I am an unapologetic fan of the first three Bourne films. The Bourne Identity was a revelation. The hero of an action film didn’t have to look like the hero of an action film. And Matt Damon didn’t. But it worked, largely because he didn’t know who he was. He was as surprised as we were every time he did something cool. It took place entirely in Europe. It felt like cinema verite, with the hand held camera work, and the stoic, quiet lead. And that music. All things told, I feel like The Bourne Identity was the most influential film (at least in the buzzy, blockbuster parts of cinema) of that decade.
Then The Bourne Supremacy one-upped everything. The action was better, the story was better, the acting was better. Everything about that film is pretty much perfect. Is there a car chase in any movie better than that one in Moscow at the end of the movie? No. There is not.
I liked The Bourne Ultimatum too. It didn’t have the whiz-bang originality of the first (of course) or the seamlessness of the second, but it has its own charms, not least of which the delightfully clever way they interweave the story of this film with what was really just a throwaway scene at the end of the previous.
I heard Matt Damon, after the third film, asked if he saw there being a fourth movie. His response: “They’d have to call it The Bourne Redundancy.” Well, you shouldn’t have spoken so soon, buddy. Apparently there is enough money to get Paul Greengrass (the director of Supremacy and Ultimatum) and Damon back onto the set for the simply titled Jason Bourne.
Is this film a step down in quality. Yes. Just a bit. Just the tiniest bit. I still enjoyed it thoroughly. The action is solid. The story is interesting. I liked Tommy Lee Jones taking the role of the government goon who’s just indiscriminately evil. (A position filled by David Strathairn, Brian Cox and Chris Cooper in previous installments.) I appreciated the return of Julia Stiles as Nicky, a constant presence in the films. But the MVP of this film (apart from the always engaging Damon) is Alicia Vikander. I watched the movie, and I still don’t know if she was evil, or if she was really on Bourne’s side. If someone tries to greenlight a fifth film, I will be very disappointed if she doesn’t figure prominently.
I guess this could be considered something like nostalgia porn, but I can’t say I wasn’t on board.