(Jasin Boland, Universal Pictures)

(Jasin Boland, Universal Pictures)

By Thomas Atseff, Lyons Township 

The original “Bourne” trilogy is one of the best action trilogies—and one of the best trilogies of any genre, for that matter—of all time. It is such a strong set of compelling and exciting films that a sequel would have a tough job living up to it. Even if it was good, really good even, it could still manage to be somewhat disappointing—and that’s kind of where “Jason Bourne” finds itself.

When this sequel begins, Jason Bourne, played once again by Matt Damon, is in hiding and in denial of his past life as an assassin. When the CIA is hacked and Bourne receives some new information about his past, he sets out once again looking for answers. Of course, the CIA, now run by Tommy Lee Jones’ character, doesn’t want to give him any answers and is up to some shady things once again.

This main storyline, while somewhat a repeat of the first three, is very interesting and exciting throughout the movie. Also, a really interesting development that this movie has is that the villain, like Bourne, is also out for revenge, and that was really intriguing to see played out in the third act of this film. However, unlike the incredibly tight and compact stories of the first three, the story of “Jason Bourne” loses itself multiple times throughout the film. There is a certain subplot involving a tech company and its shady dealings with the CIA, and while it does facilitate the corruption in the CIA and reinforces them as the bad guys, it grinds the otherwise exciting and fast-paced story to a halt.

Another surprising weakness in the screenplay is some of the dialogue. Unlike the originals, which had great dialogue, some of the dialogue in this new film, especially toward the beginning, is extremely clunky and unnatural, which was really disappointing coming from a Bourne film. Despite some of this bad writing, the acting in this film is great all around—Matt Damon is great once again, Tommy Lee Jones is perfect as the director of the CIA, and Alicia Vikander gives probably the best performance in the film, playing a strong, intelligent female role, which was really great to see.

Perhaps the most signature aspect associated with the Bourne films is director Paul Greengrass’ style, and his frenzied, shaky-cam documentary style of directing is back in “Jason Bourne.” I usually don’t enjoy shaky-cam directing, but Greengrass has perfected it, and it just works in the Bourne movies. It results in great action, and incredible chase and fight scenes at the end of the movie.

Ultimately, “Jason Bourne” has great acting, directing, but a flawed screenplay that isn’t always controlled. It is a good action movie, just when held up against the other Bourne films is somewhat disappointing and doesn’t live up to the standards.

Runtime: 123 minutes
Rated: PG-13
Rating: 3 stars out of 4

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