Jason Bourne (2016)
PG-13 for violence, which tends to be on the brutal side, and death, which is the result of violence. I'm sure that there is some mild language, but most people should be horrified how much hardcore punching there is. There's blood, again the result of that violence. There's nothing sexual, so big ups to the Bourne franchise for keeping it pretty tame. But you know, I wouldn't show my kids this movie. Mainly because they're wildly unfamiliar with Black Ops operations and the moral ambiguity involved. PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Paul Greengrass
I don't care about Jason Bourne. I'm sorry. I got this movie for free when I got Movies Anywhere. Jason Bourne never really caught my attention. I think I'm just becoming an old fart. Maybe I'm just becoming an uber snob because old folks are supposed to love the Bourne movies. But me? They don't do a ton for me. I don't know what it is. You know what, that's not even that true. I know exactly what it is that isn't doing it for me and it all stems from two movies that kind of dropped the ball. I know that people really liked The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. People love those movies. I didn't care for those movies. I thought that they were way too complex and way too CIA heavy. See, John LeCarre does nothing for me. Normally, I ride the line of "it's just not for me." I don't think that's actually the case with the Bourne franchise. The Bourne movies are just The X-Files all over again.
I loved The X-Files when it was originally on TV. I watched it wth my mom. My dad never really cared for it. He says it was too serious and I disagree. But The X-Files had a fundamental flaw that they repeated when the new season. The reason that we all watched The X-Files was the conspiracy. There was a great mystery behind the scenes. I now realized that I liked the Freak of the Week episodes because the conspiracy episodes were the worst. The mystery doesn't matter. It doesn't. I know X-Files and Bourne fans. You think it really does. The mystery doesn't matter when it comes to franchises. Is Mulder very different in Season One versus what he's like in Season Twelve? Nope. Not at all. Okay, Scully is a different character, but that's more along the lines of things that she has seen. Jason Bourne, with all of his memories intact, is practically the same character that he is in The Bourne Identity. Each time there is a bombshell revelation, it has less and less of an effect. The narrative, honestly, is done in The Bourne Identity. We don't get all of the mystery. But look what these movies have added to the characters? Pretty much nothing. Jason Bourne is Jason Bourne is Jason Bourne. Jason Bourne (heh) is a reminder that everything is a template. We've seen this movie before. Jason Bourne knows most of his past, but something he didn't remember showed up. A female character who was a big deal SPOILER dies, inspiring him to take the fight to the CIA. (Yup, the character is fridged.) The movie surrounds this big bombshell moment. Jason Bourne's father got him involved with becoming this super soldier. But we don't care about Jason Bourne's father. The CIA is terrible in these movies. He's going to go on the run from them. But what does this actually build to the mythos? As complex as these movies pretend to be, the structure is very very similar just running down the list.
So then it comes to Jason Bourne fighting? Paul Greengrass really shocked me when he made the first Jason Bourne movie. There's nothing wrong about Jason Bourne if this was the first movie. But we've seen that kind of filmmaking before. Heck, The Bourne Identity changed the way we view action. It was frenetic and violent. The movie seemed so brutal because the camera fought against other standards. It was never clear and thus introduced chaos. But Greengrass keeps going back to the same well. The real problem with that is the fact that other people have done the same. What was once forward thinking is now becoming wildly dated. It seems like every action movie seems like a Bourne film. Remember when The Bourne Identity was the only Bourne entry. It was mind blowing. But in the same way that The Lost World: Jurassic Park and even furthermore Jurassic Park III showed us too many dinosaurs, we have seen this before. We are no longer mesmerized by what we are seeing. Instead, it seems like Jason Bourne is going through the same story cycles time and again. I know that a lot of people had a problem with The Bourne Legacy. That makes sense because the movie is not amazing. But the advantage that The Bourne Legacy offers is that it is almost something new. But even that film isn't all that different. The CIA sends out a special asset to take care of the character that can't be taken down. We've seen this before. The MCU (I hate that I keep coming back to this well) learned that you can't keep on using villains that are mirrors for the heroes over and over again. That has to be special. By saying that every villain is special, it honestly makes none of them special. While I kind of applaud the social media angle of Jason Bourne, it doesn't really go anywhere. It is almost something that is flying in the background of this film. We know something is going on with Deep Dream, but it is just part of the complex web that never really gets broken down. There's something there that, by the end of the movie, I didn't really care. We honestly just know that it is sinister. How am I supposed to relate to anything that is just sinister for being sinister?
