The Bourne series is based off of a book of the same name, the first piece of the trilogy featuring Matt Damon. The profitable franchise expanded its scope and added a new operative, Aaron Cross, played by southpaw Jeremy Renner. The sequence of events for the latest Bourne movie takes place during the previous Bourne movies, if I was following the story correctly.
Aaron Cross is one of several operatives that are out in the field, taking medication to continue to be physically and intellectually superior to all others. Cross is in the wilderness when the whole operation back in the States begins to go nuclear, and everything is being shut down, meaning they are killing all the evidence, operatives included. Of course, Cross gets away, but realises he needs his meds to continue to survive or he will certainly be killed. Enter Dr Marta Shearing, played wonderfully by Rachel Weisz. Cross remembers her at the lab and seeks her out, only to find her embroiled in a serious situation with a co-worker shooting everyone in the lab except her. Given the greater cleansing occurring, Shearing is set to also be eliminated, but Cross swoops in at the last second, saving her and concisely telling her it’s either his side or death.
The two embark on an adventure to get Cross the medicine he needs, flying to Manila. The varying scenes in Manila are beautiful set pieces, bringing the action to a subtle high with various chases and shootouts. Shearing manages to get Cross what he needs, but the agency sends another operative after Cross and Shearing, creating a wonderful series of action sequences that are supposed to eclipse those in the first Bourne movies.
During the action sequences with Cross and Shearing, the offset scenes in offices with Edward Norton intensify the tension that is occurring far away from them. While the story continues onward, there are slight inclusions of the larger story with Jason Bourne, as if to tie the series back together, but created more confusion than anything for those not familiar with series, such as myself.
For the most part, the movie was passably entertaining. I never felt truly compelled by Cross’ story, though Renner was more than believable as a pitiable character prior to his inclusion in the program. Shearing was your typical scientist, pretending to focus on the science and not the consequences of her actions. Neither are terribly interesting, but the chemistry between the two main characters makes the story worth watching. Renner and Weisz are fantastic together, Norton plays the usual stuffed shirt, with much of the previous Bourne cast in the wings. I have never found the Bourne stories all that interesting and am sad to say that this followed that pattern. I had wanted to give the franchise a second chance with a new leading man, but it was the same idea, with nothing to make me want to come back.