Receiving a visit from a former associate, Jason Bourne (who no longer has amnesia) is once again forced to flee from corruption within the US government. Discovering that his deceased father, a former CIA analyst was somehow involved with the Treadstone programme, which he was originally recruited into, he embarks on a dangerous cat and mouse game and, with several people within the CIA wanting him dead as well as an assassin with a personal vendetta, Jason has to put all his former training to the test to find out the truth and stay alive.
Jason Bourne (2016) – Director: Paul Greengrass
Running Length: 123 mins
Starring: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones
Genre: Thriller, Action
Eponymous hero, Jason Bourne, has had three outings as the super agent and fourth film ‘The Bourne Legacy‘ followed another black ops agent, Aaron Cross, (played by Jeremy Renner) running from the same agency, making ‘Jason Bourne’ the fifth instalment of the franchise. There were high expectations from the former powerhouse of director, Paul Greengrass, and Matt Damon due to the success of ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ and ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ (the second and third movies of the series), however this hype has proved to be hugely disappointing.
What made the previous movies so enjoyable wasn’t solely due to the twists and turns that can be found in any spy thriller, but the depth of character of Bourne and his alliances and his relationships with those around him. Making him a truly human character ensured realism without which the hero would simply seem superhuman and unbelievable. Unfortunately, this humanity has been entirely removed from ‘Jason Bourne’; he barely speaks, walks around in plain sight but is barely recognised by super-advanced technology or the experts tasked to find him and he never seems to be in life-or-death danger due to his skills which verge on the impossible. Some of the fight scenes are exciting but are often so over the top that it becomes difficult to figure out what is actually happening. The ‘shaky cam’ style Greengrass has made definitive of the Bourne films is somewhat ‘love or hate’ for audiences but in ‘Jason Bourne’ it is not only irritating but often makes things on-screen, like important text messages, completely illegible.
It has to be said that the first third of the movie shows a lot of promise, the ‘riot’ scene in particular is fantastic, however the movie quickly turns into a ‘thriller-by-numbers’, removes any of its much-needed personality and relies entirely on a predictable plot with dull action sequences dotted throughout. This is surely a sign that it is time to hang up the false identities and quit while they’re ahead but, with the potential for huge profits, will these filmmakers take the hint?
IS ‘JASON BOURNE’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
Early in the movie, there are several brief shots of people being badly injured or killed, these are mostly flashbacks from moments in the former movies. Some of these shots include a hooded and bound man being shot several times in the torso, another man with blood on his face attempts to fight off an attacker but is overpowered and strangled and a woman is hit hard with a gun, she screams before slumping into a heap on the floor.
A character has several brawls in fighting pits. They are very noisy and crowded with numerous people shouting and taking bets on the fighters. In one fight, a man knocks an opponent out immediately when he punches him hard in the face. They are seen from the back so no blood or suffering is seen. In another fight, several heavy blows are exchanged, the fight lasts a few minutes and while the fighters don’t appear to suffer too much, neither of them hold back and it is quite violent; both have some blood on their faces due to the severity of the fight.
A man walks into a bathroom and holds a gun to the head of a man in the tub. This man is tied up and there is blood on his head and on the tiles around him so it appears he has been there for some time and has been beaten and possibly tortured. He says ‘no, no, no’ but his captor shoots him in the head twice. The camera pans away before the death is seen but as the gun is held at point-blank range, it is clear that the man has been murdered.
A scene which lasts for around fifteen to twenty minutes is set among a large-scale riot. There are clashes between police and rioters with punches being thrown, explosions all around and people being roughly tackled to the ground. The camera is placed at eye-level so viewers feel that they are among the ruckus. As this scene is quite long, with the aggression and danger often being very intense, it is potentially going to be frightening for children.
An incidental character who is wearing a helmet has their head pulled back and is viciously stabbed in the back of the neck. The kill is quick, no blood is seen and as the character is only seen from the back so no suffering is shown but the brutality and callousness of the murder could be upsetting for some kids.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘Jason Bourne’ ticks all the boxes for a successful spy thriller, there’s action, double crossings, numerous exotic locations, mystery, assassins and realistic fight scenes but what it doesn’t have is personality which is the one aspect that is vital to make it enjoyable. Due to the brutality and realism of some of the violence, we feel this movie should be appropriate only for ages eleven and over.
- Violence: 4/5 (a character is shot and they lie in the middle of a road, breathing heavily. No blood is seen but they are clearly in pain and struggle to move. Another character attempts to reach them but due to the danger of the shooter still being present, they are unable to get any closer)
- Emotional Distress: 0/5
- Fear Factor: 3/5 (a character is killed and there is a close up of their face; they have their eyes open and appear to be ‘looking’ at another character. Numerous incidental characters are killed by being shot; little blood or gore is shown. The character known as ‘asset’ is an assassin and ruthlessly kills anyone that gets in his way, including innocent people)
- Bad Language: 3/5 (infrequent mild to moderate cursing and blasphemy)
- Dialogue: 3/5 (frequent references to people being killed or plans to kill, including one character saying ‘put her in a box’. One reference of a character being captured for two years in which time he was tortured, scars are later seen on his back to reinforce this)
- Other Notes: Deals with themes of betrayal, plausible deniability, corruption in government agencies, secrets, truth, self-sacrifice, returning to a dangerous life and revenge.
Words by Laura Record