Jason Bourne (2016)

Like relentless action scenes? If that's all you want, that's all you get

Photo of Matt Damon in Jason Bourne (2016)

Matt Damon in Jason Bourne (2016)


While hiding from the CIA, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) makes ends meet with bare-knuckle boxing in lawless parts of the world. It must pay well, because later he has money to fly to Athens and Berlin and London and points west. Don’t get too hung up on the believability of this or anything else that happens. To propel the non-stop action, the filmmakers cut a few logical corners to get you from one martial arts knock-down, car chase and shootout to the next.

The basic idea is this: Years after his last encounter with the CIA, Bourne has regained his memory — or thinks he has. He’s on the run, not so much from the agency as from his own guilt over his career as their best assassin. But then an old friend comes across some info that could fill in some missing pieces. He follows the trail relentlessly from an insanely chaotic riot in Athens to a climactic fist fight in a storm drain in Las Vegas.

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Sadly, Jason Bourne is at best a late night, nothing-else-is-on-and-I-can’t-get-to-sleep diversion. The plots (yes, there are two; a disposable second one involves a smarmy social media mogul who wants to renege on his deal with the devil) exist only to justify increasingly ridiculous action set pieces. Sure, individually, the tense sniper-tracking-his-prey scenes or the assault vehicle tossing cars about on the Vegas strip keep your heart pounding. But that’s all there is. It’s hard to care about anything beyond the implicit slaughter of hundreds of innocent bystanders.

Oh, yes, Tommy Lee Jones has a role as the CIA Director, and Alicia Vikander is a cyberops specialist whose motivations are hard to parse. The script doesn’t give them much to work with, and they don’t strain themselves trying to redeem it.

All in all, your time is better spent re-watching the original Bourne movies, which had real stakes and magic.


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