Jason Bourne is back in the years most action packed, high-octane, pulse quickening, genre defining, nerve-shredding, hyperbole-producing film of the summer…!
The critics have been falling over themselves to to hurl platitudes at the latest, and possibly final, instalment in the Matt Damon spy franchise – and the most recent of threequels to grace our screens in recent months. It’s not hard to see why they’ve been so nice to the movie, it’s certainly the best of a very bad bunch of high-profile summer releases and it treats it’s audience with respect and provides a satisfying conclusion as opposed to the usual openendedness bollocks you get these days. It’s also pretty bad in places, has a wafer-thin plot and has lost much of the freshness that makes the other two Bourne films so enjoyable.
Paddy Considine is a journalist writing a searing expose of undercover operations by the USA for the Guardian. We know he’s a good journalist because he says things like “he was telling the truth – he was scared” and circles conveniently abstract pieces of plot like ‘it all started with Jason Bourne’ in his notebook. The fact that he works for the Guardian made me laugh – I don’t quite know why but I suspect that it has something to with a newspaper that gladly publishes the work of Steve Bell and Jon Ronson being heroic conspiracy exposers…
Anyway, he meets Bourne and so begins another adventure of globe-trotting. A lot of globe-trotting in fact – so much globe-trotting that after a while you begin to wonder how seemingly the most wanted man in the world is able to travel to distant, ‘axis of evil’ countries and never once get caught up in a security system that ensnares thousands of innocent travellers everyday. I guess he’s that good a spy because we never see him once being fingerprinted when entering the US or being denied a Visa for having parents who once smoked pot.
So he moves like a ninja across the world, arriving at exactly the right time to advance his story a little and everyone he meets dies, but not before they can leave behind a fragment of burnt paper or a photograph to help him move to the next level.
It’s all a little silly. The earnestness of the film at times gives way to reveal the inherent implausibility of the story… That’s not to say though that the whole thing isn’t great fun, because it is. Paul Greengrass shoots the whole movie with such sincerity that for much of it you are swept away. The action scenes are extremely creative – both in their choreography and execution – and while the gullibility of his pursuers seems to have no end, they make very entertaining adversaries.
It’s also nice to see an action film where the bodycount isn’t glorified, deaths are regretted and the bad guy doesn’t go down in a hail of bullets. The Bourne movies deal with the moral complexities of being an invincible super-spy very well and this is possibly the most mature of the series.
Basically it’s an above average action movie that is a pretty decent end to a good trilogy of films… it’s not quite the year’s most action packed, high-octane, pulse-quickening, genre-defining, nerve-shredding, hyperbole-producing film of the summer, but it’ll do.