4K Action

'Jason Bourne' 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: Matt Damon's iconic action hero is born to rerun

December 6, 2016Ben MK

Since making his debut as Jason Bourne in 2002's The Bourne Identity, Matt Damon has played a grifter, a cop, a cowboy, a soccer player and an astronaut (twice). Now, after three outings as the memory-impaired super-soldier, Damon is once again teaming with The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass to bring the character to the big screen. And this time, all bets are off.

At least, that's what the film would have you believe at the outset, as we find Jason Bourne biding his time in some remote desert on the other side of the world, now a bare-knuckle brawler who can knock his opponents out cold with a single punch. It doesn't take long, however, for the movie to settle into a much more familiar routine, thanks to Bourne's former ally Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), whose efforts to hack the CIA's mainframe and expose all of the U.S. government's past and present "black operations" puts Bourne back on the agency's radar.

The result is a movie that tries too hard to deliver fan service, when instead, what it's really doing is a disservice to itself. After all, it's impossible to truly buy into the film's purportedly high stakes when mostly everything on-screen is unfolding beat-for-beat in the same manner as we've seen before. Perhaps that's why Greengrass and co-writer Christopher Rouse try to inject some topicality into the script, name-dropping Edward Snowden and interweaving a subplot concerning the CIA's plans to spy on unsuspecting citizens via an ubiquitous Internet app.

Still, none of it does anything to change the fact of the matter, which is that this latest installment in the Bourne series — though serviceable — is often bogged down by the cast's workmanlike performances, while the filmmakers' stubborn adherence to the franchise's formula serves more often as a detriment than not. Make no mistake, it's nice to see Damon reprise the iconic role after a nearly-decade-long hiatus. That being said, Jason Bourne feels like an unnecessarily drawn-out continuation, rather than a triumphant return.

Jason Bourne may be several years removed from the three original Bourne films, but the movie's visual style is undeniably familiar, retaining the series' trademark gritty and handheld visual aesthetic. The film's 4K Ultra HD release also coincides with the 4K debut of the rest of the Bourne franchise, and the results do not disappoint, with ample detail to be found amid environments such as the interiors of CIA offices and exteriors like the streets of Athens and Berlin, while the HDR color palette shines, especially in reproducing the bright lights of Las Vegas. On the audio side, the disc's DTS:X sound mix generates crystal-clear dialogue, while the notes of the score come across with pitch-perfect precision, bolstered by the sounds of gunshots, punches, screeching tires and explosions.

Universal's two-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy and a standard Blu-ray copy of the film, plus the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Bringing Back Bourne (8:15) - The cast and filmmakers talk about Bourne's latest adventure, Paul Greengrass' directing style and Matt Damon's return to the role.
  • Bourne to Fight (18:13) - Three featurettes ("Bare-Knuckle Boxing," "Close Quarters" and "Underground Rumble") that cover Matt Damon's work with boxing trainer Matt Baiamonte and fight coordinator Roger Yuan, as well as provide a behind-the-scenes look at the making of some of the film's fight scenes.
  • The Athens Escape (5:37) - A behind-the-scenes peek at the stunts and camera work involved in the making of the film's big car-and-motorcycle chase.
  • Las Vegas Showdown (14:56) - Two featurettes ("Convention Chaos" and "Shutting Down the Strip") that offer a behind-the-scenes look at how the filmmakers took over the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, and at the vehicular chaos involved in the making of the film's climactic car chase along the Las Vegas strip.

Jason Bourne is available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment as of December 6th, 2016. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English DTS:X, English DTS Headphone:X, Spanish DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1, French DTS 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 3 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on July 29th, 2016.

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