** stars (out of four)
The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy were solid summer blockbusters. But 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum was the rare third installment that exceeded its predecessors. It’s a terrific film that holds up well on repeat viewings and serves as a fitting end to the story. Unfortunately, Hollywood never met a golden goose it couldn’t strangle, so nine years later director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon reunited for Jason Bourne.
Sadly, there’s an overwhelming “been-there-done-that” vibe to the film (a common theme with this summer’s films). Bourne’s on the run from another super-assassin (Vincent Cassel) commanded by another corrupt CIA official (Tommy Lee Jones). There’s also a fresh batch of code names for sinister operations. The only new information viewers learn about Bourne relates to his father and is not interesting enough to center a new film around, which is why so much of its running time is dedicated to rehashing elements of the previous installments.
Greengrass (Captain Phillips, United 93) is still a good director of action scenes and there is a pretty tense scene where Cassel chases Damon and Julia Stiles through a riot on the streets of Athens. But that comes early on and much of what remains does little but remind viewers of the previous, superior films.