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Movie Review

Jason Bourne also known as “Bourne 5,” “Dzeisonas Bornas,” “Džejson Born”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Genre:
Spy Action Adventure Suspense Thriller Sequel
Length:
2 hr. 3 min.
Year of Release:
2016
USA Release:
July 29, 2016 (wide—4,039 theaters)
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

the right to privacy versus governments’ desire to build a database on everyone

spies in the Bible

lies and deception

sin and the fall of man

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

murder in the Bible

death

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Featuring: Matt DamonJason Bourne
Alicia VikanderHeather Lee, a CIA agent
Tommy Lee JonesRobert Dewey, the CIA Director
Julia StilesNicky Parsons
Vincent Cassel … Asset
Riz Ahmed … Aaron Kalloor, a tech specialist at the CIA
Bill Camp … Smith
Mark Justice … SWAT Leader
Ato Essandoh … Craig Jeffers, a CIA agent
Scott Shepherd … Deputy Director of the CIA
more »
Director: Paul Greengrass—“The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004), “Captain Phillips” (2013)
Producer: Universal Pictures
The Kennedy/Marshall Company
more »
Distributor: Universal Pictures

You can’t keep a good agent down, especially if that agent is Jason Bourne… well, I should say ex-CIA Agent Jason Bourne.

For those who don’t know, Jason Bourne (aka David Webb, before his name was changed), volunteered to serve as a CIA operative in a program called Treadstone. Under Treadstone, these potential operatives were trained into lethal killing machines called “assets.” Their job? To eliminate supposed foreign enemies of the United States. But being part of the Treadstone project came at a price. These operatives were, essentially, drained of their human emotion and never questioned an objective handed down by the CIA. While attempting to complete an assassination assignment aboard a ship, Bourne was shot and fell into the ocean and resurfaced, having no memory of who he was. In the first three movies, Bourne set out to find his identity and what Treadstone is, while avoiding the CIA, who believe that Bourne is a rogue agent and a liability.

“Jason Bourne” takes place shortly after the events in the “Bourne Ultimatum.” Assumed dead by the CIA, Bourne has been living out his years traveling, street fighting and yet continuing to watch his back for the CIA.

Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), now no longer working for the CIA, approaches Bourne and informs him that the CIA has reinvented the Treadstone project under a new name, Operation Ironhand. At first Bourne dismisses this, as this doesn’t concern him anymore, until Nicky mentions that his father, Patrick Webb, was one of the founders and lead participants Treadstone, which later cost Patrick his life.

With this information, Bourne realizes he must find more answers. Who killed his father, and what else does he not know about his past. So much for disappearing…

I remember when the original Bourne films came out. At the time, my father and I watched them together, and, while the action was always fun to watch, I couldn’t follow the main plot at times. Whether this was because I couldn’t keep track of every discovery or piece of intel Bourne uncovered in the movie or whether it was because of a lack of understanding of the films as a whole, I can’t really say. It took some explanation and re-watching a few times to finally piece together all the information.

Earlier today, I read a review, on another site, where the reviewer mentioned “Jason Bourne” erred TOO much on the side of déjà vu with regards to the same cinematic formula used in the original trilogy (the same music, same drives for Bourne, etc.), to which I now agree.

Personally, the sense of déjà vu occurred with regards to attempting to follow the main plot, as I had when I first viewed the original trilogy. At times, I found the dialog in “Jason Bourne” hard to grasp, and I found myself struggling to keep track of who was who. Even then, it may not have been so much the dialog as it was the feeling that this film felt disjointed at times (for example, there is a slight sub-plot regarding the CIA director and a social media service that, in my opinion, and for all intensive purposes, had nothing to do with the main plot). For me, this ruined some of the viewing experience.

However, I will say that it was quite refreshing to see Matt Damon reprise his role as Jason Bourne. Even ten years later, after Ultimatum, Matt Damon can still throw a punch without even breaking a sweat. It was disappointing how few lines he had in the film (supposedly only 25 total), but looking back, I don’t see this as a setback to the film, as Bourne, in the original trilogy, never spoke much to begin with. Also, in regards to performances, I have to commend Tommy Lee Jones as CIA Director Dewey. It was interesting to see Jones in this role, as the “villain,” as in previous films I’ve seen with him, he usually plays the hero (i.e., “Men in Black”).

