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Jason Bourne - Review

Jason Bourne

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT may have taken nine years to lure Matt Damon back to the iconic role of Jason Bourne but the wait proves more than worth it with his belated return to the superior action series.

Jason Bourne, which reunites the A-team of Damon and director Paul Greengrass, effortlessly succeeds in recapturing the intensity and exhilaration of the first three films in the saga.

Admittedly, there are elements that feel overly familiar. The plot sometimes feels like a re-tread (with Bourne once more forced to go on the run from his CIA oppressors), while there are only so many times before the idea of sending a hopelessly ill-equipped team to try to deal with Bourne doesn’t seem old.

But given the mind-boggling nature of the action and the quality of the performances, this once again delivers the kind of thrills we have come to expect and love.

The story picks up as Bourne attempts to stay off the grid in Greece while wrestling with his past demons by indulging in bare knuckle brawling (a la Rambo III). He’s lured back into the game, however, when former sympathiser/collaborator Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) hacks into the CIA and uncovers some alarming home truths about his past, prompting the CIA to renew their efforts to take him down.

Hence, Bourne must once again dust off his old skills to both elude a new assassin (Vincent Cassel) with a very personal agenda, shadowy CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and ambitious analyst and potential new ally Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander).

As ever, Greengrass ensures that this latest Bourne film moves at a cracking pace, globe-trotting between Europe and America and orchestrating some breathlessly complicated action sequences. In doing so, he also works hard to ensure the film retains a contemporary edge, with nods to Snowden and the threat posed by cyber terrorism particularly to the fore, as well as even more personal stakes than before.

As a result, he also provides plenty for his talented ensemble cast to work with. Damon looks older but is suitably muscular as the world-weary, angry Bourne (tapping into a more haunted demeanour of someone unable to escape the past he has fought so hard to remember), while Cassel is an excellent adversary – cold, ruthless and totally uncompromising (yet equally driven by events from the past).

Jones, meanwhile, is clearly having fun with his portrayal of the sinister Dewey, often conveying so much manipulation or intent with just a simple smile, while Vikander is an enigmatic presence as Lee, whose real agenda is fun to try and work out. You can see why the script appealed to this Oscar-winning actress.

And as previously mentioned, the action is exemplary. An opening chase in the midst of a Greek riot serves as a potent reminder of just how well Greengrass can orchestrate a complex set piece, offering tension and white knuckle excitement; while the climax in Las Vegas brings about the sort of carnage that is designed to make jaws drop via another stunning car chase, albeit one that strains the boundaries of credibility more than in any previous Bourne outing.

If you’re looking to be ultra critical, then it is worth noting that Jason Bourne does trade on the known without really taking the series into any new directions, thereby recalling the same ‘reboot’ ethic as both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Creed. But like those films, it does things so darn well that you should be too wrapped up in the action to care.

Simply put, it’s great to have this franchise back and firing on all cylinders.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 2hrs
UK Release Date: July 27, 2016