Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
|Featuring:|| Matt Damon … Jason Bourne
Alicia Vikander … Heather Lee, a CIA agent
Tommy Lee Jones … Robert Dewey, the CIA Director
Julia Stiles … Nicky 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
|Director:||Paul Greengrass—“The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004), “Captain Phillips” (2013)|
The Kennedy/Marshall Company
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.
“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.