Title: Jason Bourne
Describe This Movie In One Simpsons Quote:
Bart: Where's my spy camera?
Mail Carrier: Where's my spy camera? Every day for the last six months: 'Where's my spy camera, lady?' Here's your stupid spy camera!
Bart: Oh, thanks man.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Two and a half pairs of X-Ray Specs out of five.
Brief Plot Synopsis: Amnesiac ex-spy makes us all sit through that goddamn Moby song again.
Tagline: "You know his name."
Better Tagline: "This time it's personal-er."
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Operation Treadstone, the CIA’s illegal graduate-level assassin program, is dead. However, that doesn’t mean the Agency’s skunk works have been idle under new director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and ambitious agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander). A whole slew of new initiatives are in the pipeline, which is what has former agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) worried. Now collaborating with anarchist hackers, Parsons has poached top-secret CIA files, files with revealing information about Treadstone’s only surviving operative, one Jason Bourne (Matt Damon).
"Critical" Analysis: After an ignominious foray into Damon-less purgatory (or “LimBo-urne,” if you will), Universal has gotten the band back together for another trip down Memory Loss Lane. And while there are some new faces (Vikander and Jones, though calling that craggy visage “new” is a stretch), the studio clearly learned its lesson with Legacy. Jason Bourne is both comforting and disappointing in its familiarity.
Bourne is still the baddest dude around, and while he isn’t tasked with rescuing the President from ninjas, his job is no less crucial: preventing the implementation of a massive CIA surveillance program. Of course, that’s largely secondary to his attempts to uncover more details about his murky past. This time around, it's to learn more about his father, whose death was the catalyst for "David Webb" volunteering for Treadstone and becoming "Jason Bourne" in the first place.
Therein lies the beauty of a Swiss cheesed-memory (as Al from Quantum Leap would call it): You can generate a nigh infinite number of story lines with a handy flashback, and they don’t even have to tie into the previous movies. Don’t remember Jason Bourne’s father? Neither does he! Boom: plot.
At 45, Damon may be getting a little long in the tooth for kung fu fighting (relatively speaking: Harrison Ford was still engaging in fisticuffs in his sixties), but that’s one part of the movie that mostly works. Jason Bourne has now been off the grid almost half his life, and he looks it. Granted, making a living on the underground MMA circuit doesn’t help. It also doesn’t explain how a guy who’s mostly avoided computers and cell phones for 14 years is still up on the latest spook gear.
But then, if we’re going to harp on the technological idiocy of these films, Bourne’s machine empathy will have to get in line behind:
* The CIA keeping its black operations files in a folder called “Black Operations.”
* The highly recognizable CEO of a social media platform expressing concern that his involvement with the CIA will become public…to the CIA director as they meet in person in a restaurant half a mile from the Capitol Building.
* The Julian Assange-type character inserting an unfamiliar thumb drive into his laptop without, at the very least, disabling his wireless network.
And while this isn’t wholly related, it’s good advice: If you’re a female, please don’t get in/on a vehicle with Jason Bourne. There’s a scene early on where you’ll be thinking, “Surely this won’t end the way a similar chase ended in Supremacy, right?” Wrong.
Once you get past the comfort-food aspect of of seeing Damon, Stiles and Greengrass shaky cam again (seriously, the guy is in Tony Scott territory now), Jason Bourne eventually disappoints. Another handful of scenes of Bourne staring into a mirror and shuffling passports, another series of tense CIA conversations, another (admittedly) badass car chase, all leading to another inevitable confrontation with another architect of his pain. Cue Moby song.
Rank The Bournes:
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.