You go to an action movie to be entertained. At a minimum, you need just enough story to hang your hat on to buy into whatever absurdities are thrown at you so that you can enjoy the ride. The original Bourne trilogy was an incredible bit of structure and excitement, and Matt Damon (The Martian) really owned the role. The follow-on movie, absent Damon, wasn’t particularly great, but it was entertaining. However, this money grab of a sequel was close to unwatchable at times and ultimately unsatisfying.
With this installment, Greengrass (Captain Phillips) not only directed, but co-wrote with his oft-time editor, and first-time writer, Rouse. Where to begin with the mistakes? From the top, bad research made the opening cyber sequences ridiculous as they try to establish the locations and new characters for this flick; not the way you want to kick-off an espionage story. But if you could squint through that, you’d have to muddle through some rather wooden and dubious acting from otherwise great performers. Alicia Vikander (Burnt), in particular, was simply devoid of life, though focused and in control of her actions. She also had a weird and undefinable accent that was some kind of failed experiment. Though Julia Stiles (The Great Gilly Hopkins) returns to get a nice wrap-up of her long running role in this universe, it didn’t have the impact it should have given her arc. On the other hand, Tommy Lee Jones (No Country for Old Men) and Victor Cassel (Child 44) were fairly stock and with little to add to the tale emotionally. Frankly, it just felt like everyone was just going through the motions.
And, speaking of motion, the filming of the fights and driving was almost unwatchable at times. Quick-cuts and hand-held cameras lost a huge portion of the stunt efforts more than adding tension or urgency to the movement. It was hyper-kinetic, often without reason. Clearly they spent a fortune on the action sequences, but we don’t get to really enjoy them due to the camera work and edits.
This is the weakest of the series so far and, though they set it up for more (of course), I’m hoping it just dies its drawn out decline and ends here. I’m sure they’ll resurrect it again in 10 years or so with a reboot, but for now it should be allowed to slumber in peace and pieces.