Jason Bourne, the incredibly talented ex CIA spy is back again. And once again I cannot make up my mind as to whether I love this most recent addition to the Bourne trilogy or if I despise it. Let’s start with the positives.
As far as storyline goes I have to say that whilst it isn’t anything ground breaking I do enjoy the thrill and danger of the world in which Jason Bourne does his thing. It’s feasible (for the most part), engaging, and keeps your attention throughout with twists and turns that keep you guessing. The actors are all pretty much stellar with Matt Damon being particularly enjoyable to watch ply his trade as well as the brilliant Tommy Lee Jones. Plus, the use of technology within the Bourne universe all seems as if it could really be in use today, with only a couple of embarrassing “enhance image” lines that just aren’t possible. You get that sense that while it might all be a lot more fast paced than the real CIA’s operations, there is little that seems too ridiculous to believe,something that can always be a sore point with me. So top marks there.
So why the potential loathing? Well, it’s the action scenes. Oh sweet God the action scenes. Now it’s clear that it isn’t just me who despises the action scenes but bizarrely many fans of the series seem to love them more than anything. And that is something I just can’t comprehend. You must have the stomach of a WW2 Kamikaze pilot to be able to sit through what are essentially the most hectic and chaotic camera work and cuts I have ever seen. I mean, I genuinely felt physically sick whenever there was a fight or a car chase and often had to actually look away from time to time.
Director Paul Greengrass is often praised for this very thing, his use of shaky hand held camera and shots lasting an average of 1 second. But for me it seems the cheapest and most lazy way to create an action scene. For example, in any given fight scene you never truly know where any actor is in relation to the other, it’s just a blur of madness and images with a victor emerging from the fight. Choreography takes time, effort and cash folks. The same goes for the car chases. Yes, you can see that there are two different vehicles,moving, fast, but that’s about where the comprehension ends because there is clearly no choreography, just reams of shaky footage and hours spent in the editing suite. Compare it to say Kill Bill, where each fight is clearly choreographed to perfection and thus allows wide shots where the viewer understands the dynamics of the fight without sacrificing production quality . There is none of that in the Bourne series and instead it seems clear that Greengrass’s primary concern was conveying chaos and pace. And I suppose that’s fine for some, each to their own. But for me the action scenes completely ruined what could have been a real cinematic treat and something I would want to watch again. And for that reason I give this film 2 out of 5 stars.