MOVIE REVIEW: Matt Damon in top form for Jason Bourne return
IT HAS been nine years since movie-goers last saw Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, arguably his most famous film character, up on the big screen.
So can the Oscar winner, now 45, still cut it as the rogue super assassin? And can the franchise adapt to a new digital age?
The answer to both of those questions is a resounding yes.
Damon and director Paul Greengrass didn't take their return to the Bourne franchise, which turned Damon into a bankable action star back in 2002, lightly.
After all, Bourne's story could have been left well alone after he swam off into the shadows at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum.
But the idea that the emotionally, mentally and physically scarred man lived happily ever after just doesn't make sense, and that's where this new film, simple titled Jason Bourne, starts.
Bourne, who seems to have recovered from the amnesia he suffered after taking part in a black-ops CIA experiment called Treadstone, is still haunted by those he killed.
He's seen living off the grid, scratching out a living through illegal street fights, until his friend and former accomplice Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) reaches out with new information about Treadstone and the work of Bourne's father Richard Webb.
Their meeting kicks off two hours of relentless action. Much has been made of how few lines Damon has in this film, but pursuits, fights and car chases are what fans expect from a Bourne film and Greengrass delivers all of that in spades.
Alicia Vikander is an excellent addition to the cast as the young, ambitious CIA agent Heather Lee, who's on the forefront of the new threat of cyber warfare.
She's able to cut off or anticipate Bourne's next move from half a world away by hacking into smartphones, CCTV and even police systems.
It's interesting to see Bourne grapple with this new adversary and Lee's true intentions are unclear until the end of the film.
Thanks to his background as a documentary filmmaker, Greengrass puts you right in the thick of the action everywhere - from a riot in Athens to a car chase in Las Vegas.
This film rivals any other in the spy thriller series.
Here's hoping it's not the last we see of Bourne.
Stars: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Verdict: 4/5 stars