Dominic Corry: Is there any juice left in the Bourne tank?

Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are back with Jason Bourne, but should they have let it be? Dominic Corry says yes.

The ending of 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum was a sublime thing. Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) found himself right back where he began the story: under water, and ready to start his life. It tied the series up in a nice neat bow that offered satisfying closure.

In a creatively just film landscape, that would've been it. But the franchise had grown in stature and success with each subsequent entry, so market forces naturally pushed for more Bourne after Ultimatum.

Matt Damon is Jason Bourne in the espionage thriller that takes Bourne back home, The Bourne Ultimatum.
Matt Damon is Jason Bourne in the espionage thriller that takes Bourne back home, The Bourne Ultimatum.

Damon said he wouldn't do another one unless it was directed by Supremacy and Ultimatum's Paul Greengrass, who didn't seem especially interested in doing so.

They instead went off to make the righteous war drama Green Zone, which nobody saw. Another Bourne movie seemed highly unlikely.

Still, there was money left on the table, so Universal went ahead and made 2012's The Bourne Legacy, which starred Jeremy Renner as a different amnesiac assassin who could kill you with a rolled-up magazine.

The perfectly respectable action thriller suffered for seeming like exactly what it was: a shameless money grab with no justification for existing.

Four years later, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are back with Jason Bourne, which hits Kiwi cinemas next week. But is there any juice left in the Bourne tank?

There was a certain honour in the way these two men walked away from their most commercially successful work in the name of having completed the story. There is somewhat less honour in them both returning to the franchise a couple of years later.

The trailer is frontloaded with footage from prior entries, which perhaps betrays the extent to which this film is relying upon nostalgia for what's come before. Las Vegas car chase aside, the trailer feels especially generic.

Is it really necessary for such huge chunks of these movies to take place in CIA command centres with giant screens lining the walls? Haven't we seen more than enough of that sort of thing for several lifetimes?

Just how many times can Julia Stiles emerge from the shadows to reveal more more secrets to Jason Bourne?
Just how many times can Julia Stiles emerge from the shadows to reveal more more secrets to Jason Bourne?

The bit where the CIA operative identifies spots our hero on a giant screen and exclaims "Jesus Christ! That's Jason Bourne!" seems like a moment we've witnessed at least a dozen times in this franchise already.

Just how many times can Julia Stiles emerge from the shadows to reveal more secrets to Bourne?

Tommy Lee Jones can't even goose this thing up. Every line he has in the trailer could've been copied and pasted from previous performances.

Even more worrying is this report that Damon only has about 25 lines in the whole thing. I suppose the character was never much for speechifying, but still.

Even more worrying is a that says Matt Damon only has about twenty five lines in the film Jason Bourne.
Even more worrying is a that says Matt Damon only has about twenty five lines in the film Jason Bourne.

The Mark Hunt-style bare-knuckle knock-out that ends the trailer has been central to the marketing of Jason Bourne - it was one of the first glimpses we had of the film.

It's pretty cool I suppose, if only for giving off a nice whiff of Rambo III. This is a thread it would be fun to see the film develop, but I sense it may be relegated to an opening scene.

The Bourne series' knack for hiring interesting supporting cast members is in effect however, with Riz Ahmed (The Night Of, Rogue One: A Story Wars Story), Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) and recent Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander filling out the edges. I wonder if they'll let Vikander out of the command centre.

• Are you amped for Jason Bourne? Think there's any juice left in the tank? Comment below!

- NZ Herald

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