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Paul Greengrass
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones
Writing Credits:
Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse

The CIA's most dangerous former operative is drawn out of hiding to uncover more explosive truths about his past.

Box Office:
$120 million.
Opening Weekend
$59,215,365 on 4,026 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-X
English DTS Headphone X
Spanish DTS-HD MA 7.1
French DTS 5.1
English Descriptive Video Service
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 124 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 12/6/2016

• “Bringing Back Bourne” Featurette
• “Bourne to Fight” Featurette
• “The Athens Escape” Featurette
• “Las Vegas Showdown” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Jason Bourne [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 28, 2016)

After a nine-year break, Matt Damon returns to his role as the titular secret operative in 2016’s Jason Bourne. Set about a decade after prior adventures, former CIA assassin Jason Bourne (Damon) maintains a life isolated from society.

Another former CIA operative named Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) uncovers more info about the secret “Treadstone” program – and about Bourne’s past, with an emphasis on elements related to Jason’s mysterious father. These revelations impact Bourne and send him on a new crusade, one during which he attracts more CIA attention and needs to evade efforts spearheaded by agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) to survive.

Although I enjoyed 2002’s Bourne Identity, its first two sequels proved less satisfying. After Doug Liman directed Identity, Paul Greengrass took over for 2004’s Bourne Supremacy and 2007’s Bourne Ultimatum – with less effective results, as Greengrass’s visual style turned those flicks into hyperactive messes.

Not that the series’ 2012 “spinoff” Bourne Legacy fared much better. Damon and Greengrass skipped that one, so it brought in Jeremy Renner to play a Bourne colleague. I liked it more than the two Greengrass-directed Bournes, but it didn’t thrill me.

Given that background, I can’t say I entered Jason Bourne with great expectations, but I still held out hope that it’d connect with me. After all, the franchise maintains a nice fan base, and I like action flicks, so maybe I’d finally find a Bourne to embrace.

Or maybe not! For better or for worse, Jason Bourne feels exactly like its Greengrass-led predecessors, as I find virtually nothing to differentiate it from those movies.

Which means I think Jason Bourne offers a skittery mess of a film. Greengrass loves jerky hand-held camerawork to such a degree that his flicks make me motion-sick on the big screen. That’s not an issue in a smaller setting, but the awkwardness of the photography still harms these efforts.

I get the impression Greengrass believes these stylistic choices add vitality and urgency to the movie, but instead, the opposite occurs. Because Jason Bourne depicts everything in such a frantic manner, almost nothing seems dramatic or exciting.

Instead, the movie just comes across as unfocused and aggressive – especially in scenes that really should be more sedentary. While I don’t care for the shakycam in action sequences, the style seems more acceptable there. A more restrained photographic eye would work better, but some of the big set pieces offer decent impact.

The rest of Jason Bourne fares less well, partly because Greengrass doesn’t know when to stop. He imbues every scene with that same level of dramatic urgency and this means the viewer never gets a break. When every event comes across like a “climax”, nothing makes a dent.

It doesn’t help that like the other Greengrass Bournes, this one doesn’t seem to boast an actual plot. The Bourne series seems to consist of the same tale: Bourne searches for facts about his past while he deals with assassins sent to kill him.

Sure, the movies toss in additional nuances, but not many, so they all seem more than a little similar. We find little character development in Jason Bourne, as instead we view a random collection of action scenes with a thin thread to connect them.

At the end of the day, Bourne simply never becomes an interesting character. He lacks any personality or real reason for us to care about him. Bourne meanders from one violent confrontation to another with little at stake in the viewers’ eyes.

The film’s reliance on “action” set in front of computers becomes almost laughable. It feels like half the movie consists of shots in which Agent Lee stares at a monitor and makes frantic declarations about Bourne. “Bourne’s on the move!” “Bourne’s at a new location!” All this occurs while Greengrass spins that camera of him and treats the sequences like the attack on Omaha Beach.

When I notice shot composition to this degree, I know I’m not very interested in the movie, and Jason Bourne does precious little to maintain my attention. It throws a lot of hyperactive material our way but none of it sticks.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Jason Bourne appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the movie enjoyed a high-quality transfer.

Sharpness usually seemed excellent. A smidgen of softness crept into the occasional wide shot, but those instances remained modest and created little to detract from this well-defined image. I saw no moiré effects or jaggies, and neither edge haloes nor print flaws marred the proceedings.

Like most modern action flicks, Bourne heavily favored orange and teal. These choices may be tedious, but the Blu-ray reproduced them in a satisfying manner. Blacks were dense and dark, while low-light shots offered smooth imaging. This was the kind of solid image I anticipated.

As for the movie’s DTS-X soundtrack – which downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1 on my system - it offered a pretty high-octane mix. With a lot of action sequences, the various channels got a good workout and used the spectrum well.

These sequences took advantage of their opportunities. In particular, scenes with vehicles fared best, as these objects zipped around the room in a dynamic manner. I also thought gunfire and other violent components used the soundfield well, and all this opened up matters to create a lively setting for the action.

Audio quality seemed strong. Music was peppy and full, and speech appeared natural and distinctive. Effects offered good bang for the buck, as those elements showed nice clarity and dynamic range. The soundtrack complemented the movie well.

Four featurettes fill out the set. Bringing Back Bourne runs eight minutes, 15 seconds and includes notes from director Paul Greengrass, producers Frank Marshall and Gregory Goodman, co-writer/editor Christopher Rouse, director of photography Barry Ackroyd, and actors Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, and Tommy Lee Jones.

The show looks at the decision to make a new Bourne movie, story and characters, cast and performances, and Greengrass’s approach to the material. This is largely superficial material with a promotional bent.

During the 18-minute, 13-second Bourne to Fight, we hear from Greengrass, Damon, Rouse, stunt coordinator Roger Powell, fight coordinator Roger Yuan, boxing trainer Matt Baiamonte, stunt performer Brian Nickels, art director Mark Scruton, and actors Vincent Cassel and Vinzenz Kiefer. Here we learn about Damon’s physical training as well as stunts/action. While semi-glossy in nature, “Fight” still gives us a decent array of details.

The Athens Escape lasts five minutes, 37 seconds and features Damon, Powell, Greengrass, 2nd unit director Simon Crane, and picture vehicles supervisor Graham Kelly. While “Escape” offers more about stunts/action, it comes with an emphasis on vehicular material. A few useful tidbits emerge, but the show remains fluffy too much of the time.

Lastly, Las Vegas Showdown takes up 14 minutes, 56 seconds with remarks from Damon, Goodman, Marshall, Greengrass, Rouse, Powell, Vikander, Crane, transport coordinator Denny Caira, Aria Casino VP of Hotel Operations Paul Berry, camera operator Nino Pansini, art director Caty Maxey, and actors Riz Ahmed and Ato Essandoh. “Showdown” looks at shooting in Las Vegas as well as production design and more stunts/action. It offers another glossy piece with only minor informational value.

The disc opens with ads for The Great Wall, The Girl On the Train, Snowden, Death Race 2050 and Anthropoid. No trailer for Bourne appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Jason Bourne. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Lather, rinse, repeat: Jason Bourne offers a virtual carbon copy of its Paul Greengrass-directed predecessors. Since those movies lacked cohesion and offered little more than frantic action, I view this as a disappointment. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with a mediocre set of supplements. I hold out hope that someday I’ll find another Bourne movie to love, but Jason Bourne isn’t it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8636 Stars Number of Votes: 22
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