A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jason Bourne is the fifth movie in the Bourne series, marking the return of original star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (both took the fourth film off). Violence is the main issue, with lots of guns and shooting, brutal hand-to-hand fights, and more. Some wounds and scars are shown, but there's not much blood. There are wild car chases, riots, explosions, fire, and falls from high places. Several characters die. Language is infrequent but strong and includes "s--t" and "bitch." Teens may be eager to see this high-profile actioner, but it's arguably the worst in the series, with most of the participants seeming bored and uncommitted.
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What's the story?
In JASON BOURNE, the titlular hero (Matt Damon) has been off the grid for years, surviving through underground fighting. His old colleague, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), discovers a list of CIA Black Ops, which includes information about Bourne's father, as well as details about a new program. Bourne starts investigating, bringing himself to the attention of the CIA. Agent Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) wants Bourne brought in, but CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) -- who's cooking up a sinister plan with the help of a giant social network called Deep Dream -- wants Bourne gone. Meanwhile, an assassin with links to Bourne's past, simply referred to as "Asset" (Vincent Cassel), is on his trail. Can Bourne escape with his life?
Is it any good?
After the Jeremy Renner reboot The Bourne Legacy, star Damon and director Paul Greengrass return for this fifth entry; but you have to wonder, why did they even bother, when everyone looks bored? In earlier movies, Damon gave commanding physical performances, using his eyes and expression to take in his surroundings and calculate his next move. But in Jason Bourne, both the story and his motivations are more muddled -- is he seeking revenge, to shut down the CIA's illicit programs, or both? -- and Bourne is much harder to get behind.
Damon seems to be going through the motions, the other actors seem equally lost or bored, and behind it all, Greengrass turns in some of his sloppiest work. In the excellent The Bourne Ultimatum, Greengrass took care in establishing the physical surroundings of each action sequence. Here, the action consists mainly of chases, hurtling headlong into unknown territory, and the director's lurching, shaking camera leaves everything an indecipherable, gnarled mess.
Talk to your kids about ...
The movie brings up the conflict between privacy and security. How much privacy would you be willing to give up to attain a measure of security? What's the argument on each side?
What is Bourne's motivation? What's the end result of this? What does revenge accomplish?
What is Bourne's appeal? Is the fact that he's such a loner part of it? What is it like being alone?
How does this movie compare to the previous films in the series? To the books?
- In theaters: July 29, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: December 6, 2016
- Cast: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones
- Director: Paul Greengrass
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 123 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and action, and brief strong language
- Last updated: January 9, 2020
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