Monday, August 1, 2016

Looking at Movies - Jason Bourne (2016)

I saw the first Bourne movie when it originally came out and I really liked it. The story was coherent, the action never stopped, and I liked how I was never lost despite everything that was going on. There was a bit of magic in that movie because it not only held together very well, it was one of the best action movies I have ever seen. Director Paul Greengrass and actor Matt Damon played huge roles in creating the magic that made the first three Bourne movies successful. But after seeing Jason Bourne, it looks like that magic may have run its course.

Jason Bourne starts out a bit slower than the first Bourne movie, but it gets up to speed really fast. The thing is that Jason Bourne himself never looks like he actually wants to be part of the story. He is trying to stay off the grid and even after he is found and dragged back onto the grid, he does everything he can to disappear again. Suddenly, Bourne is on a mission to expose something or discover some kind of information. The transition from Bourne not wanting to get involved to Bourne suddenly blowing up buildings is clunky, and that brings down the rest of the movie.

When it comes to action scenes, Jason Bourne is overloaded with them. If you just want to turn your brain off and watch some very cool action sequences, then this movie is ideal. But at some point, even the turned-off brain wants to grab onto a plot or some kind of story. That is where Jason Bourne falls short. It is an exciting movie that appears to be headed nowhere, and we are really never given any idea as to why half of the characters are acting the way they are acting. As far as plot goes, Jason Bourne is thin and does not measure up to the previous installments in this franchise.

The other issue I have with this movie is that it is not a good story for re-introducing people to the Bourne franchise. If you did not see the previous three movies, then you probably will have no idea what is going on. The only reason this is significant is because this is Greengrass' attempt to restart this franchise, and he is assuming that casual fans remember movies that were released 10 years ago or longer. If Greengrass and Damon want people to get back on the Bourne train, then they are going to need to write movies that ease people back into the Bourne universe. This movie does not do that, and I think it will leave a lot of casual movie fans behind.

There is no denying that Greengrass and Damon know how to put together an exciting movie. This one is filled with more spy toys than a James Bond film, and Jason Bourne is still pulling off physical feats of strength that make him look like he is 20. The action does go overboard in some spots, but that is what a Bourne movie does.

If you are a fan of the franchise, then you will probably enjoy this movie. I saw this movie with my son who is a fan of the franchise and he liked the movie, but even he said that the movie wound up feeling unnecessary by the time it was over. Still, you should never pass up the chance to see explosions and car chases on the drive-in's big screen, and this movie delivers plenty of opportunities to do that.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III is a drive-in fanatic and a lover of action movies. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at