Content for Concern

Violence: Heavy to Extreme. (Please be aware, this is only a summary of the violent content). Multiple scenes involve Bourne having to fight his way through to the answers he seeks, through violent methods. These occur in the form of punching, stabbing, shooting and/or choking enemies (some of which we witness at the beginning of the film during a flashback). In one scene, Bourne smashes a bottle against an enemy’s head. There are also a couple car chase scenes, including one involving a sports car and a SWAT vehicle, in which we witness the SWAT vehicle plowing through other citizen’s vehicles and police vehicles. In two scenes, characters are seen falling off roofs (one falls to his death). An asset is seen assassinating other characters in multiple instances; some victims have blood around their body. One character is choked.

Profanity: God’s name is used in vain 6 times (“g*d d*mn,” “Jesus Christ,” “Christ,” “for Christ’s sakes”). Vulgarity includes pr*ck (1), SOB (2), sh*t (4), h*ll (6) and d*mn (1).

There is no sexual content in the film, other than shirtless males.

One of the central themes I found is the concept of peace. Jason Bourne has, essentially, spent his entire life on the run, searching for answers but finding no resolution, and never being able to escape the countless lives (32) he took under the CIA.

In a time such as ours, peace is hard to come by. But what truly defines peace anyway? Our definition of peace might be a time where nothing is occurring in our lives. But this, again, doesn’t really provide a true definition of peace; if this were the case, peace would only be temporary… never permanent.

However, true peace can only really be achieved through faith and trust in Jesus Christ. For as he said to his disciples, he speaks to his followers today:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” –John 14:27 (NIV)

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33

Nostalgia has its place in film. It certainly has its place in “Jason Bourne” (the music, the action, Bourne running from the CIA). And yet… this film lacked something the original trilogy had. What that is, I’m not entirely certain. What I am certain of, though, is that “Jason Bourne” does not live up to its predecessors, and even if it did, the large amounts of violence and some use of profanity would prevent me from recommending this film to a Christian audience.

Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—I loved the original Bourne movies, and this was a nice reprise. Morally, it was similar to the earlier films. Lots of violence. The redeeming feature of this is that Bourne tries not to kill people, and only kills bad guys when it is clearly a case of self defense. He just wants to live his life, and they won’t leave him alone! Profanity seemed pretty light for an intense action movie.

My biggest problem with the movie was the direction and editing style, which is similar to the other two films in the franchise directed by Paul Greengrass. All the action scenes have extremely close shots and quick cuts. It feels like action is implied, but you don’t actually see much. Real stunts are substituted with fancy editing. I was especially disappointed by the second car chase. It was intense and had great potential, but I think I only saw about half a chase, the other half was just a meaningless blur.

Well, enough griping. If you liked the other movies, you will enjoy this one. If you do not like violence in movies or excessive amounts of steely, serious facial expressions, avoid this.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jonathan, age 45 (USA)
Positive—This was non stop action, I thought one of the best ones! The constant shakiness of the video contributed to this and was a little distracting, but, overall, it was very good (have to see farther back then closer). Because of the quickness of the camera, the violence almost seemed like a blur sometimes, so it wasn’t bad as far as being too graphic. I wondered if they would even mention the guy in the last one, and they didn’t, they just went with Bourne the whole way. It’s hard to think they can keep topping the previous ones, but they did it in this one; it was very good.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephanie, age 41 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—When you’ve seen one Jason Bourne movie, you haven’t seen them all. When you’ve seen one Jason Bourne movie, you always feel like you have to see the next! This one was as expected. Lots of fast, blurry action, sophisticated CIA surveillance, cars flying in all directions and quick brutal deaths. Apart from wishing I could see more of Jason’s gentle side, because we know he has one somewhere inside his brooding, bloodied and bruised exterior, I left the theater feeling slightly cheated.

At times, the technology was very far-fetched, as were the motorcycle and car chases, but more disturbingly, why are we waiting for Bourne to do anything different than he has done before? I suspect he’s not going to suddenly find religion, retire, get married, settle down and start a family. When all his enemies are dead, he will find new enemies to kill, rather than quietly bring them to justice. As Christians, are we enjoying this “Vengeance is Bourne’s” genre a bit too much, and it’s now a tired, worn-out theme, that cutting edge cinematography and pounding musical scores can’t change?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Christopher Marsden, age 61 (USA)

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