Release Date(s)2016 (December 6, 2016)
Studio(s)Perfect World/Kennedy-Marshall (Universal)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C-
On the run for more than a decade after exposing the CIA’s Operation Blackbriar, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is approached by former agent Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), who’s uncovered new details about Blackbriar’s connection to Bourne’s past, but not before her hacking is detected by the CIA’s Cyber Director, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander). Now, Lee is determined to stop Parsons and bring Bourne in, even as her boss, CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), seems more intent on killing them both before Iron Hand, the CIA’s revolutionary new “black” spying program, goes live. The program, which grants the CIA unlimited access to tech giant Deep Dream’s new global social media platform (think Goggle+ or Facebook), will essentially give the CIA unlimited power to watch everyone, everywhere, all the time... unless Bourne can stop it.
Essentially ignoring the previous entry in this franchise (2012’s The Bourne Legacy), Jason Bourne picks up the action as a direct sequel to The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Damon reprises the role he created here and writer/director Paul Greengrass is back to guide the proceedings too. The result is a taut return to form for the franchise. The legacy cast is engaging as ever (and it’s worth noting that there’s a great cameo by Albert Finney at the start of this film), but the newcomers, including Jones, Vikander and actors Vincent Cassel and Riz Ahmed, really add to the fabric of this series and elevate the material. The story seems as if it could have been credibly lifted from recent headlines, the action pieces are intense, the direction and cinematography are deft and workmanlike, and the film’s editing and score work to keep the tension high right through to the end.
Jason Bourne was shot on both film (35mm and 16mm) and digital and finished to a 2K DI at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. That upsampled presentation is included here in 4K with High Dynamic Range. The image is clean and crisp, with tight, refined and lightly gritty texturing, as well as deep blacks. The film’s color palette is cool by design, but colors are accurate and the HDR pass gives them just an extra measure of nuance and pop. Audio is available in English DTS:X format, along with Spanish 7.1 DTS-HD and French 5.1 DTS. The DTS:X mix delivers a huge soundstage. It’s big and wide, with terrific clarity, atmospherics, and immersion. Panning is smooth, if perhaps just a bit less precise than expected. Subtitle options include English SDH, Spanish, and French.
There are no extras on the 4K disc itself, but the Blu-ray Disc included in the package offers the film in 1080p HD and adds the following bonus content in HD:
- Bringing Back Bourne (8:15)
- Bourne to Fight (3 segments – 18:13 in all)
- The Athens Escape (5:37)
- Las Vegas Showdown (2 segments – 14:56 in all)
This content is unfortunately a bit disappointing; it’s glossy EPK promotional material of the type run between film showings on HBO. Honestly, the whole of it feels like a TV special that was chopped into pieces for inclusion on this disc. You also get a code for a Digital HD copy on a paper insert in the package.
It’s hard to top the original The Bourne Identity (see our review here), but Greengrass and Damon definitely deliver the goods. Jason Bourne is an entertaining spy thriller, with solid action, good new character additions, and a resolution that leaves the series wide open to new and interesting possibilities. Note that this film, the original, and all its sequels (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, and The Bourne Legacy) are available separately in 4K UHD format, or there’s a Bourne: The Ultimate Collection 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray box set that’s exclusive to Best Buy here in the U.S. (containing all five films plus a Blu-ray bonus disc that carries over the previous Best Buy-exclusive features for Ultimatum and Legacy). Recommended.
- Bill Hunt