3 out of 5 stars
Back when The Bourne Identity bursts onto our collective psyche in 2002, it was a breath of fresh air and put the stale Bond franchise to shame. Then we got the Daniel Craig era Bond films which rejuvenated itself by incorporating all that is gritty and exciting that the Bourne films had to offer and now that we expect things to be more Bourne-like in that genre, Jason Bourne returns for a 4th, or 5th time depending whether you count Legacy or not, and things have gone full circle and it is this franchise that seems lacking in certain sparks and freshness. That is not to say this film is no good. The action set pieces are still as visceral and excellently visualized by Greengrass as he has done before. The thin narrative just about holds up – despite the murky and convenient motivation of Alicia Vikander’s character – harking back to the first film and delved deeper into Bourne’s original identity to get him back in action, so to speak. Matt Damon’s return is welcomed although the stoic and near wordless performance can sometimes seem one-note – character development be damned as long as he remains looking hard, mean and miserable. I had high hopes as a fan of both the franchise and the talents involved and I was not disappointed but while I was entertained, I expected more. Otherwise, the new film would only exist to bump up Greengrass and Damon’s bankability and line up its studio’s bank balances; and that is not good enough a reason for me to prolong Bourne’s misery even though it may also prolong my enjoyment of watching him desolate and vaporize anything and anyone in his way. If there is going to be another instalment of this franchise, and there is every indication from the film’s ending and the box office that there will be, they best come up with something a little different next time – just like I would for the post-Spectre Bond film.