I am probably not the best source for Bourne knowledge. I didn’t read all the books. I didn’t see the third movie. I don’t have a strong attachment to Matt Damon as the spy/assassin. “It’s Damon, or no one!” is not something you’ll find me shouting. I mostly just enjoy them as watchable action movies with moderately believable plots. It’s nice when an action movie tries to give you more than just gun fights and car crashes …but sometimes, that’s all they’re really good for.
In the most current installment of Bourne – The Bourne Legacy, Jeremy Renner takes over for Matt Damon as the lead character. He’s the new genius spy/assassin to root for. It seemed odd to me that rather than hand the franchise over to someone younger than Damon, they went more laterally. Which isn’t to say it’s a bad thing. Jeremy Renner has certainly earned his street cred. People like him. He was great in The Hurt Locker. He was a good bad guy in SWAT, and he even made the horrendous Dahmer almost tolerable. He’s got the chops – just not enough to make this movie good.
The story picks up with our new spy/assassin headed to a remote “spies only” mountain location somewhere very cold. Snow everywhere, jagged cliffs, icy water. Does he go around it like normal people? Absolutely not. He free solo climbs straight over that mountain, fighting off wolves the entire way …and he has a beard. Yeah, the guy’s tough. Wolf tough. Only, he’s not just huffing his way over the hill unassisted. He keeps stopping to take little green and blue pills.
Do you remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer crammed a blue crayon up his nose and it made him really smart? (Editor’s Note: Don’t send Dave any e-mails, Simpsons nerds.) Well, imagine if he had to keep taking crayons to stay smart, and the crayon supply was dwindling. Aaron Cross (Renner, our hero spy/assassin) was a less than bright soldier before he was accepted into the program (they made him be from Reno, where I’m from, which is frustrating. “We need this character to be dumb” “…how’s about he’s from Reno?” Jerks) so they give him and the other spies/assassins pills to magically alter their mitochondria and chromosomes and make them smarter, stronger, and faster. However, the program is being shut down thanks to Edward Norton’s character. So, Cross and a genius doctor who helped create the drugs, played by Rachel Weisz (she’s good), must elude them, get the drugs, and stay alive. If that interests you, you may enjoy this film.
What I liked about the movie is that there is a lot of action. The actors are good. There’s one of the greatest wolf fights ever. And still, it just falls flat. They try to use plenty of big words and spy terminology, but it still ends up feeling ridiculous. They take their time to set it up. They develop Aaron Cross very well, but after a while, you just stop caring. The motorcycle chase is one of the lamest things I can remember. The action toward the end gets tiresome, and the movie just kind of runs out of steam.
Rating: 2 ex-presidents