I confess, this was my first Jason Bourne movie with Matt Damon. Sure I saw that one with Jeremy Renner but that doesn’t really count. And even though this was my first real taste of the franchise, it felt tired. You can tell that’s exactly what the film’s producers were worried about when they made this film because the action never ever stops. It needs you to be excited THE ENTIRE TIME. The music was relentless, we were forever in that handheld camera view and they were always in a chase scene. Jason Bourne was exhausting and still stimulating, like when you get no sleep and try to compensate by drinking WAY too much caffeine.
I was never really clear why Jason Bourne had to come back out of hiding and fight all those people. Sure they talked about it in the film (while they were being chased) but was it really clear? Admittedly they didn’t have enough time to really sort that out but actually that makes even less sense. Jason Bourne was off the grid for a few years fighting his inner demons and he’s given important new information. Should he: a) strike while the entire FBI (or whatever) has devoted their entire resources looking for him, b) carefully formulate a plan and wait for things to die down a bit and then choose your moment or c) decide you’re well out of it and getting too old for this nonsense anyway and pack up to have a quiet life somewhere? If you picked ‘b’ or ‘c’ then be warned – this movie’s going to be a long 2 hours for you.
Going into the psychological logistics of Jason Bourne is a little like getting into the nuclear physics of Ghostbusters. Sure you’re technically right but it’s not really what the film is about. I think the main point of the movie was how badass spies are. They do a fair job of that, Jason Bourne is badass, he holds his own against a shady government, teams of gunmen and also other spies. I just wish there would have been more to it than Bourne showing up somewhere, the FBI (or whatever) getting alerted and chasing Bourne until he escapes. Sure one man standing up to a shadowy corrupt omniscient government is a compelling premise but you’d think they could do more with that premise.
Up until now I’ve been focusing on the silly things about this movie. There were many things that were well done. I liked the acting and casting. Matt Damon is, as always, very charismatic, an amazing actor and often shirtless. I also really liked Tommy Lee Jones as the Government Guy who just seemed tired of the whole thing. And when they put the goddam handheld camera down, the shots were really quite beautiful. There were also, carefully placed throughout the film, quiet moments when the characters actually revealed their characters a bit. Then it was back to fray. There was at least one Crowning Moment of Awesome involving a chase (what else?) with a SWAT vehicle. You’ll know it when you see it.
So is Jason Bourne worth seeing? I want to say yes. After all, Matt Damon was in this and would (presumably) be sad if I said ‘No’. So if you’re a huge fan of the series and want to see Jason Bourne still doing what Jason Bourne still does in a movie called Jason Bourne, then I can say without reservation YES, go see it. A lot of talent and skill did go into making this movie. If you’re still on the fence and you saw Hardcore Henry and thought ‘this movie would be great if it weren’t for the whole ‘first person’ gimmick, then also an unqualified yes because that’s exactly what Jason Bourne is. Otherwise I think you could skip it, I think, maybe watch The Martian again, which has more Matt Damon and less chasing.