Nine years after his last screen outing, Matt Damon’s amnesiac hero Jason Bourne is still grappling with his past as a CIA assassin. Pulled back into the deadly world of black-ops skulduggery by Julia Stiles’ CIA whistleblower Nicky Parsons, he launches himself into yet another punishing solo mission to uncover the agency’s deceptions.
Along the way, the story touches on the hot-button issues of global surveillance and internet security – a key figure in the plot is a Mark Zuckerberg-like social media tycoon played by Riz Ahmed. But in most other respects the narrative is very much a re-run of previous instalments.
Again, Bourne is up against a grizzled white male with a shady agenda – here Tommy Lee Jones’s CIA boss. Again, there is a hotshot woman keen to prove she is a match for her male peers – here Alicia Vikander’s rising CIA star. And, again, Bourne finds himself shadowed by a rival assassin – here a brutally ruthless figure played by Vincent Cassel, referred to only as The Asset. Yet even though Bourne and we have been here before, there’s no danger of nodding off.
Returning director Paul Greengrass (maker of the second and third Bourne films) deploys hand-held cameras and quick-fire editing to electrifying effect, giving a thrillingly urgency to the familiar scenes of chase and combat. The exhilarating episode set against the backdrop of a ferocious anti-austerity riot in Athens is a genuine standout. But the series really needs some genuinely fresh plot twists if it is to hold our attention next time around.
Certificate 12. Runtime 118 mins. Director Paul Greengrass
Jason Bourne is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.