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Jason Bourne (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)
The most dangerous former operative of the CIA is drawn out of hiding to uncover hidden truths about his past.
Jason Bourne was reportedly photographed with a myriad of sources, but film appears its predominant format. The image wrangles up some terrific details, clear even through the movie's shaky-cam jerks and jitters and zooms. Facial detailing is resplendently complex, presenting some seriously intimate images of pores, stubble, age wear, and even some blood. Environments are sparkling, evident even at night or in lower light conditions. Dense cities and closed-in command and control centers reveal plenty of finer point details along façades for the former and monitors and equipment for the latter. Colors are bold and true, again even in lower light conditions where saturation and nuance are outstanding. Black levels hold naturally deep without crush and flesh tones appear well saturated and healthy. The image sports no immediately obvious encode maladies. Grain can be a little thick, but it's evenly distributed and the transfer enjoys a quality filmic appearance.
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: DTS Headphone:X
Spanish: DTS-HD 7.1
French (Canada): DTS 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 DVD)
UV digital copy
iTunes digital copy
Jason Bourne's DTS:X soundtrack demonstrates clear and capable command of the material and the listening area. The track feels consistently immersive to the entire 360-degrees, as well as integrating a nicely balanced and never forced or intrusive overhead support structure. Music is full bodied and clear, effortlessly positioned around the listener while maintaining lifelike definition throughout the range, including a healthy and supportive low end. Flashback scenes offer a nice burst of ghostly reverberation and random positioning around the stage. Frenzied din at busy locations, like protests on the streets of Athens, feature prominently and, like the music, take full advantage of every speaker in the configuration to draw the listener into the mayhem. Lighter elements and more serene location-specific environmental details always play with rich clarity that draws the lister in. Action scenes maintain a fine level of detail even through the chaos and aggressive volume and posturing. Stage balance is amazing, and the listener is always directionally aware throughout. Overheads carry some quality supportive details, like helicopter rotors which are smoothly integrated into the greater whole. Dialogue is firmly placed in the center with its only escape during naturally occurring moments of reverberation.
Matt Damon returns to his most iconic role in Jason Bourne. Paul Greengrass, the director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, once again joins Damon for the next chapter of Universal Pictures' Bourne franchise, which finds the CIA's most lethal operative drawn out of the shadows. Damon is joined by Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones, while Julia Stiles reprises her role in the series.
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Jason Bourne resurfaces ten years after he was last seen jumping from the top of a building into the East River in New York City. He’s still searching for answers to who he is and how he was recruited into the CIA’s “Treadstone” black ops program. Now, with new information given him by former Agency operative Nicky Parsons, Bourne may finally get some answers. He soon finds himself pitted against an array of new enemies within the CIA, including the head of the Cyber Ops Division, an “Asset” with a grudge assigned to find him and kill him, and even the CIA Director himself.
Now that I’ve watched all five Jason Bourne films in sequence, it’s become clear to me just how formulaic this franchise has become over fifteen years. Each movie contains the following elements (not necessarily in any particular order): a confused, bemused protagonist on the run from unknown and unseen enemies; someone of senior rank within the CIA obsessively trying to kill him, usually by sending ruthless, robotic “assets” after him; and someone else – always a beautiful woman – within the Agency, or with close ties to it, that tries to help him in some way. There’s also the inevitable (and very well executed) car chase through a major city, and many guns and other hi-tech gadgetry on display throughout each film.
Now, I’m not saying that being formulaic is necessarily a bad thing; on the contrary, I think it’s a key to the Jason Bourne franchise’s success. While the plot of “Jason Bourne” does seem a bit frayed around the edges, so is Jason Bourne himself. Here’s a man worn down by fifteen years of being on the run for reasons he doesn’t fully understand. He’s weary, but he’s determined to end this – on his terms. But he may not get the chance…
I thoroughly enjoyed “Jason Bourne.” It’s every bit as exciting, tense, and taut as its predecessors. And while it may be a bit predictable in places, it still kept me guessing as to its eventual outcome. Excellent entertainment, highly recommended. (4½ Stars ^ 5)
I've also seen all of the Jason Bourne movies and, yeah, I very much enjoyed them as well.
Including this one.
That said, it must be stressed that Ludlum's Jason Bourne character and Matt Damon's version of that same character are NOT cut from the same cloth. That's not surprising since we all know that no movie can capture the intricacies of plot and character that a book can. It's, in fact, unrealistic to assume that films adapted from novels are going to be faithful to the original text.
(Even "The Maltese Falcon," widely recognized as being one of the most faithful adaptations of a novel, isn't completely so.)
The changes in the story are obvious, though not surprising given the different mediums at play in telling it. To begin with, Ludlum's version gets married and the man who "created" him winds up as his ally after realizing the error of his ways. That doesn't happen in the movie versions and there are probably some good reasons for that. Whether there are or not, however, is not a basis for argument because, again, films and novels are different animals altogether.
Okay, now that we've cleared that up, let me say that the film franchise gives viewers - most of whom have probably not read the novels - a cinematic hero that is a deeply conflicted loner. In this latest installment of the franchise. Damon's version of the iconic character is older, more battle-scarred, and - if possible - even more of a loner than he's been in the last two films. There is no indication that he's going to change any time soon because he's suffered too much betrayal and tragedy in his life to ever really trust anyone other than himself. The result: We have an action-oriented character who is not painted as a deep thinker. Because that's true I don't believe it's altogether fair to criticize the narrative for staying true to that character. Damon's version of Bourne is not a schemer, not a plotter, and doesn't have an overwhelming desire to "set things right" in the world. He just wants to make it through another day. As a result, the movie versions are - and should be - action oriented rather than plot oriented. "Jason Bourne" is no exception to that rule and if the action sequences seem over the top and unrealistic my point is that no one should be surprised by that fact. In truth, they should be surprised - and disappointed - if they are not.
Director Paul Greengrass does a nice job of moving what is a long movie along at a fast pace. He is a sure-handed director and that is evident in this movie. The technical crew that worked with him on this film is also first rate as evidenced by the fact that the action sequences reflect a great deal of thought and preparation.
The cast is also excellent. There are some critics who have said that casting Alicia Vikander as the female lead is a bad choice because she appears so young - especially in those scenes with Tommy Lee Jones as the CIA director - but I think that's also unfair. Throughout the movie she is painted as a member of the new, young, impatient and techno savvy cadre of the spy agency. Because of that, I think she's a fine choice for the role.
Damon and Vincent Cassel, are excellent as Bourne and the mysterious killer known only as "The Asset" but I would single out Julia Stiles - reprising her role as Nikki Parsons - for her exceptional work in the film. She doesn't have a lot of screen time but she makes the absolute most of the time she has. Stiles appears older, more weathered in this film. That's in keeping with the fact she is no longer a CIA employee but someone that has decided she can no longer support its goals and lives off the grid as a result. I found her performance to be nicely nuanced.
It comes down to this: "Jason Bourne" is an action flick and there is plenty of that. If you are a fan of the franchise, i think you'll find it as satisfying as I did.