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Jul 29, 2016
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We've seen two of our sports heroes retire this year. Kobe Bryant gave us a 60-point swan song that best encapsulates his 20 unforgettable seasons of playing basketball—shoot, shoot some more, hit the go-ahead basket, and revel in the adulation. On the other hand, there's Tim Duncan who quietly announced his retirement during the off-season. No farewell tour, no theatrical final game, very understated, and of course—very Tim Duncan. It's sad to see them go even if we all agree that it was just about the right time for them to retire. But wouldn't you want to see them do it again at least one more time? Wouldn't you want to see Kobe hit a game-winner again or see another Duncan fist pump after bank shot?


Matt Damon, now already 45 years old, seems just a few
years away from being a member of
The Expendables

That's what everyone thought they wanted when one of our favorite action heroes, Jason Bourne, came out of retirement to do a fifth Bourne movie to add to the successful franchise. Matt Damon seemingly handed over the reins of the series to Jeremy Renner when he refused to reprise the role for The Bourne Legacy. But now he's back as the American super-spy that he made famous and he's reunited with director Paul Greengrass, a frequent Bourne-collaborator.

We last saw Damon as Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum. Ultimatum ended with a terrific scene that would signify the conclusion of Jason Bourne's story. Lying face down on the river and seemingly dead after being a shot, he suddenly moves and swims to safety. Parang yung ipis na inapakan mo na akala mo patay na pero biglang gumalaw. Mahirap talagang patayin tong si Jason Bourne. Which would suggest that he's going to be able to lead a life free from the troubles of his checkered past. Like Michael Jordan hitting that jump shot over Byron Russell, it was the perfect ending to a great story.

But sadly, like an athlete that stayed on for one season too long, it seems like Matt Damon should have retired the role of Jason Bourne. The new Bourne movie which is conveniently entitled Jason Bourne (because there are only so many words you can attach to "Bourne" before you run out of ideas) doesn't deviate too much from the previous entries to the franchise and that's sadly a missed opportunity.

The movie finds an incognito Bourne on the Greek-Algerian border. He's a modern day gladiator engaging in fistfights with Russian and Serbian mercenaries for money. Hey, if you're good at kicking ass at least make some money out of it, right? CIA operative Nikki Parsons (Julia Stiles), the other remnant from the original trilogy, finds Jason and tells him something about his past that debunks everything that Bourne has been led to believe all of his adult-life. The CIA finds out that Bourne is still alive and this results in a wild-goose chase across different countries. Stop me if you've heard this before.

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Probably one of the worst situations to be in: Jason Bourne fast
approaching with the intent to hurt you in ways unimaginable

Newcomers to the franchise will find it hard to appreciate the story of Jason Bourne because the movie doesn't take the time to develop the character even further. Instead it simply relies on what audiences already know so far about a character that came out 14 years ago.

The character is that of a brooding man, haunted by the things he's done in the past as well as the things he doesn't know about himself. In this movie, just like the ones before it, Matt Damon barely says anything. He has more or less 39 lines of dialogue (yes, binilang ko talaga, bored ako e) and although that may have worked in the past because Bourne is basically a mystery, it doesn't work now when we already know so much about him. It would have been nice to see him sit down, talk to someone, and process all this new information about his past. He could've helped us discover something new about a character that we already think we know.

Instead what we get is Jason Bourne with his head down, sneakily running around the city and having gun fights every now and then when he gets cornered by those who are after him. So basically just doing what he's been doing since the first film. While the Bourne series did revolutionize the action genre, it hasn't evolved since and this latest entry doesn't have anything to offer that we haven't seen in other action movies in recent years. While the staple action and chase scenes are still there, they no longer seem special.

Where the movie fails the most is the narrative. Having already concluded the story of Jason Bourne in the first trilogy, they could have gone anywhere they wanted with this one. Instead they chose to just rehash the old Bourne formula. They even brought back that jumpy camerawork from the previous films that may induce nausea for those less accustomed to it. So kung hindi ka pa nakanuod ng Bourne noon, magbaon ka ng Bonamine sa sinehan.

Bourne is once again being chased by another CIA operative who has his own motivations for putting Bourne down. And in what is supposedly the big twist in the movie, it is revealed that Bourne also has good motivation to gun his main foil down as well. Although these motivations prove to be flimsy and contrived once revealed. They have legitimate reasons to hate one another but it never really feels that it matters in the whole scheme of things and the movie doesn't bother to highlight it.

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Don't you feel bad for the guy supporting the actor's back? He literally has
to keep his nose on someone's ass until they finish the scene. Ilang ulit
kaya sinadya ni Matt Damon magkamali para mang-asar lang?

The problem with the movie Jason Bourne is that it all feels redundant. That it's a story that was not necessarily to tell in the first place. But as with anything in Hollywood that makes a considerable amount of money for all those involved, there will probably be another entry to the Bourne franchise. Whether that involves Matt Damon is yet to be seen. Hopefully they go in another direction; otherwise we wouldn't bother seeing Bourne again. 

6/10. It's just same story with different characters that you can call it the The Bourne Redundancy instead. Jason Bourne's return from retirement feels more like Michael Jordan with the Wizards rather than His Airness' comeback with the Bulls.


Rey de la Cruz Jr. likes talking about films as much as he likes watching them. He runs www.reyview.org, a site that provides Filipino moviegoers with reviews written in a voice that is uniquely Pinoy.

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