I’ve been away for a while. Two years have lapsed since my last post. In that time I’ve been partying in Ibiza lol. No, I just ignored my blog, plain and simple. This is my first post of 2016, and today I’ll be reviewing a film I watched at the cinemas less than 24 hours ago. There has been a lot of publicity surrounding the latest Bourne film. After all, nine years had gone by since we last saw Matt Damon as the amnesiac Jason Bourne. Nine years…here I am thinking about lost time!
This is at least the second Damon-headlined Bourne movie that I’ve seen in the cinemas. I saw the Bourne Ultimatum in what seemed a lifetime ago. That was a commendable production, winning three Oscars while also being another commercially successful instalment. However, Damon claimed to be puzzled by the script, and intimated that he was likely done as Jason. He even joked that the next film could be titled The Bourne Redundancy. Despite the critical acclaim of the first three movies in the franchise, the last two have been underwhelming. While the Bourne series continues to roll in the bucks, they shouldn’t expect to keep fooling audiences with tired, unartistic screenplays. Lost in all the brouhaha is the issue of hacking, especially in a Wikileaks decade. Apparently, it was ‘bigger than Snowden’. In a world where cyber security is paramount, you would wonder why the ‘head-spinning’ noise would overshadow such a promising theme.
I was looking forward to Bourne since the movie was in the works. One of my friends wasn’t that impressed though, saying 007 and Bourne are just the same, using banal, recycled scripts and action-heavy scenes. I wish I’d listened to him. Instead, Bourne intrigued me, especially since the wait for the next one took forever. The snippets of fight scenes popping up online featuring Bourne in exotic locations further piqued my interest. The addition of Alicia Vikander on the cast, and her subsequent Oscar win, made this a must see. I expected a lot out of Damon and director Paul Greengrass, so much so that any output would not meet my lofty expectations. Spoiled by the caliber of the first three films, I found the flick rather disappointing. Loud and action-packed, let’s just say the plot was a little thin. Yes, there was a story, but there were more car chases and fight scenes than plot development. There was also a lot less humour than Ultimatum. Instead, the loud bangs and screeching tires dominated the landscape.
Vikander’s performance was one of the few bright spots here. If it wasn’t for the eye candy, I would have nodded off like a tenth of the other patrons. In fact, the scene that sticks out the most to me is when Vikander was making a call in an unmarked white van. I was admiring her Swedish accent, when out of nowhere comes the dissident, smashing through her side window. Her shock at Bourne’s entrance stirred me, instead of surprising me. Her hacking skills in bringing down firewalls was just as entertaining.
Keeping up with previous films in the series, the movie is set in multiple locations. From the turmoil of Greece to relaxed suburban Berlin, from the kitschy streets of Vegas to the crowded sidewalks of London, Bourne never ceases to mix it up. Same goes with the story: although no one would be more pleased than me to have received another Bourne iteration, I would likewise be among the first to spot worn out scripts. To paraphrase another reviewer, this movie is just an epilogue; anything more would be an exaggeration. When they’ve run out of fresh story lines from the first three, they had to think of something ‘new’ again; the whole exercise borders on the farcical. Even Damon acknowledged years ago that, ‘we’ve ridden that horse as far as we can’. The ending of Bourne 3, where he realises his identity as David Webb, was as perfect an ending as possible. As a result, they’ve worn out their welcome.
***(out of 5)