Ranking Every Film I Saw In 2016, #33: Jason Bourne

It seemed so fun on paper: Matt Damon, back playing the titular hero again after a nine-year layoff, Paul Greengrass again behind the camera, and after such a long break, surely a new world of stories to tell. Plus, throwing in pros like Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander as new agents to hunt down Bourne seemed exactly the sort of shot-in-the-arm a rebooting franchise wants (when you're doing a movie about tracking someone down, getting the guy who tracked down Harrison Ford in The Fugitive seems the absolute best choice). But, as we keep finding out from these Netflix reunions: sometimes the idea of getting the whole band back together is a lot more fun than the execution.

Jason Bourne is a mess. I can't tell you a single thing about the plot other than the bits that were obvious from the moment they showed up on screen (a word to filmmakers: any time you introduce a piece of innovative technology but don't immediately use it, the audience is not going to be shocked later when someone says “hey! We were using this long-distance microphone you saw the lead character pick up and study the whole time! Surprise!”)

The magic of Bourne was always that it had a tight, clever script from brilliant screenwriter Tony Gilroy, which Greengrass would then just tear up as he toured the globe, shooting scenes all over the place and constantly changing everything. But this time, without the original framework Gilroy laid down, it's excruciatingly obvious that Greengrass is working without a net. No amount of shaky cam could keep the seams from showing on this mess.