Jason Bourne 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Julia Stiles
  • Director: Paul Greengrass
  • Format: 4K
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (DTS:X Master Audio), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (DTS:X Master Audio), Spanish (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1), Spanish (DTS:X Master Audio)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: December 6, 2016
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018

        After to an unsuccessful attempt at making a Jason Bourne film without Matt Damon or its title character, the franchise has returned to business as usual, even if it just feels like a collection of deleted scenes from the original trilogy. Director Paul Greengrass also returns to the franchise in order to provide the same nausea-inducing shaky camera work that he used in the first two sequels, along with a barely significant storyline making transparent modern-day commentary on issues of online privacy. None of this really matters, however, because the film is more interested in endless chase scenes than it is the narrative.

        We join Jason Bourne (Damon) punishing himself for past indiscretions by enduring endless bouts of underground boxing in Greece. When former CIA employee Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) hacks into the government mainframe, she discovers a secret folder about Bourne’s background with the company, as well as evidence that a similar program has been started back up. Taking this information to Bourne, Nicky unintentionally brings the attention of the intelligence community back on the former operative who has taken extreme measures to remain hidden.

        In charge of this investigation in Langley is the head of the Cyber Ops Division, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander with an often uncomfortably forced American accent). Although Lee appears to be an advocate for reasoning with Bourne, the director of the CIA (Tommy Lee Jones) secretly undermines her by siccing another one of his trained assassins (Vincent Cassel) on the operation, with the sole purpose of eliminating Bourne altogether. The primary reason for getting rid of him is to avoid allowing the former operative to discover a conspiracy by the government to use a social media platform (clearly modeled after Facebook) in order to spy on the American public.
        While the integration of online privacy issues into the world of Jason Bourne updates the film’s relevance, it often feels forced in a movie that is otherwise occupied with more secrets in the title character’s background. At this point, one can only hope that all of the secrets in Bourne’s past have been revealed. But even with these two competing storylines, Jason Bourne ultimately feels light on reasons for existing. There is little else for Bourne to do but follow and be followed, with the screenplay giving the main character less than 50 lines in the entire two-hour run-time.

Even the action scenes begin to feel redundant. There are only so many times we can see Jason Bourne being followed with jerky camera movement and tense musical scores before it becomes clear that style is over-riding substance. It would be far more endurable if the style were not so unpleasant, including camera work which makes discerning the action more difficult than rewarding. Even an impressively spectacle-driven climactic car chase on the Las Vegas strip isn’t enough to save the film from feeling like a watered down repeat.

        The 4K Ultra HD release for Jason Bourne has its strengths, but it also makes the film’s weaknesses somewhat more apparent. The visuals are just not than impressive, though I admit to having little objectivity when it comes to the unnecessary shaky camera work and heavy use of a zoom lens within Greengrass films. And there just isn't enough color in the photography to warrant the upgrade, save the final showdown in Vegas.  What does feel greatly enhanced is the immersive audio, as this often has more impact that the disorienting visuals. Even if I often had trouble telling what was happening, at least it sounded cool.

        This release also comes with a Digital HD copy, as well as a Blu-ray disc, which includes the film’s special features. There is a three-part feature about the fight training, choreography, and its relevance to the narrative. There are also several featurettes on the film’s chase scenes, including the one taking place in Athens and the one shot on the Las Vegas strip. The last extra is a generic featurette which discusses the elements of the film, focusing primarily on the return of Damon and Greengrass.

Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance:  5/10
Special Features: 6.5/10

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