By this stage in the supposedly dead Bourne franchise, following the commercial and critical failure of ‘Legacy’ (which I actually liked) you wouldn’t think we’d see Matt Damon play the eponymous rogue agent again. However most likely a big pay cheque and some fan anticipation lured him back and here we have Jason, formerly presumed dead after ‘Ultimatum’ getting back in touch with Julia Styles’ ex-CIA agent. She’s uncovered info on Jason’s deceased father and that he may have been involved in the government programme that Jason was in before Jason lost his memory. Wanting to uncover more and quickly learning that CIA chief Tommy Lee Jones may have the answers, soon Jason is back hiding from cameras and a particularly deadly assassin (Vincent Cassel).
I liked how this mixed the usual Bourne formula with some relevant and topical themes, such as a side plot involving a social media guru clearly modelled on Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Damon as always is brilliant and nails Bourne’s character again; deadly but vulnerable and well, he kicks ass like nobody else (I’m looking at you Mr Bond). Cassel was a nice surprise too, one of my favourite French actors and here he’s particularly ruthless. Jones, whilst looking old still chews up the screen and is perfectly cast and although Julia Stiles is a bit under-used she helps bridge the gap between the third movie and this fifth entry. For a Bourne movie it’s a tad formulaic, ticking all the boxes (ooh look a female agent takes pity on him…again) and well we get the expected car chase. Helps though it’s probably the best chase in the franchise through the neon glitz of the Las Vegas strip.
For fans of the franchise, this is a strong, highly-entertaining entry full of tension and style, even if it does little to truly warrant it’s existence beyond ‘let’s do another one’. Regardless I had a ball with this and you might too. Recommended.
So we come to the third movie in this popular franchise and this is where several plot threads begin to get tied off as deadly former assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) searches for the answers he needs to his identity. Along for the ride this time around in the form of a new ally is Julia Stiles who tries to help Bourne piece together the final details whilst the CIA, headed by Joan Allen try to cover everything up.
Paul Greengrass once again takes directing duties and much like the last movie has a flair for shaky camera rapid-fire editing, but unlike Supremacy the plot is at times less coherent and the confusion that blighted that movie’s final act seems to be in full force here. It’s certainly fun watching Bourne out smart various CIA surveillance teams and uncover skeletons in various closets, but it also means this is probably the most repetitive of the franchise, with the run time mostly dedicated to watching, sneaking, getting into a fight, then more watching and sneaking.
This does bring together the storyline of all three movies well and the viewer is given some closure about Bourne even if questions still remain unanswered. Yet thrilling car, bike and on-foot chases and plenty of action meant I was far from bored. The movie just needed to have more character moments and a bit more downtime between scenes to catch one’s breath (simple office scenes are filmed like they take place in the middle of an earthquake). However, this was still entertaining despite struggling to forge it’s own, er…identity and therefore by default is the weakest entry so far.
The Blu-ray is again impressive and is packed with extras including a director commentary and wealth of behind the scenes footage and interviews. The image is perhaps the best of the franchise up to this point and even though the shaky camera approach causes issues with focus, it’s still pops off the screen. The same can also be said for the sound which envelopes the viewer in a wall of sound and atmosphere throughout. A treatment somewhat undeserving but welcome all the same.
I don’t know why, as someone who enjoyed the first movie in this franchise, I didn’t get around to seeing this sequel until the other day. Matt Damon is once again hard-as-nails CIA assassin Jason Bourne who lives a life of leisure with his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente) until he gets set up for the theft of some top secret files. Soon his former employees are out to get him as he struggles to stay one step ahead and unmask the real culprit.
Taking over directing duties this time from Doug Liman is Paul Greengrass, who despite lacking some of the subtlety and finesse of Liman has made a tighter, albeit rapidly edited but more exciting movie. Support comes in the shape of Joan Allen as a CIA chief out to apprehend Bourne and Brian Cox also returns as Bourne’s former boss. I felt the stakes seemed a lot higher this time and although the finer details on certain plot threads connecting certain sequences seemed to get muddled as the action kicked in (including possibly one of the best car chases I’ve seen) … I was still gripped from beginning to end.
Unlike the last movie, there’s nobody to really touch Damon’s performance that is once again complex, emotional and bad-ass. Allen seems particularly under-developed. A superior sequel in the adrenaline stakes then, which suffers a couple of coherence issues. Yet as it stands, this remains a thrilling follow-up that left this viewer thirsty for more.
The Blu-ray is very pleasing. The image looks great (a little dark but a clear step up from Identity) and the audio packs a hefty punch and is clear and atmospheric. The extras are again plentiful with several featurettes, behind the scenes footage, interviews and an invaluable commentary from the director. A great treatment to what is possibly the most underrated movie in the series.
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