Director: Tony Gilroy
It’s been said that there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes. However, there is a third thing. If there’s a popular Hollywood franchise, then no matter what happens, people will always try and make sure it keeps continuing. So even though Matt Damon bowed out of the “Bourne” series of thrillers after the third film, there have been some enterprising scriptwriters on hand to ensure that the series continues.
Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner, who has had a particularly good year in the ‘starring’ stakes, yet has not been totally accepted as an action star by virtue of not being allowed to appear in “The Expendables”) is a member of Operation Outcome, a shady government program that uses chemicals to enhance his abilities. When the events of the previous Bourne films come to light, it decides that all agents treated under this program must be eliminated. Unsurprisingly Cross finds this situation highly disagreeable. Taking program doctor Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) in tow, he travels to Manila to find the source of the chemicals he is taking whilst trying to avoid unpleasant side effects, such as being killed.
There was certain intelligence to the previous Bourne films (especially thanks to director Paul Greengrass’ almost documentary air to some moments) and in many ways the films defined the template for modern action movies by mixing the fantastical with a vein of realism. This reboot (which, for all intents and purposes, is exactly what this movie is) shows that Gilroy is certainly competent and the action sequences – of which there are plenty – are done well. But it feels much more of a by-the-numbers affair than the previous installments, lacking the air of unease and genuine surprise that made them often compelling. Renner and Weisz try hard but their chemistry seems forced at points and – while it provides an action packed night at the cinema – it does end up as rather forgettable.
“Stolen” – Nicholas Cage finds that his mortgage needs paying for another year as he plays an ex-con who must rescue his kidnapped daughter.
“Purge” – Powerful Finnish/Estonian co-production based on Sofi Oksanen’s best-selling novel.
“ParaNorman” – 3D fun in an animation about a boy who must deal with ghost, ghouls and zombies.