While the spin-off Legacy provided a chance to explore new angles to Bourne’s story, it didn’t do well. So we’re back to square one. In fact, the self-titled movie is no different from the other reiterations since the original.
In fairness, there are some tweaks here. The whistleblowing plotline drags Bourne out of hiding to get him involved with current political and social issues. While the government is morphing into the 21st century Big Brother through data mining and privacy breaching, rebels are fighting back with hacking and online exposé.
The new enemies deliver some behind the scenes Machiavellian schemes while Bourne gets hunted by an “asset” with a personal vendetta against him.
Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, and Vincent Cassell provide a new roster of foes. Everybody in the cast does well as expected from such names and Matt Damon commits to the role even though he’s already done 3 of these movies.
Ultimately though, Jason Bourne offers nothing to inject new life into the franchise. Bourne uncovers another hidden truth about his past. Along the way, he finds information about an assassination program. This prompts a bunch of high-level clearance CIA personnel to assemble a team in a room with multiple screens so they can locate Bourne, zoom on his face, and send CIA operatives to hunt him down.
Bourne has an interesting dynamic with Heather Lee, as the movie dips into the idea that maybe he should just surrender and answer his true calling. After all, it is what he’s good at. His underground fights seem more spurred on by a need for action rather than money.
The movie tackles this briefly and resumes according to Hollywood’s standard operating procedure – repackage tried and tested properties to sustain brand loyalty and earn easy money.
Nonetheless, those who are looking for the same thrills that the Bourne franchise has consistently offered will enjoy the fourth installment. There are still frenetic action sequences where Jason Bourne has to fend off better equipped enemies with meager resources. In one scene he gets hit in the head by a dumbbell and fights back with a foot of a chair.
The question now is, how will it continue justifying its existence? How long are we going to care for Bourne as he does the same thing in every movie?
Perhaps it doesn’t matter. There seems to be an audience contented with what it offers. However with the talent at its disposal both in front and behind the cameras, the movie could have benefited from a new way to tell the same story.
Jason Bourne offers thrills for fans content with the same formula - deftly edited muscular action sequences and Matt Damon.