Treadstone, how Bourne was brought into it, and the other secret organisations the CIA are working on.
Unfortunately for them, Parsons’ hacking alerted the CIA, lead by cyber analyst Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) and director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), who begin a whole new game of cat-and-mouse by sending an assassin (Black Swan’s Vincent Cassel) on Bourne’s tail as the former agent, who is still struggling with memory loss, tries to track down more answers.
Jason Bourne is more or less the same as the original trilogy and particularly faithful to the world Damon and Greengrass created in the previous two, in terms of story, action, script, tone and camera work, so it will satisfy anybody who liked the others but a slightly different approach or plot would have been welcome.
Damon has obviously nailed Bourne’s strong and silent persona by now, and easily slips back into the role after the long break. He is clearly older and more weathered but still looks at his physical peak and like a believable killing machine. Riz Ahmed made an impact in a small role as a tech billionaire doing dodgy work for the CIA and it was great to see Stiles back in action, but Vikander’s casting felt off. She seemed too young for such a high-level CIA role it wasn’t necessarily believable that she could command a room of people.
The action is non-stop – from Bourne’s signature rapid-fire hand-to-hand combat, to high-speed car chases, motorcycle chases and a show-stopping finale on the Las Vegas strip. However, the action propels the story forward, since Bourne doesn’t really talk much, and it helps the tension build and build until the incredible showdown. The movie whips along at speed and is taut, intense and engrossing.
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