I can't imagine a lot of backstory is required for the Bourne series. If someone has skipped the previous four and jumped right into this latest (and fifth) instalment, they've made their choice and shouldn't be looking to reviews to fill in the monumental gaps in plot, character development, and the like. This review clearly isn't for that person. That person shouldn't be seeing movies so recklessly. They should in fact check themselves before they inevitably wreck themselves.
We are welcomed back into the Bourne Cinematic Universe by finding out that Jason Bourne (Matt Damon obviously) has been surviving by beating the shit out of dudes in some sort of underground fighting circuit. Whether he immediately KO's his opponent in one punch or lets the guy get the upper-hand for a few minutes until he inevitably KO's his opponent in one punch, the point here is that you do not fuck with Jason Bourne. Much like Wu-Tang Clan in this regard, Jason Bourne ain't nothin' to fuck wit. Cut to Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) hacking into the super-ultra-secure CIA and stealing sensitive information about various secret programs. Treadstone and Blackbriar make the list, being the two programs that were dealt with in the original trilogy. Iron Hand is the newest "more improved" version of the same Bourne-creating government program. Admittedly, I don't know if Operation Outcome (Bourne Legacy) is mentioned, but I don't think it matters whatsoever. Point is, Nicky is stealing information with no motive as far as I can remember. She then finds Bourne and gets him a USB Stick with all the downloaded sensitive information before dying in the middle of the street. Another Bourne-esque (if I can use such a term) agent kills her when he misses his shot on Bourne. Her death is oddly reminiscent of how Franka Potente was offed in the Bourne Supremacy. Little mind was paid to it and the audience is quick to forget that she was a player in the series whatsoever. I need not mention the newest Bourne-esque asset again because despite Vincent Cassel being a fantastic actor, it doesn't matter.
Replacing the previous government stooges, we get Tommy Lee Jones (of Under Siege fame if you've been living under a rock or decided it was prudent to see this fifth Bourne movie first) and Alicia Vikander (who was the robot in Ex-Machina I think). I'm going to tackle two points near the end of the film simultaneously as both characters suffer from the same motivation. It appears that regardless of whatever else is going on, both want to control Bourne and failing that, they both want to end him. You'd think they didn't read the fucking sensitive information Parsons stole, because I'm sure it was mentioned there as well as not even two paragraphs ago I mentioned that you don't fuck with Bourne. A hardly touched-upon side story is the motivation for why Vikander's character initially helps Bourne and wants to get Jones out of the picture. I assume an "out with the old, in with the new" mentality or some such shit. Regardless, both fail. Bourne continues to make a complete mockery of any government program pitted against him and the end of the movie sees him get away. Again. I think it's a "I've got the brass balls to bring this hooligan down" mentality that all the antagonists have shared in the Bourne movies, and its been their downfall every single time. Come to think of it, there's no happy ending for any of the characters unless you set the bar for happiness particularly low and consider Bourne continuing to be on the run "happy". Clearly an afterthought in this review and in the film, I don't even need to mention the technology side story. It's stupid and pointless. The already lacklustre story wouldn't suffer if it were removed and replaced by Jason Bourne running some more.
Aside from the plot being amalgamated from various plot points in other Bourne movies, we are reintroduced to Paul Greengrass' atrocious "shaky cam" direction style. I don't know what the mentality is here, but all action sequences are filmed in such a way that the audience is led to believe the entire camera crew suffers from Parkinson's. That's not meant to be a dig toward Parkinson's either. Car chase scenes, fight scenes, running scenes all have obnoxious camerawork and it gets dizzying rather quickly. Maybe I didn't notice it in Bourne Supremacy or Bourne Ultimatum (both having Greengrass involved) but even reading information on a computer screen is treated to the "shaky cam" film style in this latest outing. Good luck reading anything on-screen when the goddamned camera crew is standing on an active fault line. Honestly, it kind of ruined the film for me.
Having just this week watched the original trilogy again and watching Bourne Legacy for the first time, I can safely say that this latest entry into the Bourne Cinematic Universe didn't need to exist. I don't know why I didn't watch Bourne Legacy until this week, truthfully. It was a good movie and I felt that it did more for the series as a whole than Jason Bourne did. I think the rehashing of old plot devices didn't necessarily work against the film this time, but it did nothing to add to the series. I think the original trilogy and fourth Legacy film stand well on their own and there should be serious thought and evaluation done by the powers that be before another Bourne film with Jason Bourne is pursued. Sadly, I expected more from Jason Bourne and was let down. On the plus side, it appears a follow-up to Bourne Legacy is in the works. I read that Justin Lin is involved income capacity and Tony Gilroy (worked on all five of the other Bourne films) is not involved whatsoever. I'm not holding my breath but am nonetheless excited. Jason Bourne didn't kill my excitement for the series just yet. As a final thought, did anyone tally the number of words Jason Bourne spoke in this latest film? I'd be surprised if it was a hundred.