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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 28, 2016

Jason Bourne Movie Review: Matt Damon Maybe Older But No Less Deadly

 MATT DAMON did the first movie in the franchise, “The Bourne Identity” in 2002 when he was only 34 years old directed by Doug Liman. It was such a big hit that in 2004, the sequel came, “The Bourne Supremacy”, directed by Paul Greengrass. Viewers enjoyed Bourne because the action scenes are realistic and don’t just bank on CGI special effects.

But after doing “The Bourne Ultimatum” in 2007, also by Greengrass, Matt felt it was time to stop the series. In 2012, a hybrid flick was made “The Bourne Legacy”, but it was not as successful as Matt’s Bourne. Now comes “Jason Bourne”, with Matt already 46 years old, still younger compared to the likes of Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves, who are 54. Matt is also a bigger box office draw, as proven by last year’s “The Martian”, which is not only a commercial but also a critical hit that gave him an Oscar best actor nomination.

In “Jason Bourne”, Matt as the titular hero is working as a streetfighter, lying low to avoid CIA boss Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) who wants him silenced for good. But his old friend, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) discovers that the CIA is plotting something more evil related to the Treadstone program, which is the reason why he became an amnesiac assassin. Lee Jones and his assistant (Alicia Vikander), find out what Nicky has discovered and she and Matt become the subjects of the CIA surveillance team who use very high-tech machines to track them down.

With Bourne dragged out of the shadows, wanting to know why his own father was murdered, Matt becomes the target of a hitman let loose by Lee Jones, known simply as The Asset (played by French actor Vincent Cassel.) The movie then becomes a cat and mouse game, filled with action sequences and chase scenes and hops from Athen to Berlin to London then to Las Vegas where it does massive destruction on its streets. The frenetic action and very kinetic style of filmmaking Greengrass is known for is very much in evidence here. The well crafted stunts, chases and other action set pieces are all skillfully blocked and executed by Greengrass and his camera guy, Barry Ackroyd, who comes with the most eye-popping shots.

Matt has made himself very buff and brawny for the role, compared to “Martian” where he lost a lot of weight. He also remains sympathetic and vulnerable as a man struggling to stay alive in order to know more about his confusing past. As usual, he can still turn into a formidable killing machine who is always one step ahead of his pursuers when he is in harm’s way. He might be older but no less deadly and has very clearly not lost his mojo.

Giving good support is Lee Jones as the devious CIA director with his own dark secrets, Riz Ahmed as the big boss of a social media company who gets into a shady deal with Lee Jones, Casell as the merciless hitman who kills innocent victims without remorse, and Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee, an exceptional intelligence expert who starts working as a hacker for Lee Jones but who later changes loyalties when she detects his true color.

Swedish actress Vikander has done several films before like “Anna Karenina”, “Royal Affair”, “Fifth Estate”, “Testament of Youth”, “The Seventh Son”, “Man from UNCLE”, “Burnt”, and “Son of a Gun”, but they’re all box office flops. We first noticed how good she is in “Ex Machina”, where she played a robot very convincingly, and then she won the Oscar best supporting actress plum for “Danish Girl”, which is really a big mystery as she’s playing a lead role and not a supporting one. We think “Jason Bourne” will be her first hit movie.

All in all, Bourne fans won’t be disappointed, especially with the very spectacular climax and overblown chase sequence in Sin City. We know that Bourne is like FPJ, James Bond and Liam Neeson, all unkillable. But we still don’t like it that, towards the end, Bourne becomes so unbelievable, ferociously doing a mano-a-mano, one-on-one fight for survival with his unscathed foe when he already has a gunshot wound in his stomach that’s causing him to bleed. Talk about too much suspension of disbelief...