The ironic thing about Jason Bourne is that, in the first three films, he was suffering from amnesia, yet there was still a clear sense of what was going on. In this fifth instalment (I’ll treat the fourth with Jeremy Renner like a regrettable one-night-stand and pretend it didn’t happen), Matt Damon’s assassin knows a great deal more about himself, but somehow manages to look even more clueless than before as he fast walks through crowds of unpaid extras. Perhaps he’s disorientated after finding himself back in a story that conclusively ended, or perhaps this new plot is just incoherent garbage.
It’s been 10 years since the franchise definitely should have ended and Bourne is now living off grid as a bareknuckle fighter, because that’s what hard people do when they’re in hiding. But his holiday punching Greek people in the face is soon cut short when his old ally Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) drops him in a fresh heap of conspiracy arse mousse, involving a corrupt CIA chief (Tommy Lee Jones) and his protégé (Alicia Vikander), an extremely convoluted plot to use social media for surveillance and one last secret about his past that apparently warranted them sucking extra life out of the agent’s already spent cock.
People are all for resurrecting finished stories, aren’t they? Like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Jesus Christ. And not that I’m comparing Bourne to the Son of God, but there were times in the previous films where he’d kick a Russian’s arse with a towel or a book and I’d wonder if he’d descended from the bastard child of Mary Magdalene. So it’s only natural that I expected more deific mastery of inanimate objects. And, in fairness, he does batter one bloke with a chair leg and another with a rusty pot (two moments that provoked me to let out an ironic ‘yeeeeessss’, which prompted the person next to me to ask if I was okay), but I couldn’t help but think that something was missing from the action overall. It’s just incredibly generic and dull, consisting mainly of fast-paced walking and car chase scenes that go on for so long, I expect him to arrive in a different continent by the end of it. Now that I think about it, a chair leg and a pot are hardly creative, either. I want to see him bludgeon someone to death with a spacehopper or throw pieces of an 18th century renaissance puzzle at someone like ninja stars.
So you might have deduced that I wasn’t totally satisfied by this latest offering of Bourne. While I was never really behind the idea of them bringing it back, I still had faith in Damon and director Paul Greengrass to deliver something more cerebral than London Has Fallen. They do, obviously. But compared to the previous films, Jason Bourne can barely muster the energy to throw a punch. Its blandness causes the entire thing to blend into one massive, contemporary splurge of tech chat and looking crafty while opening doors.