Are the movies just meant for die hards? Going back to The X-Files, I found myself as one of the last stalwarts for that show. Like The Bourne Legacy, there was actually a change in cast that caused most of the audience to abandon the franchise. But again, I stayed with it (Thanks a lot, Movies Anywhere). That X-Files thing is becoming a better and better comparison. Think about what we learned from this movie. We learned practically nothing. Jason Bourne is still Jason Bourne. There are moments that are teased for future films, but who really believes that anything will change? Alicia Vikander is the new Bourne girl, I guess. Is that a term? I guess it is now because that's what is happening in these films. I oddly believe that the lead actresses just get frustrated with having these underwritten parts that they return for. But Vikander plays this character believes that the character of Jason Bourne can be brought back into the CIA. What a fun tease, if anyone actually believed that it would stick? If this movie ended with Bourne being brought back into the CIA, A) I wouldn't believe it because we are just told that there's a chance that Bourne could be brought back, and B) that might be kind of cool for a second. But the filmmakers are so afraid of change that the only thing that actually is risky is the title. That's a really weak change. But I do want to analyze the whole "Bourne can be brought back in". What it does for the Bourne girl is that it gives her a new motivation that we haven't seen before. Cool, but let's really look at that. The only reason that we can believe that Bourne can be brought back into the CIA is that a document said that he has that profile. That's really bad writing. I think that there are five Bourne films. Everything about every Bourne film says that Jason Bourne hates the CIA. He is trying to take them down. We simply have to believe this document. It's a cool concept, but how about planting little seeds where Bourne shows interest in that. If anything, Bourne isn't morally complex. There are no times where he's stuck in a complex situation and has to decide between two bad answers. He just is single-minded. Saying that he's complex is lying to the audience. Yeah, he might be a patriot. But the definition of patriot has been so skewed in this world that word means nothing. It's just so frustrating to try to squeeze water from a stone. I don't care what revelation happens. These movies are all the same and we don't care. Like television, there is no growth. It's just one character running away from something in the first half of the film and then running towards something in the second half.
The movie isn't terrible. I found it really weird to see Tommy Lee Jones as a full on bad guy. I got the vibe that Tommy Lee Jones retired from stuff life like this. I don't mind at all. I know that these movies are fun. But they are selling Jason Bourne as the intelligent James Bond and it totally isn't. It is full of boring CIA jargon that they're making up. Every time I saw the word "Treadstone", I knew that I was supposed to gasp. I didn't gasp. I just wanted the movie to end. It's fun. Yeah, but I don't like these characters. I honestly don't care about Jason Bourne because I've seen the same movie four or five times. I want something new. Formula can be a good start, but it needs to move away from the thing that we saw last time. It just gets boring over time. I like Matt Damon. I know that he might be a bit of a scumbag. But normally he strives at being charming. The idea behind Jason Bourne is that he's a tabula rasa. He started his life all over again and the first movie teased that he was going to completely change his personality. But he's just the same guy over and over again. The movie first shows Jason Bourne as a cage fighter or something. I don't know what the proper term for the whole thing. Regardless, that's a big step backwards. He's already a Mary Sue. He can crash a car into a casino and walk away. It even goes further down the Mary Sue road with the fact that injuries don't matter. If the entire movie is about getting these two tanks to fight, Jason Bourne should lose. He's got a bullet in him. He can barely walk. He should be bleeding out. In that moment, he should be walking to his death. If the Asset was going to be a challenge to Bourne at full health, he should be unstoppable in that situation. Now, if Bourne had used his intellect to beat his enemy, everything is forgiven. But it's not. Paul Greengrass wants to see a slugfest. Sure, he's been teasing it for a while. The asset is supposed to be scary. But what actually happens is that all we do is nerf the bad guy. If Jason Bourne was a Mary Sue before, he's an even more unforgivable example now. Bourne leaves in almost the same condition he walked in on. What this does is make every other action sequence sanded down. There's a part where he's fighting in the ring and he's bloodied. But when he sees his peer, he takes down the combatant in a moment. That fight was never a threat. Nothing in these movies is ever a threat. Compare that to Casino Royale. Bond is tortured. He loses. He's saved, sure. But he actually has to shift his mindset to continue on in storytelling. Bond is one of the most flat characters that have ever been written. But even Bond has failed more than Bourne. That's no good.
There needs to be something new. No, I'm going to take it back. Bourne needed to end many many films ago. I would stand by the idea that the movie has sold itself with the first film. But I'll even forgive the first three because a trilogy might close off some ideas for die hard fans. Yeah, I didn't like those two, but that's okay. I can live in a world in a Bourne trilogy. But we have completely lost any investment in this character. When The Matrix sequels came out, it kind of ruined the first film for me. These movies have done that for Jason Bourne. I don't like the movies any more. They are just popcorn fluff and that's the last thing it needed.
3/22/2019 08:00:08 pm
Get some rest, Tim. You look tired. ;)
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