There’s a lot to admire in the fourth installment of the Bourne franchise, but then again, there’s a lot that’s left to be desired. The new film, which sees Jeremy Renner taking over the lead role played by Matt Damon in the original trilogy, begins where the climax left off in 2007?s The Bourne Ultimatum. It all makes perfect sense for the first half hour or so. And then things get muddled. Very muddled. So muddled that you wonder why they didn’t just split the movie into two separate halves as studios are so wont to do these days.
Aaron Cross (Renner) is scouted by CIA manager Eric Byer (Edward Norton) as an undercover operative to help carry out a mission that involves green and blue pills that are being used to kill an army of Bourne-like government killers. Cross has to swap the blue and green pills for the poisonous yellow ones. Of course, Cross himself is addicted to the blue and green pills. Hey, if James Bond can enjoy a martini every hour on the hour, why shouldn’t Cross have his own dependency issues?
Cross kidnaps a genetic scientist named Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who knows how to make the pills and thus begins the globe-trotting adventure that goes from Chicago and New York to Seoul, Karachi, and Manila.
To be honest, there’s so much backstory here that to even try to explain the plot would take up more bandwidth than I am allowed by my editors. Suffice is to say, the action scenes are marvelously executed and the acting is first rate. It’s the sheer weight of the screenwriter’s ambitions that ultimately bogs down the film. The old adage that ‘less is more’ would certainly have helped them infinitely if applied to this franchise relaunch. I wonder if there will be another one.