Movie Review: 'Jason Bourne' suffers from spy thriller fatigue


Movie Review: ‘Jason Bourne’ suffers from spy thriller fatigue

A classic case of old wine in a new bottle

By Kalyani Prasher  August 18th, 2016

Matt Damon returns to play Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin who specialises in looking unhappy. He is going about spreading the culture of mindless violence across the globe like a good American, when a former CIA agent hacks into its database and uncovers Certain Dark Truths about Bourne’s past. His father may have been killed by someone other than terrorists, he realises, and this becomes the highly fractured backbone of the, haha, plot.

Zoop! His attention is focused on the CIA again and he begins a quest to find out the identity of his father’s assassin. The CIA meanwhile, with access to every mobile on the planet, puts token strong female character in charge of Mission Bourne and sends about 75 people in 7 different batches to ID him. They manage blurry screenshots that confirm that indeed Bourne is on the move. The CIA drops everything, kill everyone they are investigating to finish off their work faster, and go after him. It is not entirely clear, though, that when Bourne is going after the CIA and the CIA is going after Bourne, why it is taking so long for the twain to meet.

Bourne wants to reach CIA chief Robert Dewey in order to kill him, confirming his suspicion that Dewey was behind his father’s killing along the way. Said Dewey, played by Tommy Lee Jones, is a doddering 70 year old with this nasal singsong way of talking that is supposed to be cold and mean and fear inducing, but sounds like he has a wheezing cough and chest congestion and is going to die any second of natural causes.

Everyone sucks at killing. This is a spy thriller. The sniper has hours to aim at Bourne but kills the wrong person of the wrong gender instead. Several batches of CIA operatives fail to kill one single person of any consequence till the end of the movie and don’t even get me started on the villain.

After killing 75 random people, crashing into 112 random cars, flying across 6 countries, entering 5 buildings while still driving (killing more random people, crashing more random cars), and aiming at the Target with a sniper rifle, a pistol, swiping at him with a knife, a sword, trying to drive over him, smear him to a wall, crush him under a truck, throwing him off a terrace, shoot up at him from below a building, shoot down at him from the roof, and throwing a katori at him, he still fails to cause even a momentarily debilitating injury to the Target. This villain is called the Asset.

Almost everyone IDs said Asset. Not only does he utterly fail to kill the ONE person he is supposed to, he manages to rouse up the entire police and fire-fighting forces of countries where his only other job is to lie low. The fact that he is not in some foreign jail (again) is only because this is a movie and all the police forces of the world combined cannot capture the villain before the final car chase sequence. Ah, the final car chase. It is so long and so pointless that often the audience forgets who is chasing whom. In fact, it seems even the actors are confused.

The Asset escapes in a SWAT truck – police cars and bikes are strategically located only to be stolen by all kinds of thugs in the movie; if this was India, there would have been calls for a ban for defaming the security forces – anyhow, so the Asset escapes. Why is he running away? Is he not supposed to kill Bourne? WHAT KIND OF VILLAIN FORGETS THIS?

So he runs away, and Bourne chases after him, stealing yet another car. Target is chasing Asset. Something is very wrong with this movie and by now they have totally lost the, haha, plot. After Target and Asset freewheel around the city causing random destruction when they could just drive on the empty roads, somewhere down the line, Asset remembers that oh, I was supposed to kill this dude, and starts to attack Bourne’s car. We, the paying public, are now thoroughly confused.

“What’s happening?” murmurs the girl behind me. My sister yawns loudly in the middle of this noisy chase sequence, causing two rows to laugh. Everyone is thinking the same thing: When will this end? Everyone knows who is going to die but we just couldn’t see how. I will leave that part shrouded in mystery except to say that the katori-throwing came into play here. This is by far the worst Bourne movie I have seen but the most alarming part comes in the end when they threaten quite clearly that there might be a sequel. Oh dear. Guess who won’t be watching.