There’s Bourne, international travel, guns, girls, betrayals, chases, hacking into computers, more international travels, and walking. Lots and lots of walking. Down roads, behind suspects, behind informers, crossing roads, down many flights of stairs and up. Everything but a story that you cannot guess from a mile away. You just wish you weren’t such a fan of the series.
You have walked into the theatre because you loved the trilogy, and even though you expected Jeremy Renner to pull out arrows and shoot them, you did not hate him. You liked the idea of ‘several Jason Bournes’. Then you see this.
Cool fist fighting Bourne in some forsaken border town in Greece. Before you can say, ‘Oh, coolth!’, you see a sad Rambo like Bourne, tortured by the same old problem: Who am I?
That could be an existential question, but it is not. It’s Bourne living a bad flashback-filled life when he’s not beating someone up. Meanwhile helpful girl goes to Iceland to hack into the government systems and steals files for Bourne. Why? You ask. But you are put right in the middle of a political uprising in Greece, with demonstrations turning into riots, with molotov cocktails chucked at the police… It’s Bourne, so you know what follows will be spectacular, but it goes on and on and on.
You’re taken across European cities at dizzying speeds. And you get to see flashback after flashback about Bourne’s past. Matt Damon plays Bourne like a veteran, striding through cities, opening doors, going up and down stairs in different cities, he doesn’t even have to stop to check which side the hotel suite is, he just gets off the elevator and reaches the room! All his actions are as though these multi-city locations were his neighborhood. Everything seems to be so purposeful.
Alas, the result is not so interesting. The usually gorgeous Matt Damon (remember him in Goa?) looks like he’s sleepwalking through his role. Mostly this Bourne is blissfully self-absorbed, and it doesn’t seem to matter to him that there are people dying around him as long as he gets closer to finding out who he is.
The trilogy and even the ‘many Bournes’ movie had much more than Bourne’s search for his identity. And that was clever intrigue, international espionage and about rogue spies, which made the audience sit at the edge of their seats, unsure about Bourne’s fate. This movie is in absolute contrast. You know who the bad guy is, you know his motives, and worse of all, you know that Bourne is not going to lose.
There are set pieces that are meant to enthrall, and they do. But that engagement is not enough, the whole movie needed to be high energy. You come away wishing it had been different.