Occasionally entertaining but entirely unnecessary, “Jason Bourne” is a Hail Mary attempt to resuscitate a franchise way past its prime. The first three Bourne movies were perfect products of the Bush era, eschewing America’s post-911, Us vs. Them geopolitical mentality, and the rapid technological developments in a Patriot Act society, where we could hack into computers easily but were always being watched while doing so. The gunfights and car chases in these flicks are great too, but the former stuff is what really makes a Bourne movie a Bourne movie.
And the lack-thereof is what sadly makes “Jason Bourne” not a Bourne movie. Starring Matt Damon as the titular, former, amnesia-plagued assassin, we see Bourne unwillingly pulled once again into the limelight to find out information about his father and Treadstone, the program that created super assassins like him. Hot on his trail are Heather Lee, a CIA security expert played by Alicia Vikander, and Robert Dewey, the CIA Director played by Tommy Lee Jones who is apparently super important and aware of this whole Jason Bourne thing, despite never having appeared in a Bourne film up to this point. Julia Stiles reprises her role as the applicable and intelligent Nicky Parsons, but you even get the vibe that she just doesn’t want to be here.
It’s a worthy attempt at a Bourne film, considering how the first three didn’t really focus on social media, and there is a lot more to say now about cyber security and keeping your personal info private on Facebook. Still, watching this movie makes one wonder how much of the Bourne franchise could be possibly extrapolated. Does Bourne have a sister who is also an assassin? Was his mom or great aunt Linda part of Treadstone too? Is there some other random CIA person who we have never met before but has been the secret Oz figure pulling the Treadstone strings this whole time? Can Jason Bourne ever truly be killed, or is there anyone out there that can kill him? And why don’t passport control stations across the world have a picture of Bourne sitting in their windows so they know not to let this crazy-skilled killer guy into their duty free shops?
Considering that Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter on the original films, didn’t return for this romp, it’s safe to assume that “Jason Bourne” will be the end of the franchise. And even though its based on a book series that’s still trudging along, the book Bourne and movie Bourne are two distinctly different characters and story types. But bringing back Greengrass, Gilroy and Damon all together again would be as asinine as resigning everyone from the 2007 Boston Red Sox team to the current roster in 2017. Yeah, they made something great, but it’s time to hang up their moviemaking cleats and look back fondly on their shared memories of the world’s favorite forgetful assassin.