Jason Bourne Rides Again
By Skip Sheffield
“Jason Bourne” begins blurry in soft focus with a man who looks a lot like Matt Damon muttering “I remember…”
Matt Damon worked into the best physical shape of his life for his fourth time as amnesiac CIA black ops assassin David Webber, aka Jason Bourne. Damon first played the role in 2002 in “The Bourne Identity.” Writer-director Paul Greengrass returns to direct this $120 million production. Greengrass previously directed Damon in “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004) and “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007).
The plot key to this wide-ranging adventure is that Bourne is recovering his erased memory in fits and flashes, with bits of brutal action in between. The first is between Bourne and a huge tattooed Russian man in a bare knuckles boxing match. Damon has developed some convincing fight moves, and he gets to use them all as Bourne is pursued by a ruthless assassin known only as “The Asset” (Vincent Cassel).
Making an appearance from previous Bourne chapters is his pretty colleague Nicky Parsons, played by Julia Stiles. Their reunion sets the stage for a thriller motorcycle chase through the streets and stairways of Rome.
CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) wants Bourne brought back in. A new CIA junior operative Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) feels she is best-suited to lure Bourne out of hiding. Damon and winsome Vikander spend some screen time together. While there is no time for romance, their chemistry is good. Another new character is tech wizard (and CIA collaborator) Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed), who provides an important plot twist.
The movie builds to a smashing (literally) conclusion in the streets of Las Vegas. The Asset commandeers an armored police SWAT van with Bourne in hot pursuit in a stolen Dodge Charger. The mayhem must have been enhanced by computer-generated images. A large part of the $120 million budget probably went to destroyed vehicles.
The conclusion leaves an open door to yet another Bourne thriller. Damon better hurry, before he grows too old.