Jason Bourne (2016)

(Video On-Demand, December 2016) This was a nearly useless movie in more than one way. After running the shakycam trilogy to its natural conclusion, The Bourne Legacy came and went without making much of an impact, its frantic chase sequences unable to paper over a lack of ideas. Much of the same will also be said about Jason Bourne and Matt Damon’s return to the franchise. Despite intriguing concepts reflecting the modern world in a thriller (in which riots in Greece, drone surveillance and cell phone hacking are considered to be normal), the film doesn’t do much but repeat ideas previously explored in earlier entries, and does so with the nigh-unbearable quick-cutting spastic camera style that is Paul Greengrass’ biggest problem. (There was, a few weeks before the film’s release, a making-of clip showing a camera and stunt cars smoothly weaving through traffic on the Las Vegas Strip. Cruelly, this sequence has been chopped to mush in the finished film.) For a movie as smart as it thinks it is, Jason Bourne can occasionally be tone-deaf: There’s a sequence early in the film where a businessman gets a round of applause from journalists for stating “our products will never spy on you”, whereas in the real world the reaction would be raised eyebrows followed by frantic attempts to disprove him. I’m also nonplussed by the dumb decision to kill off a long-running supporting character for what is apparently no good reason. And so it is with Jason Bourne: things happen for no good reason, except printing money from a series that most people remember. At this time, it looks as if the film was a modest financial success, virtually ensuring that we’ll get another equally useless new instalment in two or three years.

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