Revisiting a popular character like Jason Bourne is tantalizing. It’s been 9 years since we’ve seen the man without a memory, the man without a past; a trained assassin who can kill people with his bare hands. What has Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) been up to in all that time? Apparently eating sacks of meat and bulking up even more so he can sucker punch men in bare-knuckle boxing bouts in the desert. But his old comrade Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles, showing up to get her paycheck), finds him with a big reveal. She has hacked the CIA and found his personal files that have information about his past and his father.
That bare-bones tease of information is enough to pull Bourne back into the fray. The fray means that the government (again) is trying to track down Bourne and bring him in, while at the same time the CIA hires a mysterious gunman just referred to as Asset (Vincent Cassel), who has his own agenda to take out Bourne. Bourne’s unlikely ally in the CIA (since it sure ain’t the slithery Director, played by the smarmy-as-usual Tommy Lee Jones) in the form of a comely young agent played by Alicia Vikander.
Now, to take a short break here, let me just say that I adore Alicia Vikander. She has seemingly come from nowhere to play many great roles (and win an Oscar) just in the last couple years. But, girlfriend, what up with that accent? First it was unclear if her CIA character was meant to have an accent at all. But then I noticed her emphasis on the tricky American “r” sound (tough for Scandinavians), and realized that she was speaking ‘Merican! Yowch.
Anyway. (Bless her heart.)
Trying to figure out Vikander’s accent became a distraction because Jason Bourne is mainly lots and lots of and LOTS of action and chases and fights and shooting, without any emotional involvement. Poor Jason has been searching for his past for so many years and so many movies now that the plot just seems like a retread with little soul. Event Vincent Cassel (also sporting a questionable accent which also maybe was supposed to be American) is wasted. Anyone who saw him in Ocean’s Thirteen knows he can play a delicious bad guy.
Audiences want Jason Bourne to one day find peace with his past and who he became. That kind of closure will take more than just another over-the-top action sequence. Until a screenwriter can give Bourne back his soul, we should just let him disappear into the crowd.
According to the extra featurettes, Matt Damon was excited to revisit Bourne as long as director Paul Greengrass was involved, and apparently it is a mutual lovefest. There are bits about Damon learning to fight as well as the choreography of fight scenes, plus shorts about some of the stunts, including the chase sequence in Athens and the showdown in Las Vegas.