Wednesday 27 July 2016

Jason Bourne ... Bourned to death

MATT Damon made a mistake returning to the Bourne series for the fourth time. Physically, Damon, 46,
still has the body of a natural born killer and still packs a killer punch. But his haggard look reveals a tired franchise that should have just ended with his third Bourne outing, The Bourne Ultimatum (2007).
   Returning director-producer Paul Greengrass, who co-wrote this film, has run out of ideas. The action and situations are similar to those viewers will have seen in the first three films.

   Why, even the Athens riot scene at the start harks back to Bourne and Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) meeting in a Berlin demonstration in The Bourne Supremacy (2004), also directed by Greengrass.
  In Jason Bourne, the aforementioned hero is still searching for his identity. He's been living off the grid in Europe and beating up people in illegal boxing matches.
  Parsons gets the ball rolling by hacking into the CIA system to retrieve old files about the assassin programme in which Bourne was a participant.
    CIA cyber expert Heather Lee (Swedish actress Alicia Vikander) detects the breach and plants a malware in the retrieved files. She reports to CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), who's a stand in for Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) from The Bourne Ultimatum.   
It's no walk in the park for Vikander and Damon.

  As with the previous films, the CIA can call on its vast array of assets (killers) in Europe to drop everything to be at the beck of call of the organisation. This film's asset is called Asset (Frenchman Vincent Cassel, 50), who looks as haggard as Bourne.
  He's dogged and persistent and has a big chip on his shoulder because Bourne's release of CIA files exposed him as an undercover agent. Asset will be Bourne's bete noir, working under the direction of Dewey, who has much to lose if his new secret assassin programme is revealed to the world.
   Asian-looking Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed of Nightcrawler), an amalgamation of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, is the head of a social networking platform that's about to release a progamme that allows users to roam the Net without being identified. But Kalloor is actually in cahoots with Dewey, who has ulterior motives for the programme.
    Jason Bourne is replete with references to society's concern about Net privacy, but all that is a smoke screen. Viewers go to see robotic and mechanical Bourne take out his opponents in closed-contact combat with a rolled-up newspaper, or see extricate himself from tightspots with nothing but his acumen.
    I appreciate Bourne cleverly setting off an alarm in a London business district to use the resulting chaos to meet a someone who has information about his past, including the killer of his father, whom viewers will find out played a big part in the original assassin programme.
Julia Stiles has style. Why didn't both of them disguise
themselves when meeting each other in public?
   However, wouldn't it  have been better to meet this person is a less critical situation, for example, just before he reached his house or even calling on him unannounced at home?
  Yawn, you see where this film is heading. Even the film's delirious finale in a gambling city couldn't keep me awake.
   Vikander, so sultry and sexy in last year's  Ex Machina, dresses down for this role. She's at first on Dewey's side but sees that Bourne is simply looking for information on his past.
   She goes beyond the call of duty by reading up on Bourne's psychological profile, which puts her in the driving seat to propose an idea on how to deal with the Bourne problem.
  A listless feeling of deja vu will sweep over viewers. A motorcycle chase on city stairs is blase, and so is a car chase through a busy street. Bourne should just develop amnesia again to forget this film.

2 out of 5 stars




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