with Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel.
The story of Jason Bourne continues. The mystery of his real identity– who is this highly skilled espionage agent whose memory was wiped and a chip inserted to let him know how to get into his bank account, is solved in this episode. Jason has left the agency and is making his living as a professional boxer. We first see him on the Greek/Turkish border in a down and dirty fight which he handily wins.
Soon he is having or attempting to have a reunion with the agent played by Julia Stiles who has hacked the agency’s system, and has important information that would shed light on his family history. The two meet in Athens, in the throes of a fiery protest, where a motorcycle chase up and down the stairs, around the crowded streets, with nary a scratch to pretty Matt Damon’s head, proves that Hollywood’s action movies need to come up with something new.
This movie is hard on the eyes and the brain. Cyber images propel themselves at the screen, suggesting that their speed means that they are important. The audience must follow a linear story through an array of herky jerky servers being loaded, passwords entered, etc. I wonder how dated this will look in five years. Tech people might find the actual use of computers laughable. I give the screenwriters credit for mentioning Edward Snowden, whose exposure of the CIA program of surveillance on all of us all the time, a subject worth a dozen movies, most notably the documentary, Citizen Four. The fictional head of a software company, Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed who steals every scene he is in), complains that “Privacy is Freedom,” in an explanation to the head of the agency (Tommy Lee Jones) who is sinister in his all devouring need for data.
I was charmed as usual by the performance of Matt Damon who can move through a room in a compelling way, so that you can’t take your eyes off him. Vincent Cassel has a menacing manner (I nicknamed him “the killing machine” though the agency referred to him only as “the asset.”)
Julia Stiles brings a certain soulfulness in her brief appearance with Damon. In the opening scenes, it was refreshing to have two women be the experts in cyber espionage, busily hacking, and de-hacking.
The movie has its subjects: who are you Jason Bourne, and how did you come to be that? Is it immoral for the government to spy on all citizens in the name of protecting us? How can you tell who to trust? But the chase scenes are hackneyed, expensive, loud, and boring. I actually had to close my eyes, and take a little nap, loud explosions notwithstanding. We know what the result will be — this is a franchise, remember, not a one off. A google search revealed that to destroy 170 cars toward the end of the movie cost $500,000 for the cars alone. Is it immoral to lay waste to all of that metal, and to damage my little grey cells following all of that hyperactivity imitating a video game? That is another question that Hollywood needs to answer.
As for Alicia Vikander, who plays Heather Lee, an ambitious operative, she is young and pretty, and felt more like eye candy than a living breathing human being. That role was left to Damon who acquitted himself well, and of course Tommy Lee Jones can act in anything and make it seem better. The writers were trying to come up with something new, but the producers had their way and gave us one too many chase scenes.