It’s been nine long years since we saw Jason Bourne swim into the depths of the East River in The Bourne Ultimatum, many believing we would never see the character again. Since then we’ve had the lacklustre The Bourne Legacy, which suffered mainly due to the distinct absence of both Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass.
Fast forward to 2016 and Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne in, erm, Jason Bourne, the film that also marks Paul Greengrass’ return to the series. It’s the most welcome of returns for the pair because Jason Bourne certainly enters the series with a bang.
When Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) resurfaces after nearly a decade of being off the grid, the CIA are cautious of the threat his reappearance could pose to Operation Ironhand, the latest of their secret training programmes. The more Bourne pulls at the thread, the more truths he unravels about his past, even when he thought he had remembered everything.
We pick things up with Bourne, quite suitably, with him off the grid taking part in bare-knuckle fights, serving as a stark reminder of how brutal and to the point Bourne really is. It’s a trait that makes Bourne such a different character to root for than James Bond; he’s gets things done there and then rather than getting sidetracked by women and cars.
Paul Greengrass understands this and it’s his directorial style that fits so brilliantly with the character. Greengrass uses the shaky-cam fight scenes and sharply edited chase sequences to maintain the frenetic pace of the series. Look out for a white-knuckle car chase down the Las Vegas strip and a particularly brutal fight between Bourne and Vincent Cassel’s Asset, which uses silence to great effect.
There is a ton of exposition in the script but that’s really been the case with all of the films in this series. The execution of both Greengrass and his cast is so good that it makes for such a satisfying outcome, the addition of the likes of Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander expectedly working to the film’s advantage.
Matt Damon returns to the role of Bourne as if he has the desire to make it work rather than turning up for a pay day. I was worried about where they would take the story after tying up the Treadstone and Blackbriar stuff in The Bourne Ultimatum but this was just about the only thing they could have done the story about to warrant a continuation with Damon returning.
Jason Bourne certainly doesn’t break new ground for either the character or the genre however, with the return of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass, it gets the series back on track doing what it does best.