December 2, 2016

Blu-Ray Review: JASON BOURNE

Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Styles, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh. Directed by Paul Greengrass. (2016, 123 min).

Of all the classic Looney Tunes characters, Wile E. Coyote has always been my favorite. His entire existence is an exercise in futility. No matter how carefully laid-out his plans are - and how much business he throws ACME's way – they blow up in his face every time. Yet he always remains hopelessly optimistic that he'll finally nab the Road Runner next time.

What makes those old Road Runner cartoons great is every single one of them has the exact same plot and Wile E. Coyote's catastrophic failure is never in doubt. I also think there are times in life when we can all relate to him.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is sort of the anti-Coyote. Right from the get-go, Bourne has been a one-man wrecking crew throughout four movies. With fists, feet & firearms, he's killed enough people to fill Arlington National Cemetery. He handles a vehicle like Joey Chitwood, is more tech-savvy than an entire Geek Squad and can predict his enemies' next moves with the accuracy of Kreskin. He's survived gunshots, stabbings, beatings, explosions, drownings, snipers, car crashes and falls with just a few cuts & scars to show for it.

"We gotta hurry. I just snatched a Snickers from that newsstand."
Even John McClane and James Bond appear vulnerable on occasion. But Jason Bourne's methodical brand of ass-kicking always removes any doubt who's gonna be left standing two-hours later. This generally tends to lesson the suspense of these films, but just like we're 100% certain Wile E. Coyote will blow himself up, the fun is seeing how it happens.

So here we are...Jason Bourne, Damon's fourth go-round as a former CIA assassin. Ten years later, his memory is pretty-much restored and he tries to remain off the grid, participating in illegal fighting matches for cash. After Nicky Parsons (Julia Styles) hacks the CIA and uncovers plans for yet-another nefarious operation (this time called “Iron Hand”), she tracks him down for help in exposing their plans. Once again, Bourne must elude his former employers while turning the tables on them. There are new baddies this time, including Tommy Lee Jones, suitably ruthless as CIA director Dewey, and a vengeful Treadstone assassin simply known as The Asset. Still, their mission remains the same (and as futile as Wile E. Coyote's): find and kill Jason Bourne.

In other words, it's more-or-less business as usual for the Bourne franchise, another chapter in what's essentially been the same story, with perhaps more vehicular mayhem than usual, at least one surprising death and a plot revelation that involves Jason's long-dead father.

"Jesus...I'm lactating!"
While some will argue that the Bourne saga was nicely wrapped up after three films and Jason Bourne offers nothing new, the same could have been said about Road Runner cartoons, yet Chuck Jones made dozens and every one of them is funny as hell. Besides, with Damon's return to the franchise and Paul Greengrass back in the director's chair, at the very least, we know what we're getting: a smart, fast-paced film filled with tech-terror, double-crosses, harrowing chases and, of course, Bourne beating the shit out of anyone dumb enough to think they can catch the Road Runner.

If you ask me, that's more than enough to justify Jason Bourne's existence. Who cares whether or not it was necessary? Hell, I hope they make a sixth one because, like laughing while Wile E. Coyote plummets into yet-another canyon, watching Bourne at work is still a lot of fun.

FEATURETTES (mostly focused on the many action sequences):
Bringing Back Matt Damon as Bourne”; “Bare-Knuckle Boxing”; “Close Quarters Combat”; “Underground Rumble”; “The Athens Escape”; “Convention Chaos; “Shutting Down the Las Vegas Strip”.
4K ULTRA HD (not reviewed) and DIGITAL COPIES.


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