'Jason Bourne' overstuffed with confusing action, plot holes

  • Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) survives an Athens riot while seeking answers to his past in Paul Greengrass' sequel "Jason Bourne."

    Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) survives an Athens riot while seeking answers to his past in Paul Greengrass' sequel "Jason Bourne."

 
 
Updated 7/27/2016 10:43 AM

So, this is how an action movie franchise dies.

To thunderous flaws.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Disorienting, repetitious flashbacks. Confusing, strobe-light-edited fight scenes. Numbing, blurry chase sequences.

Stilted, expository dialogue. Ridiculous, brain-challenged plot holes. Thin, one-dimensional characters.

"Jason Bourne" illustrates what happens when an action series shoots for "bigger and more" fights and chases at the expense of character and plot.

This re-"Bourne" thriller reunites star Matt Damon with director Paul Greengrass (2004's "The Bourne Supremacy" and 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum") for their third project based on the amnesiac assassin created by novelist Robert Ludlum.

(Doug Lin directed Damon in 2002's "Bourne Identity." Jeremy Renner became a Bourne-again killer for Tony Gilroy's weak, 2012 knock-off "The Bourne Legacy.")

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For the past nine years, Bourne has been living off the grid by beating the bejeebers out of burly, muscular Greek guys for prize money.

An old Bourne ally, former CIA operative Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), hacks into secret files that expose the horrific extent of the agency's secret black-ops programs. The files also tell what happened to Bourne's murdered father.

New CIA director Robert Dewey (a craggy Tommy Lee Jones) and his young, ambitious analyst Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) realize that if Parsons releases the files, the impact could be worse than the Edward Snowden leaks.

Dewey dispatches his most ruthless assassin (the casually sinister Vincent Cassel), who goes only by the label "Asset." He sets out to eliminate Parsons as she meets with Bourne to help him fill in the blanks of his memory bank.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) survives an Athens riot while seeking answers to his past in Paul Greengrass' sequel "Jason Bourne."
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) survives an Athens riot while seeking answers to his past in Paul Greengrass' sequel "Jason Bourne." -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Jason Bourne" begins promisingly enough during an Athens riot between protesters and the police, a lengthy, impressionistic sequence that looks like the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention riot on smoked mushrooms.

As Bourne goes bouncing around the globe with no visible means of support (yet he possesses all the tools, weapons, clothing and airline tickets he needs to fulfill plot requirements), Asset is never far away, indiscriminately and gleefully shooting anyone he wants to in foreign countries without ever being arrested.

Riz Ahmed, star of HBO's impressive "The Night Of," nearly rips this movie out of Damon's bruised knuckles as a Steve Jobs-like Silicon Valley tycoon who regrets doing a deal with the devil, in this case, the CIA's Dewey. He wants to go public with his secret CIA connection, but Dewey can't let that happen. (The subplot spurs more intrigue than the main plot.)

This marks the first "Bourne" movie not written by Gilroy, and it shows in the forced, functional dialogue, such as Jones' comical imperatives "Find Lee!," "Find Parsons!," "Get the Berlin team up!," and "Call him!"

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) never runs out of clothes, money, weapons or ammo in Paul Greengrass' action-packed sequel "Jason Bourne."
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) never runs out of clothes, money, weapons or ammo in Paul Greengrass' action-packed sequel "Jason Bourne." -

By the spectacular final chase scene, "Jason Bourne" goes into a sensory overload of loud noises, retina-torturing imagery and an incessantly wound-up score devoid of humanity, dimension or common sense.

At the end, CIA agent Jeffers (Ato Essandoh) wonders to Agent Lee if he can concoct "a narrative that will explain what happened" in this story.

Good luck with that, Jeffers.

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