Very little about this movie is particularly original or interesting, and there’s a clear formula that Paul Greengrass breezes through here: Bourne walks away at an above average speed, the CIA picks him up in the crowd, someone catches up to him, they fight while the camera has a seizure, and Bourne gets away and is free to direct his stoic gaze upon the next scene. Add onto that a half-hearted attempt to insert a topical plot about surveillance, and you get a Bourne installment lacking the fresh, kinetic efficiency of the original trilogy (trilogy means three, people, so why the hell are we on number five?).
However, even though the two hours are relatively dull overall, there are several set pieces in here that are worth the price of admission. A chase scene set during an anti-government protest in Greece is impressively staged, and a climactic car chase/destruction of Las Vegas scene at the end brings the movie to ludicrous highs. In addition, though the script’s exploration of Bourne’s character is considerably weaker here than in past installments–and is limited by the ending of Ultimatum–I give them points for engaging with who this man is and what purpose he might have. The series has always been about Jason Bourne’s identity, and Greengrass and co. still understand that. It’s a bumpy ride and some of the character development feels empty, but at least there’s always a car chase to fall back on if the going gets tough.
Photo credit: Jason Bourne, Universal Studios