Dovetailing the story from The Bourne Ultimatum, the new film begins with Jason Bourne’s appearance in Manhattan outing the CIA’s Treadstone/Operation Outcome unit. Before a Senate committee can unearth info on the genetic experiments they conducted on their agents, head honcho Eric Byer (Edward Norton) orders all agents neutralized (assassinated).
Among the targets is Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a highly skilled operative who requires chemical enhancement to stay in peak killing form.
• Richard: 3/5
• Mark: 3/5
Richard: Mark, why they didn’t call this movie Bourne Again, I’ll never know. Jason Bourne may not make an appearance, but it feels like a movie we’ve seen before — the same shaky camera and frenetic action. The only thing that’s changed is that while there’s a fair amount of CIA superspy gobbledygook, it’s surprisingly light on plot. For a movie about the deepest, darkest workings of secret government agencies the story is really rather simple.
Mark: It’s just another chase movie, although they try to disguise it with pseudoscientific bafflegab delivered at record speed. The blue pill? The green pill? Are we in the Matrix yet? That having been said, it’s a very good chase movie for the first two-thirds, until it descends into very conventional car chases and the like. Superior acting lifts this movie above the run of the mill CIA stuff. Do you think Jeremy Renner was up to the task? Or should we lobby to bring back Matt Damon?
RC: I liked Renner, but I loved Damon in the role. I enjoyed Renner’s performance in The Hurt Locker, but I wonder if he has the stuff to carry a movie on his own. He can run, jump and shoot with the best of them, but I was hoping for more charisma. When he’s not in motion chasing after a bad guy or wrestling a wolf, I found him kind of flat. I was more on side with him in the beginning when he played Cross like a junkie who needed to score. After that he became a bland Bond wannabe.
MB: Copy that, Richard. But it was nice to see Ed Norton working again, and some of the small tense roles handled so well by the cast of well-chosen character actors. I liked the slow build of the first 30 minutes, I thought the editing and crosscutting was masterful, and the shootout set piece in the old house was so well done I felt I was right there in that house with the actors. But what’s with bringing in the hit man at the end of the movie? How many times have we seen that cliché? Or the extended car chase — a non-thrilla in Manila? And don’t even get me started on the ending!
RC: The last 30 seconds felt more like a door slamming shut than an ending.
MB: You know what they say: When a door slams shut, a window opens onto a sequel.