Poor Jeremy Renner. Bounced out of the Bourne franchise, Conan O’Brien/Tonight Show–style, Renner’s nowhere to be seen in the fifth movie based on the character from Robert Ludlum’s espionage books, and the fourth to star Matt Damon—although, oddly enough, for a movie named after Damon’s character, Jason Bourne could’ve used a lot more of him.
Instead, director Paul Greengrass and his co-scriptwriter Christopher Rouse (also the movie’s editor, interestingly) focus on a coterie of supporting characters, including Alicia Vikander as a smooth-skinned computer surveillance whiz, Vincent Cassel as a deadly “asset” (translation: assassin), and Tommy Lee Jones as a melted jack-o’-lantern who’s also head of the CIA. They’re all tracking Bourne, who discovered his real identity in 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum and feels bad about all the people he killed, so he’s taken on the life of a wandering bare-knuckle boxer, punching large men for cash throughout Eastern Europe.
The CIA wants to terminate Bourne because he knows too much, so Greengrass—in his trademark twitchy, obfuscated style—whisks us through three dazzling chase sequences: a rather intense police riot in the streets of Athens (a backdrop that seems a touch too serious for a frothy spy caper); a hunter-and-quarry foot chase in London; and a demolition derby on the boulevards of Las Vegas. That last one, unfortunately, has awful echoes of the recent tragedy in Nice, especially when cars pile up in front of the Riviera casino, of all places.
In between set pieces, there’s an incredibly stupid side plot about a social-media platform called Deep Dream (huh?) that’s about to become the most powerful surveillance tool Tommy Lee Jones’s sunken eyes have ever seen. It’s all a bunch of gobbledygook, and Jason Bourne’s goofy-ass plot devices are knotted a bit too tightly. But the action scenes are good, and that’s all you ever really need out of a Bourne movie.
Well, that and Matt Damon. Sorry, Jeremy.