On The Run Again: Jason Bourne
The CIA, apparently, will not rest until Jason Bourne is permanently at rest. In Jason Bourne, the onetime covert assassin (Matt Damon) lives a life where he clandestinely boxes all comers for money. One day, Bourne hears from Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), his old contact, who has found out more about the circumstances that led to his recruitment to the now-exposed Blackbriar project. Her activity, however, draws the attention of CIA agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), who shuts off the power to the location where Parsons and others use as a base for hacking. Parsons escapes, and meets with Bourne in Greece. Lee reports her actions to CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), who sees the information as a threat to the CIA's current assassin program, Iron Hand. Dewey then puts in a call to a man known only as The Asset (Vincent Cassel) to head to Greece to kill Bourne and Parsons. They use a riot as cover, but The Asset takes aim and kills Parsons. However, she gives Bourne a key that has the pertinent information she has gathered.
Bourne makes his way to a safe house in Berlin that almost immediately becomes unsafe as The Asset and the CIA track his location thanks to Lee. Bourne learns that his father, Richard Webb (Gregg Henry), a CIA analyst, had created Blackbriar, but also learned the CIA wanted his son for the program. At a meeting between father and son, the elder Webb is killed before revealing all of the details. From Berlin, Jason heads to London to meet with retired CIA man Malcolm Smith (Bill Camp), who also has some background on Blackbriar. Lee wants to work on an operation to capture Bourne, and Dewey agrees to let that happen. He also has plans to attend a convention in Las Vegas where computer tycoon Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) plans to talk about his company's Deep Dream software, which has CIA money financing it.
Jason Bourne is a capable fourth film for Damon in the title role. It's the third time that Damon has played Bourne under the direction of Paul Greengrass, who also co-wrote the script. Little has changed in terms of basic story, though the CIA people debate how much of a patriot Bourne is. Bourne never betrays national security, but the knowledge he has makes some in the CIA perceive him as a danger. A secondary story goes a little into the history of Bourne and The Asset, both of whom were part of the Blackbriar program. In spite of the same kind of action picture, Greengrass fills the movie with some tension-filled chases, and still shows Bourne as a product of covert operations who finds himself on the wrong end of the Agency's trust.
Damon continues to do fine work in one of his best known roles. Jason Bourne is older, but he remains wise to the ways of an agency who sees him as a threat. He has resigned himself to a life that necessitates that he avoid detection. He never forgot all of the techniques that made him a top assassin for the CIA, so he knows how to defend himself and blend in with a crowd when he knows danger awaits. Trust will always be an issue for the man born David Webb, especially after he loses Nicky. Vikander is also very effective as Lee, a young agent looking to build on her already impressive success. Like Bourne, Heather also has trust issues that develop during the movie. As much as she may find herself at odds at times with Dewey, she has a cold demeanor that suggests she's more like her director than she's willing to admit. Jones is fine as the arrogant Dewey, while Cassel shows a leave no witnesses approach as The Asset, who has made the transition from Blackbriar to Iron Hand.
There will always be a need for covert operations in the interest of national security. Jason Bourne shows what has become of a man who exposed the downside of the operations, and his old employer seems unwilling to either forgive or forget, in spite of the price Bourne paid to become the man the CIA needed him to be. In response, Jason Bourne shows he's still a man of action, as well as a man of principle.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Jason Bourne 3.5 stars. Out of the shadows again.