• by Wes Singleton

Jason Bourne, B-

Rated PG-13, 123 minutes

Well look who shows up, the toughest of spies himself, Jason Bourne, who can still kick some tail. Matt Damon returns as the titular character along with director and co-writer Paul Greengrass to the popular franchise, proving that we missed both of them after the middling "The Bourne Legacy," which made a whole movie out of his absence. Pulling few surprises, "Jason Bourne" is as tense and action-packed as it probably is unnecessary. It's been 10 years since Jason Bourne (Damon) walked away from the agency that trained him to become a deadly weapon. Hoping to draw him out of the shadows, CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) assigns hacker and counterinsurgency expert Heather Lee (Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander) to find him. Bourne finds himself back in action battling a sinister network that utilizes terror and technology to maintain unchecked power. Directed by Greengrass, co-written by Greengrass and his long-standing editor (who edits here as well), Christopher Rouse and well-acted by Damon and company, "Jason Bourne" is an exciting, suitably tense affair, filled with some terrific stunts, chases and fights, proving that the "Bourne" franchise still holds up OK, though by now it feels like a thin excuse for more of all the above. Speaking of which, the Greengrass/Rouse script is problematic and somewhat muddled, providing few real explanations as to Bourne's absence, and quickly tying him to the latest conflict with Jones' (who, with exceedingly baggy eyes, appears rather haggard throughout) CIA director, and wasting no time in throwing Bourne into the center of things again; the lovely Vikander is a nice addition to the series, even if the script explains little of her character's motivations. The second and third chapters in this series, "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum," had more to offer than this entry which lacks some of the originality and intelligence of those previous films, with a solid but overlong and very public climactic chase scene in Las Vegas, which seems to go on forever and bringing Bourne into the public eye. With little to prove by now, "Jason Bourne" is tense and exciting, and only reinforcing what we already knew about the spy who you probably want on your side in a street battle.

#jasonbourne #mattdamon #paulgreengrass