‘The Bourne Supremacy’ and its further two sequels revolutionised the spy movie genre. In a world made formulaic by James Bond and ’24’s’ Jack Bauer, the Bourne movies represented a more grounded view of the espionage thriller – arguably hinted at with earlier movies like ‘Ronin’ with Robert De Niro.
Jason Bourne was a victim with a purpose and (most importantly) a skill set that enabled him to do something about it.
However, married with Paul Greengrass’s appetite for realism and quasi-documentary camera work both he and Damon bent the believability line back towards a realism that finally felt relatable. Jason Bourne was a victim with a purpose and (most importantly) a skill set that enabled him to do something about it. Audiences were in for the ride and many returned time and time again for the sequels making Bourne a veritable bona fide spy movie franchise.
After three movies and citing a sense of completion with the Bourne character the main players left for fresh, cinematic pastures (Greengrass to do the highly regarded ‘Captain Philips’ and Damon to do the equally impressive ‘The Martian’). So 2016 they returned for the simply titled ‘Jason Bourne’ and fifteen minutes in to the new film you can tell that nothing has changed, but this time to the movie’s detriment. The car chases are still loud, the filming genuinely chaotic and the government agencies that were scared of Matt Damon in the earlier films are still scared of him. So with the plot on pause, the main character in reverse and dialogue being merely perfunctory, ‘Jason Bourne’ plays like loose collection of set-pieces bereft of a story.
With ‘Jason Bourne’ the Bourne franchise stands at a cross roads. After having successfully managed to deliver upon the sequel mantra of “the same but different” with the first three movies the question is to either continue with Plan ‘A’ on or just walk away. What would Jason Bourne do?