The last Jason Bourne film. Until the next one, maybe. Or an off-shoot of the franchise. The film series that is harder to kill than Jason himself.
For what it does it does it well. From the first film you are under no illusions as to what these Bourne films will be about. Matt Damon will be kicking butt and taking names from moment one until the last scene and this one is no different.
Jason is living a simple existence in Greece, fighting locals and not so locals for money (and incidentally doing it pretty well). Not a great life but it seems to not bother him too much. But then Nicky Parsons is implicated in hacking the CIA network and extracting yet more information about the Treadstone/Blackbriar/Whatever else they decide to call brain washing their soldiers and sending them out to assassinate people of value or interest. On the side of these ‘so called’ Good guys are Bob Dewey, head of the CIA (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and analyst and computer expert Heather Lee (played by Alicia Vikander).
Cue the implication of Bourne into the plot and the CIA net being slowly tightened around Jason and Nicky, first to Greece then to Athens and then to finding them both. Jason has lost none of his skills or inventiveness in incapacitating his pursuers in order to escape. There is a refreshing brevity in Bourne’s actions. Minimum effort and maximum outcome, why use ten punches when one will do?
Also introduced is another asset (played by Vincent Cassell) who is just as effective but with more of a nasty/evil streak. And this is the set up for most of the rest of the film. Lee is tracking Bourne and feeding information to Dewey. Dewey is using this information to do his best to take Bourne out with the use of the ‘asset’, against any other orders he may have also given to try to bring Bourne in.
There are some great chase scenes both on foot and in vehicles. Bourne seems available to create a plan of action at will that always seems to work, which is necessary as the odds are definitely not ‘always in you favour’. The asset is a thorn in Bourne’s side the whole way, used for whatever Dewey asks to be done.
There is an effort to bring this kid of spy warfare into the modern age. References to Snowdon and information privacy are there in a subplot that involves a techie entrepreneur, recruited and assisted by the CIA (and Dewey personally), to allow the CIA and the NSA access to their latest product to monitor in a way that has never been done before (maybe!). I felt that this story line was a little bit superfluous in the context of the entire Bourne journey, it didn’t really alter the direction of the story and no influence on the eventual outcome other than providing a location for the final chase and confrontations.
Speaking of the final chase it was quite spectacular, the asset in an armoured SWAT van being chased down by Bourne in a muscle car. Unsuspecting car drivers being smashed out of the way by the van whilst Bourne skillfully avoided everything in his path. It certainly felt like there was some budget left over for smashing stuff in this extended destruction derby of a chase.
The good thing about Bourne films, and Paul Greengrass, is that you know what you are going to get. A formula that is portrayed really well by Matt Damon and as such it was exactly what was expected. But be wary of letting it run on too long……