Review: “Jason Bourne”

2 out of 5 stars.

Almost a decade after “The Bourne Ultimatum” concluded the Bourne trilogy (we’ll just gloss over that attempt at a reboot with Jeremy Renner), Matt Damon steps back into the titular role in “Jason Bourne,” a film that gives you everything you’d expect from a Bourne movie — and that’s both its greatest strength and weakness.

Directed by Paul Greengrass, “Jason Bourne” opens with Bourne making a living street fighting in the aftermath of his takedown of Operation Blackbriar. When Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) finds some information about Bourne’s family, she decides to meet with him to deliver it. But CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), head of the CIA’s cyber ops division, are alerted to their location as a result, dragging Bourne into a new plot involving the reborn Treadstone and Blackbriar assassination programs.

Greengrass handles the material as deftly as ever, and the action scenes are mesmerizing to watch. But really, that’s about it. The rest of the movie primarily involves officials staring at computer screens murmuring about assets, which really isn’t too different from the previous Bourne movies. If you like that sort of thing, that’s fine. But there’s nothing imaginative about this story, and it’s a shame that this is what Bourne, who has become a contemporary action movie icon, was resurrected to participate in. Everything about it is overly familiar, to the point where it’s all too easy to lose interest early on. With the state of the world being what it is now, with all the technology and issues with privacy and security, you’d think there’d be so much more to draw on to craft an adventure that has a relevant message. But that isn’t taken advantage of, and as a result “Jason Bourne” at times even feels a bit — dare I say it — out dated.

Damon is good, of course, and it’s nice to have him back. But not even the addition of Jones and Vikander can bring anything exciting to what is a dull film punctuated by some brilliant bits of action. The film’s final scenes — which actually are classic Bourne in the best way — neatly tie up the movie while leaving it open for more sequels. But how about we just leave Bourne alone to live a normal life for a while, yes? He deserves that much.

Runtime: 123 minutes. Rated PG-13.

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