Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jason Bourne 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson
Matt Damon (Bourne Franchise, The Martian) is back and this time it’s personal in Jason Bourne, the action-packed fifth installment of the blockbuster franchise. Paul Greengrass, the director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum returns for the next chapter of Universal Pictures’ Bourne franchise, which finds the CIA’s most lethal operative drawn out of the shadows. Damon is joined by Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl), Vincent Cassel (Black Swan, Irreversible) and Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger, No Country for Old Men), while Julia Stiles (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) reprises her role in the series.Nearly a decade since fans last saw the former operative, the explosive return brings Jason Bourne into a whole new era, revealing key secrets about Bourne’s origins to a new generation. The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD include commentary from the cast, filmmakers, stunt performers and fight coordinators, plus behind-the-scenes features that take viewers inside the making of the film’s intense stunt choreography and one of the wildest car chases in Bourne history.
Film (4 out of 5 stars)
A decade after exposing the plans of Operations Treadstone and Blackbriar, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is forced to emerge from hiding to confront another conspiracy. In the last decade, Bourne has been trying to keep of the grid and makes a living by participating in underground fights. Having finally regained his memories of his past, Bourne is still not at peace. If anything, he is even more bitter and distant than before. That changes when his one and only remaining friend Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) tracks him down to share with him new information about his father's involvement in the Treadstone project and Bourne's own recruitment into the program.

The CIA led by Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) of course does not want that information to be be revealed and he sends a hit team to kill all loose ends including Bourne. Dewey is old school but not everyone in the CIA agrees with his methods, including Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) who represents the modern equivalent as the head of the cyber ops division. Their differing points of view cause a divergence between them that leads Heather to begin to try to help Bourne who is outnumbered and outgunned. To make matters worse, Dewey has even dispatched the Asset (Vincent Cassel) who was trained like Bourne and has a personal grudge against him.

While the hunt for Bourne continues, Dewey has other issues to deal with including the squirrelly CEO of a social media empire named Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed) who is having second thoughts about allowing government surveillance access to their flagship product Deep Dream. Despite being bankrolled by Dewey, on the even of it's launch, Kalloor is having second thoughts about their arrangement and their scheduled upcoming joint convention where they are set to debate about privacy rights. Bourne being Bourne, will of course find himself involved in everything as he follows the threads leading to Dewey with the Asset hot on his trail.

Jason Bourne is an excellent followup to the fantastic earlier movies. It maintains the series' nonstop action, but updates it for a post-Snowden world where Bourne (and really all of us) must deal with the all pervasive surveillance that surrounds us. Matt Damon easily steps back into Bourne's shoes and makes it seem like we haven't waited twelve years for this installment. Director Paul Greengrass has also brought back his flair for kinetic action and well-staged set pieces. One of the things that I love about this series is how they continue the story and each movie adds a little more to the foundation each time. The past isn't forgotten or discarded, but instead is used to develop plot points and character motivations that really benefit the movie and the character of Jason Bourne who spent three movies trying to recover his memory of who he was. While the plot this time may not be as intricate as the earlier ones, it's still a very enjoyable movie and I hope we won't have to wait another twelve years to get another one.
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
4K Ultra HD (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)      Blu-ray (5 out of 5 stars)
Jason Bourne offers two excellent versions in this set. The video transfer for the Blu-ray is a top notch effort but the 4K Ultra HD version is even better but it's not quite at the demo level for UHD as some other movies. Both offer distinct colors and textures, but the UHD version has better detail and the black levels are more dark and solid than the Blu-ray which really makes a difference in the Bourne movies which are often in darkness. 
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The DTS: X track found on both version is excellent as well. Both versions have the same audio options with the once exception of an English Descriptive Video Service track that can only be found on the Blu-ray version. The lossless DTS: X mix offers an immersive audio experience that balances the dialogue, score, and effects very well. There's a lot of atmosphere delivered by the surround channels and the directionality of the action was accurate and impressive. 
Extras (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
On the surface, it doesn't look like this release offers a lot of extras, but a bunch of smaller featurettes have been bundled together (they can be played all together or separately). They are all in HD.

Bringing Back Bourne - An eight minutes look behind-the-scenes with comments from those in front of the camera - Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, and Tommy Lee Jones and those behind the camera, Director Paul Greengrass, Producers Frank Marshall, and Gregory Goodman. they talk about why there was a delay and what made them decide that now was the time to bring Bourne back. 
Bourne to Fight - This is eighteen minutes long but this is actually three different featurettes that have been combined together. They include "Bare Knuckle Boxing," "Close Quarters," and "Underground Rumble."
The Athens Escape - This is a look at the set up and execution of the Athens action setpiece involving the motorcycle chase.  
Las Vegas Showdown - This is a fifteen minute look into the filming and set up for the movie's finale set in Las Vegas. The behind the scenes look is broken into two parts: one focused on "Convention Chaos," and the other focused on the filming on the Las Vegas strip in "Shutting Down the Strip."
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
While Jason Bourne isn't quite as good as the earlier entries, it is still a lot of fun and it was great to get a new installment in the series. The cast are all excellent in their roles and this 4K Ultra HD set contains fantastic video and audio presentations. The 4K UHD version is the best one, but if you don't have a 4K player the Blu-ray is a close second.

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