Length: 123 minutes / 2.05 hours
Back in 2002, The Bourne Identity redefined not only the action film aesthetic but the modern spy thriller as well. While some elements of the Bourne films have been good for action films, others are now trite and cliché. If you were to break down the “Bourne formula”, these four elements could be used to make any action film in the “Bourne-style”:
- Car chases with spectacular driving in “common” vehicles
- Brutal hand-to-hand combat using everyday items
- Shaky camera movement during action sequences
- “The chase” where eventually the protagonist gets away, achieves his objective and escapes into the shadows once again
Because the Bourne films are so formulaic, I found Jason Bourne (2016) to be no different. That being said, the film was still a fun and intense ride to watch. Now nine years later from the last in the “true” Bourne storyline (we’ll just forget that The Bourne Legacy (2012) happened), technology has vastly improved, making this film seem more like a crossover of James Bond and Person of Interest. This, I feel, was Jason Bourne’s strength. Casting the incomparable Alicia Vikander (hot in her burgeoning career), was a smart choice and made this film enter the “new era of espionage.”
Furthermore, including the subplot focusing on technological privacy pulled straight from our current events helped to pin this film into the collective popular culture in which we now live, instead of just being a series of chases in foreign lands. I also appreciated the inclusion of some semblance of a plot in this film, as it felt like Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) had not gotten very many answers in the last three films. At least this time around we learn something about him and his motivation; since the amnesiac super-soldier archetype can really only go so far.
Another great Bourne film with a contemporary twist, I give Jason Bourne 4.0 stars out of 5.