2016 – USA
Director: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassell
Words: C. Abbott
Let’s get something out of the way right now; this film has no reason to exist. Bourne’s story is over; he knows his true identity, had his revelation moment and exacted his vengeance. There is nothing more to add to this. However Jason Bourne seems to disagree, we are now told perhaps he was tricked into joining the agency, that his Father was perhaps not killed by terrorists. Bourne is back on the grid and its back to the usual, punching his way through Europe/America while we are given a migraine by an overuse of shaky-cam.
This all might have come across far too harshly, the original three films are all excellently made, and entertaining examples of genre fiction, there isn’t a debate there. As for Bourne: Legacy, it’s too forgettable to comment on. Bourne is a modern staple in an action/spy genre that is now all too familiar and overexposed, while it first arrived in a very recent post-9/11 world, this new instalment is post-Snowden in a far less recent way. Bourne hit us back in 2002 with a paranoid, underdog feeling, the real enemy being government agencies taking far too much risk rather than men from the East. Now it’s another tiresome social media/NSA trope that we’ve seen done to death.
What is most unusual about this is how Paul Greengrass, director of Supremacy and Ultimatum and now this, consistently stated he would not return unless there was a story good enough for it. Yet there simply isn’t, compared to the former ventures this seems like an extended prologue people would have walked out of before seeing. It is as though they read a “How – to – Bourne” manual, checking off all to include. There is everything here for what makes the franchise great, except the soul, the passion for its existence. While it isn’t completely without merit, Alicia Vikander is as wonderful as always in the role of a up and coming agency exec and Vincent Cassel as a morally complex hitman, due to the actions Bourne took in Ultimatum.
With sequels to this planned and even one for Legacy on the way perhaps there is still life left here, however from these last two entries it isn’t looking promising. As a fan you’ll feel like you’ve seen it out of obligation, if you’re not then just skip it.