Revenge is a dish best served cold, and cold is certainly the temperature setting of the latest Bourne film, Jason Bourne.
Jason Bourne, a spy, action thriller based on the books by Robert Ludlum, is the fifth film in the Bourne film series and sees Matt Damon reprise his role as the titular character, Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin who suffers from psychogenic amnesia (sudden loss of stored memory). This film is said to be the direct sequel of the last Matt Damon Bourne film, Bourne Ultimatum.
Jason Bourne takes place several years after Bourne’s disappearance at the conclusion of Bourne Ultimatum. The film kicks off with Bourne’s past once again coming back to haunt him, forcing him to come out of hiding to track down the truth about his history and family, all the while being hunted by the CIA under the instructions of CIA Director, Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and CIA Agent, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander).
This film is much like many other films in the spy/action genre and is similar to previous instalments of the Bourne series. The film is cold or lukewarm at best in my honest opinion, with a plot that is essentially reused, a cast that is relatively tired, a lack of any good dialogue and an unnecessary large amount of killing.
Jason Bourne is a man lost, who has no real recollection of who he was prior to entering the CIA’s Treadstone programme (the programme in which he was turned into a killing machine) other than his birth name and identity of his father. His quest to seek answers is ignited upon his old CIA contact, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), tracking him down to reveal classified files regarding his history. Upon being alerted to the hack into their system to retrieve the files, the CIA is put on high alert and sends out their local teams to track down and eliminate Bourne. The CIA Director himself sets his ‘Asset’ (Vincent Cassel) loose on Bourne, who is determined to take out the man he considers to be a traitor.
What ensues is a cat and mouse chase all over the world that is filled with high speed car chases, guns, surveillance, computer hacking and fist fights, all the ingredients for a good spy film. However, despite being full of action, Jason Bourne lacks any emotional pull or feelings for the characters. Tommy Lee Jones comes across as a man stuck in the ways of the past and one who is in many ways corrupt. Alicia Vikander, who is supposed to be the badass agent of the CIA’s cybersecurity division, doesn’t seem to have any kind of emotions or facial expressions other than the dull blank look she has throughout the film. As for the ‘Asset’, well as a man out for blood, there was no real need for him to have any kind of feelings or emotions. After all, he had no qualms whatsoever about shooting down innocent bystanders who happened to be in his way.
Jason Bourne himself, severely lacks in the emotions department, particularly in the flashback scene in which his father is killed in front of him. In fact, it was revealed that Bourne only speaks 25 lines in the entire film. That certainly feels true when watching the film. Bourne hardly speaks or has much interaction with the other characters other than to beat them up.
The film essentially raises the questions of privacy and freedom in a growing technological society. The CIA’s new programme essentially aims to watch people 24/7 with access into every facet of their lives. In watching Jason Bourne, the way in which the CIA disregards the lives of innocent people by executing all those who oppose them or who are in their way, poses the serious question about power and just how much should one man, one organisation or one country hold. Is it really just and right to kill those in opposition for the greater good? Is there really a greater good if the citizens of the country are being killed unnecessarily and mercilessly in order to safeguard against outside attacks? This was certainly one aspect of the film’s plot that I enjoyed as it was a sound topic of debate and posed ethical and moral questions.
Jason Bourne is the kind of film that will appeal to action film buffs. From the visually striking car chases across Las Vegas to the brutish combat scenes, Jason Bourne has all the right ingredients for a good action flick. When it all comes down to it, the crux of the film is about Bourne’s quest for vengeance against all those who coerced him into joining the Treadstone programme and for killing his father. This film is certainly not the best in the series or in its genre but is perfect to sit back and watch on screen without needing to question the film’s narrative too much, unless you’re like me and question everything relating to society’s future, it’s downfall and just generally looking for deeper meaning.
Ultimately, Bourne needs to be given a new path and renewed purpose for there to be an enjoyable and believable film. Will Jason Bourne return soon? Who’s to know.