Jason Bourne (2016)

Action/Adventure Rated PG-13

Jason Bourne mainly exists to perpetuate its own franchise, which will likely happen seeing as this reunites original star Matt Damon and signature director Paul Greengrass. If the movie overcomes its lack of purpose—as well as a clumsy attempt to be timely via a subplot involving Internet privacy—it’s due to two signature set pieces. The first involves a game of cat and mouse in the midst of an Athens riot, in which Greengrass raises the level of difficulty for himself by creating an atmosphere of chaos, and then deftly navigates it via his jittery camera and editing technique. Later, there is an intricately staged meetup sequence in which Bourne is running one con, while the various CIA agents on site are not only trying to thwart him, but also attempting to undermine each other. As this is all narrated via various channels of communication—audio and visual—the sequence becomes a meta consideration of the concept of audience. (Bourne is watching one target, others are watching him, still others are watching those watchers—and we’re watching them all.) As with the Athens section, it’s all so expertly choreographed and edited that it makes similar, signature moments from Brian De Palma, in the likes of Body Double and Blow Out, seem like they’re taking place in slow motion. Damon, it should be noted, is committed as always, grimacing and gray, while solid supporting work is done by Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander, the latter of whom brings a sly stoicism to the part of a young CIA surveillance expert who thinks she can bring Bourne in.