SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to content, movies like “Jason Bourne” can be hard to predict.
Throughout the series, chapters like “The Bourne Identity” and “Bourne Ultimatum” have flirted with the sexiness category, and most entries have managed to sneak in a few words their parents wish they hadn’t. However, with the exception of maybe action-violence, there are no content advisories that define the franchise. Bourne isn’t James Bond when it comes leading ladies, and he certainly isn’t John McClane when it comes to catchphrases.
This might leave some parents wondering, is “Jason Bourne” an okay movie for kids? Obviously, we can’t give a blanket answer that question, but we can offer a spoiler-free overview of what to expect and a not-to-be-taken-too-seriously age recommendation.
Like always, let’s break it down by category:
There’s almost nothing in “Jason Bourne” that crosses any sexiness lines. I would say nothing, but there are a few scenes where Matt Damon fights shirtless, and if you’re worried about your teenager staring longingly at a set of abs, this movie goes too far. Also, if you’re like me and you still haven’t started that couch-to-5k training program you keep telling yourself starts tomorrow no matter what, shirtless Damon might evoke an unsettling feeling of jealousy.
As far as the traditional violations go however, there’s not much to talk about. There’s no love story, no seedy backdrops or even revealing camera angles. In short, nothing in the sexiness category contributed to the PG-13 rating.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Bourne movie, but based on my definitely questionable memory, I’d say “Jason Bourne” has the cleanest language of the series. With maybe two exceptions, the cast pulls from a list of minor offenses, like the darn word and other religious references.
As for the exceptions, they’re still not what I would call in-your-face potty mouth moments, and they’re not words that would’ve forced “Jason Bourne” out of a PG rating.
If anything, it’s the political speak younger audiences might find most offensive. It will be difficult for anyone under the age of 13 to follow the story, and as a result it’s likely kids will write-off this latest Bourne adventure as boring.
It will probably come as no surprise that “Jason Bourne” earns its PG-13 badge because of kicks, jabs and bullet holes. When the main characters aren’t hacking computers, or chatting about psychological profiles, they’re mostly trying to kill each other by any means available.
Luckily, “Jason Bourne” isn’t really looking for gross-out sequences or gratuitous blood baths, but there’s also no question that some audience members will find the frequent and realistic murder attempts unsettling. Even when glass isn’t breaking and people aren’t being strangled, there’s references to off-screen violence and torture.
If we were laying out a bar chart here, there would be one long Freedom tower for violence and then two tiny blocks for language and sexiness. That said, the violence in “Jason Bourne” doesn’t exceed anything we’ve seen in the previous Bourne entries, so if you’re familiar with the franchise, you should have a good idea of what to expect when it comes to the number of knuckle sandwiches.
Overall, “Jason Bourne” earns its PG-13 rating, and I’m going to go with the MPAA on this one and give a general age recommendation of 13 and older for this latest installment.