Bourne Again

Yeah, so that headline is probably going to be used in a few hundred reviews today. So be it. Using a cliche for the review is apropos.

The three previous Bourne movies were big deals, popular among both average and uppity filmgoers, because they were actually thrilling spy thrillers made with virtually no special effects, directed by the auteurs Doug Limon (The Bourne Identity) and Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum), and all written tautly by Tony Gilroy with moral ambiguity and character development. And they starred not just Matt Damon, one of the great actors of his generation, but also a host of brilliant others, from Joan Allen to Albert Finney, from Chris Cooper to David Straithairn. If it weren’t for the success of The Bourne Identity, the gritty reboot of James Bond with Daniel Craig would never have happened the way it did. So, after Damon and Greengrass decided they were done, whoever was chosen to reboot the franchise faced two difficult tasks: Make a movie as good as any in the previous trilogy. Don’t make a movie that feels like a cynical exploitation of goodwill earned by the previous trilogy.

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