Jason Bourne | Movie Review

Matt Damon makes his return to the screen with a slightly older and even more pensive murder machine in JASON BOURNE. The fourth outing for Damon in the franchise, a franchise he said he would never return to unless the screenplay was bloody awesome. Sadly it appears Mr Damon either didn’t read the screenplay or was paid enough money to ignore his previous statements. JASON BOURNE is a disappointing trip into an expensively made piece of lacklustre filmmaking. It’s Bourne by numbers and excluding some grand action sequences it is incredibly average. It will still make a squillion bucks and is out now from the fine folks at Universal Pictures Australia. It is rated M and runs at 123mins. Enjoy my review – it’s not pretty, like Tommy Lee Jones.


Matt Damon as Jason Bourne image




Jason Bourne has been in hiding mode, constantly on the run and blending into the shadows for years. It has made him a little understandably jaded and all he likes to do now is beat people up or get himself beat up in organised brawls. Nicky Parsons is now working for a Snowden/ Assange Euro OTT cool underwear model looking dude who posts secret documents online to out governments for their lies. Breaking into the CIA main database Nicky acquires all the top secret files, including the files from Treadstone, Blackbriar and all the other shady operations. She discovers a secret that links back to Jason Bourne/ David Webb and his own father. A secret that revolves around why David Webb volunteered to Treadstone, a secret that has been a lie the entire time.

Master spy Nicky tracks the untraceable Bourne down, but she was caught on camera and now the CIA bad dudes are out to find and kill them. Heather Lee is a new CIA IT operative and she has a lot of determination to elevate in position. She is working with the CIA director to capture or kill Bourne, the CIA director might be a little more keen to kill as he is also working with ex-Treadstone and still now assassin, Asset. Heather Lee’s allegiances shift towards Bourne, is it youthful Matt Damon looks or a belief that he is in the right?

At the same time the CIA director is also in nefarious negotiations with a IT squillionaire on a spy program disguised as a social media operating system of sorts.


Car chases check, fight scenes check, lots of Matt Damon looking mopey and pensive check, formulaic to every other Bourne check, lazy with absolutely nothing new check.


Matt Damon as Jason Bourne and Julia Stlyes ad Nicky Parsons image



Paul Greengrass is a hero of mine. Cinematically he is a master craftsman who has never done wrong for me but this was a failure. It was nothing but lazy formula Bourne. I always loathed the fourth instalment, THE BOURNE LEGACY, my idea was how on earth could they make a Bourne movie without Bourne. After seeing JASON BOURNE I now have come to the resolution Damon needed to leave when he did, all I can read into this was that his pay cheque was probably enough to fund a small continent and be damned with greatness. It felt as though Greengrass took all the basic plot points of the first three Bourne movies i.e. the things people loved and said “let’s do that again,” we can just write a story to fit the formula that has made us all millions.



The standard below average plot structure – it was nothing new – all seen before. Must have standard car chase/s, must have epic fights, must have plenty of Matt Damon appearing out of nowhere like Harry Potter apparating, must open all locks like they aren’t locked. Must have plenty of computers in CIA tracking/ operations room and so on. Oh – Matt Damon and all assassins must look through a scope a few times.


The premise of the CIA Director being in bed with a famous internet younger generation squillionaire and that the new operating system or social media they are releasing can be used for illegal government purposes. Done to death – STORMBREAKER, KINGSMAN, NOW YOU CAN SEE ME 2 (to some extent) and many more.


The new support cast – none of them even come close to matching the tension and presence of Joan Allen, Brian Cox and David Strathairn. In fact all care at the importance of the new “team” is way down the list of priorities.


Two dimensional character with unnecessary ulterior motives that make her allegiances bounce around more than the bags under Tommy Lee Jones’s eyes and that leads me to……….


He truly phoned this one in, not a care or emotion in the world – only one great line delivery when Heather Lee snakes him on the National Security Advisor’s decision. I am loathe to judge someone on appearance but (I am sorry) he is looking way too old for the role he played and they should never have done so many tight facial shots, he is starting to look like a melted wax version of himself.


The world has grown up enough now to know there is NO SUCH THING AS “ENHANCE” on a blurry picture. They have a picture of Nicky in a crowd but it is so blurry it could have been anyone with blonde hair, Heather says “enhance,” presses a button and voila – 1080p high def every wrinkle of Nicky. Half the audience snickered and I rolled my eyes. You are better than this Greengrass!!!


A litte fictional editing for the movie with Jason Bourne aka David Webb’s dad being responsible for creating the Treadstone Operation. Ummmm no – in Bourne canon Treadstone has been in operation since pre Vietnam but changes its name whenever things go to shit – originally called Silverlake, it eventually became Blackbriar, had other names then Treadstone71 (I think I got that right). But fictional movie re-writes are nothing new – the operation headquarters are meant to be in an old house that looks like a dilapidated shack but is in fact a fortress however for the movies it is way cooler being in Langley.


Tommy Lee Jones as CIA Director Robert Dewey and Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee image




The action sequences are out of this world, the early action scene taking place during the start of riots is pulse racing and grand. Further to this, having the car chase between a car and a bike with two people on it was A-grade Bourne.


The end car chase scene is one of the biggest on film – the amount of stuff they destroyed to make it was amazing. I saw a little of the footage of them making it and was gobsmacked at the techniques in making that scene.


The end fight scene between Bourne and Asset – loved it, it harked back to the earlier Bourne fighting scenes, I missed that nuanced fighting like two Terminators going apeshit on each other.


Matt Damon – I really like the guy and he truly is Bourne, while a little too mopey and brooding in this one he still embodies the character perfectly, I just preferred him when he was the hunter.


Julia Stiles – I love her and her Nicky Parsons is nearly as iconic as Bourne himself, the film could have been better with more of her.


Vincent Cassel – Asset is the living embodiment of a Terminator, loved every scene he was in.


Technically the film is perfection. The fight choreography and car chase logistics alone are award worthy. I am still mind blown at those action sequences. The cinematography is great although wider on Tommy Lee Jones with a mild soft filter would have been preferable.


Vincent Cassel as Asset image



JASON BOURNE has exceptional action sequences, some of the best in the franchise. Disappointingly though, nothing in the movie is new and the support cast were mostly bland and flatlining. The writing was average, unoriginal, formulaic and action heavy with no thought to anything else. It truly saddened me that this movie was, for me, an embarrassment to the brilliance of THE BOURNE IDENTITY and to a lesser extent its siblings. Ignore the plot and see this one purely for action and if your thing, a Matt Damon pervefest.


2 and a Half Pops




 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.