Gritty action mired in messy plot

MAN ON THE RUN: Damon's Bourne is a survivor with no fancy cars or gadgets. He is once again hunted by the CIA in this latest Bourne outing.


    Jul 28, 2016

    Gritty action mired in messy plot


    Action/124 minutes/Opens today

    Rating: 3/5

    The story:

    Former CIA assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon)

    has been off the grid for years. But when former colleague

    Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) tracks him down to get his help to

    stop a new CIA black ops initiative, he is again hunted

    by the CIA. Hot on his heels

    is CIA tech expert Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), who has

    some dark secrets of her own.

    I'VE ALWAYS thought the Jason Bourne movies are better than the James Bond ones.

    Damon's lethal spy and the crazy, complicated espionage he's involved in are grounded in reality, unlike the frivolous activities Bond engages in - the pre-Daniel Craig Bonds at least.

    Bourne thinks on his feet and uses whatever is handy as weapons. No need for flashy cars and fancy gadgets.

    He's not well dressed. He's just another man on the street.

    So to see him return to action is exciting - though the story is as convoluted as the last three films.

    Damon plays his Bourne well. He certainly looks like someone on the run for years. He has aged a fair bit too, but he's a survivor, which means that those who cross his path generally end up in the sorry pile.

    The issues in this latest instalment are relatively current. The danger comes not from terrorists but from those who crave power through data-mining.

    The action sequences are spectacular but nothing new.

    While this is a welcome return, its predecessors were more engaging.

    Vikander not only serves as eye candy, she also represents the "new" digital world.

    You can be sure she's poised to be the next powermonger, since this does open doors for more Bourne adventures.

    But sequels do need to work more on simplifying the story and giving it more purpose if they want to hook Bourne back to the spy business.