By Sean Tuohy
Editor’s note: Sean Tuohy loves actions movies. They are just built into who he is. When they are done well, there’s no one that giggles with glee more than the Tuohy Monster. When he hates a movie, or feels like a movie was lazily put together, I get a string of scathing emails. As you read this essay I cobbled together from a recent thread, imagine Sean foaming at the mouth and shaking his fist.—Daniel Ford
I saw “Jason Bourne” the other night.
*rolls eyes* *shakes head*
The story was weak and forced. The dialogue was bland and just used to move the story along. The actors seemed bored. Tommy Lee Jones was just playing himself. Matt Damon was good, but there was no growth. It was a big let down from the first three, which were smart and featured great character growth. Apparently, this movie’s editor was not around either. Scenes started too late or ran too long.
I get that the first three films were so well done that it would be hard to be that good again. The thing is that the first three films are all about reaction. How does a man with no memory of himself react to learning he carries all these deadly skills? The second asked, how does a man react when you take away his life? The third, how does a man react when he has nothing left and has been pushed too far?
In this film, it was, "let’s see him hit people.” Bourne is shown to be some kind of bare-knuckle boxer living off the grid. Why? Because we can see him hit someone really hard. In the last film, he was given a chance to leave his life behind him and start anew. Why not have him being a farmer or something nonviolent? This way when he is pulled back into the world of violence there is a struggle. Instead, we just see a bland and broken character go chasing someone because of some half-assed reason.
Bourne is not meant to be a fighter. He is a trained killer and is very deadly but he wants no part of that life. He doesn't like that part of himself. That is what the other three films were showing us. In “Jason Bourne,” he fights because he can. Again, he's a useful man and could get a job doing anything in any part of the world, but instead they strip away the human and just make it so he simply fights.
"Jason, your father something, something, something."
"Oh no. I must punch people."
There is barely any backstory given to any of the characters. The only one to get a backstory, and one of the few characters that I wished was shown more, was The Asset, a cold-blooded killer that Bourne unwittingly sold out years before. Tommy Lee Jones’s character is so paper-thin. He is the head of the CIA and is cold hearted. I've seen that before. We all have seen it. Give him something else. Make him lovable so when it turns out he’s bad, it hits us harder. Or make him a woman who is lovable. Just give me something else. I've seen this movie.
This is the film; this what they give us now instead of crafting a story around complex human beings. We had a man who struggled to understand himself and his deadly skills, and now we have a guy who has nightmares and punches people.