Friday, July 29, 2016


Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne official site On the eve of Democratic Convention, news broke about how the Russia hacked D.N.C. and released the documents to WikiLeaks. But that hacking incident is quite elementary compared to what the C.I.A. can do in the beginning of the director Paul Greengrass's new installment of the Jason Bourne franchise, named simply "Jason Bourne" (USA 2016 | 123 min.). Its crispy action sequences and its fast pace make the film both gripping and relevant to the current events, until it disappoints us by piling up clichés and nonsense toward the end.

The hacker at the beginning of the film is a former C.I.A. agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). She breaks into C.I.A.'s network to steal some documents about top-secret C.I.A. operations. Without even a search, she is able to pin-point to the folder to find out the background information about Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) who has been off the grid surviving on underground fighting gigs. In order to give the information to the visibly weathered Jason, Nicky comes to Greece where political unrest is running high on the streets.

However, their every move is under the surveillance of a stone-faced C.I.A. cyber-security officer Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) who is even able to remotely shut down the power of a building in another country. She can also zoom in a camera to just about every corner of the world and monitor it on the giant screen in a central control room. Next to her is the aging C.I.A. director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) who is willing to do anything to eliminate Jason and Nicky and keep his operations a top secret. He deploys a ruthless contract assassin code-named Asset (Vincent Cassel) who basically shoots everyone that appears in front of him including C.I.A. agents.

But Jason Bourne is not an ordinary individual. Despite being hunted by the C.I.A. and Asset, he gets where he wants to go with a little help from his sympathizers. He is determined to uncover the truth about his past.

Jason Bourne Official Site

It might look like a ridiculous fantasy in a sci-fi fiction when you see how powerful Heather is under the name of surveillance. However, after what Edward Snowden has revealed, we are no longer sure what the government might be able to do in secret. But that still doesn't give the film a free pass on its credibility. No hacker would be stupid enough to use his real IP address in action and let himself be tracked back by the C.I.A. to have his computer wiped clean. The film often omits the details about how the agents can pin-point the target even at night, except "Find My iPhone" must have contributed to the tracking. That illustrates how limited the script writers' knowledge is about computer technology.

Fortunately, the non-stop action and effective visual in a better first half of the film leave you no room to question the plot's credibility. It keeps us captivated during Jason Bourne's globe-trotting adventure in the name of truth seeking. It's also remarkable that the film incorporates or mirrors many current events as the plot's backdrop. Is any high-tech start-up teaming up with the C.I.A.? You bet.

But when the truth eventually comes out, the film seems to run out of ideas about what to do next. Somebody must have come up with the lousy idea to let Jason fight with Asset. It's unwatchable not because the fight scene is brutal, but because of its absurdity. The unoriginal and overly long car chase scene of Asset driving a stolen SWAT vehicle only leaves us with a bad taste, because it will remind us about the recent tragedy in Nice.

Nevertheless, we can take some comfort in knowing that Jason Bourne didn't go to the Russians for help—at least he is a patriot.

"Jason Bourne," a Universal Pictures release, opens on Friday, July 29, 2016.

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