Jason Bourne review by Rashid Irani: Running on empty

  • Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Aug 06, 2016 11:24 IST
Matt Damon, plays the former CIA assassin, a role he last essayed in 2007.


Direction: Paul Greengrass

Actors: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander

Rating: 3 / 5

Hollywood honchos are constantly trying to put a new spin on action-film franchises that have reached a narrative dead end. They rehash plotlines, but the outcome stays largely the same -- flat and by the numbers.

Take the latest iteration of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series. This time around, the titular superspy (evidently the producers ran out of adjectives -- Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum, Legacy -- to affix to his name in the title) resurfaces at the Greek/Albanian border.

The former CIA assassin (Damon, reprising the role he last essayed in 2007) hasn’t been on the agency’s radar for the better part of a decade. He’s now eking out a living as a bare-knuckle boxer for hire, but the rogue agent must go on the run again following an encounter with a one-time ally (Julia Stiles) at a political rally in Athens.

Read: You’ll never believe how few lines Matt Damon has in Jason Bourne

Met with increasing hostility from the CIA director (Tommy Lee Jones) and his go-to hitman (French actor Vincent Cassel), Bourne becomes embroiled in a cat-and-mouse game that plays out in international locations ranging from Berlin and Beirut to London and Las Vegas.

In the movie, Bourne is on the run again, following an encounter with a one-time ally at a political rally in Athens.

Using a dizzying array of blurry hand-held camerawork and choppy editing patterns, director Paul Greengrass (helming his third Bourne outing) pounds out several frenetic set pieces, including a climactic car chase in which upwards of 75 vehicles were reportedly totalled.

While character development is kept to a minimal, there’s a half-hearted attempt to incorporate a subplot dealing with the topical issue of individual privacy versus government surveillance.

Watch the trailer here

By far the most notable addition to the A-list cast is Alicia Vikander. The breakout star of The Danish Girl enlivens the proceedings as the intelligence operative in charge of the CIA’s cyber security cell.

Escapist fare of the fast and furious kind, Jason Bourne will likely impress diehard fans of the long-running series. Others may prefer to have the invincible spook finally put out to pasture.

Read: Even after an Oscar and Jason Bourne, Alicia Vikander is insecure

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