Excellent action scenes don’t make up for lackluster plot: sophomore disappointed by final film in Jason Bourne series

(Photo used by permission of Joblo)
Sophomore Allison Zhang, an avid follower of the Jason Bourne series, was not impressed with its conclusion.

Warning: this review contains spoilers!

After a nine-year hiatus, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is back and kicking butt.

As I was a big fan of the previous Bourne movies, I had high expectations for the latest film, “Jason Bourne.”

Unfortunately, those expectations were not entirely met.

“Jason Bourne” is set in a post-Edward Snowden world where total privacy doesn’t exist. Just like its predecessors, it is a suspenseful action movie that fascinates the viewers.

However, in comparison to the previous three movies (I’m not including “The Bourne Legacy” starring Jeremy Renner), “Jason Bourne” lacks a captivating plot and leaves loose ends untied.

As an action movie, “Jason Bourne” is quite good. The fighting scenes had the audience members and me sitting on the edge of our seats, hoping that Bourne would win.

But the excellent action scenes did not make up for the lackluster plot.

The majority of the dialogue is done by CIA operatives and secondary characters. In fact, Bourne speaks a mere 288 words through the entire two-hour movie.

In previous Bourne movies, there have been unexpected plot twists and surprising realizations. On the other hand, the plot of “Jason Bourne,” is so predictable that while sitting in the theater, I started a game to see how many times I could guess what would happen next.

Moreover, since it has been nine years since a Bourne movie has been released, there are many plot holes that haven’t been addressed.

The first three movies followed an amnesiac Bourne as he tried to regain his memory of his past life, but in the fourth installment, Bourne somehow remembers everything.

How did Bourne rebuild his memories? We never find out. The viewer is expected to just believe it and move on.

In the third movie, “The Bourne Ultimatum,” former CIA operative Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) suggests a past relationship between herself and Bourne. Of course, Bourne doesn’t remember.

In “Jason Bourne,” Bourne supposedly remembers everything, yet somehow this prior relationship with Parsons is never addressed.

While the plot holes were irritating, they weren’t as upsetting as the (extreme spoiler alert!) death of Parsons.

During the first half of the movie, she is shot and killed in front of Bourne.

As one of only two characters who have appeared in all four installments, (the other being Bourne, obviously) Parsons deserves a more meaningful death than being shot by a sniper.

A new character is also introduced in this movie: Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), a computer expert who works for the CIA.

The Swedish actress has become extremely popular after her roles in “Ex Machina” and “The Danish Girl,” for which she won an Academy Award.

And while it could be pure coincidence that a lead female role (Parsons) dies and another lead female role (Lee) is introduced, I don’t think it is.

While I hope that Lee wasn’t  introduced because of her fame and Parsons killed to make room for her, I have a bad feeling that that might have been the case.

Vikander did an excellent job playing Lee; there’s no doubt about that. But Stiles has been a part of the Bourne franchise since its beginnings, and she has become well known and well loved.

Even though “Jason Bourne” is an average action movie that doesn’t quite live up to its predecessors, it does address issues about privacy and security that are relevant to the world today.

Including these subjects grounds the film and makes it more interesting to watch.  

In the movie, a vague social media company named Deep Dream is introduced. It’s made clear that Deep Dream is harvesting users’ personal information and giving it to the CIA. The director of the CIA justifies this action by saying that it will improve national security – which isn’t wrong.

However, at what price would this more secure world come? Your emails and phone calls, your connections, your search history: those would no longer be known only by you.

Having met people who have dealt with privacy and security issues such as stalking and hacking, I know that this problem is happening right now.

“Jason Bourne” addresses this ever-growing issue and reminds viewers that services labeled “private” may not actually be private.

As security and privacy become more critical issues in our world, we need to confront them – but hopefully not the way Bourne does!

By Allison Zhang

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