(Published in The Sunday Guardian, 12 August 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/bourne-missing-in-action)
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton and others
Director: Tony Gilroy
Rating: 2 stars
Every now and then, along comes a movie which makes no sense for so long that the viewer starts listing his or her observations. WithThe Bourne Legacy, mine are:
- One man who dives into Alaskan rivers in winter, one man who jogs in the rain at 4:14 am – this film is about masochists
- A cool-looking tarp that serves as an electric blanket will somehow equip you to fight wolves later in the day
- Falling in love gets you banished by American Intelligence
- Being a macho man doesn’t mean you can’t just want to “talk”
- People bleed through the left nostril when US Intelligence kills them
- America believes the headquarters of the ISI is in Karachi
- Metal lockets are crucial to pill-popping
At some point, a reporter gets shot, and Colonel Eric Byer (Edward Norton) decides several more people need to be killed because two men have crushes on each other. Yes, he says that. Don’t ask. I couldn’t even make out whether lines such as “You were given a Ferrari, you used it like a lawnmower” and “This is a serious infection; we’re trying to figure out how much of the patient we must cut into” were metaphorical or literal.
There are a lot of firsts, though. Like, when have we ever had a junkie action hero? Or a woman lead who never gets into a catsuit in an action flick? Then again, she claims to have a Ph.D. in biochemistry, with post-doctoral research in neurology and genetics. Huh?!
This is definitely the first Bourne movie without Bourne. The filmmakers strain themselves to bring him in, and I wondered whether Matt Damon had backed out after giving the producers dates. We see him in photographs, hear he’s in Manhattan, and learn he isn’t above scratching his name on to a board, you know, like ‘Jason Bourne was here’. But that’s about all. When someone refers to him insistently, Byer snaps, “You’re in the wrong meeting!” Gee, thanks for telling us we’re watching the wrong movie.
Almost as strained is the romance. Oh, well, if you’ve helped engineer a superhuman being who’s saved your life multiple times and with whom you’ve gone on a romp that has to be illegal in any part of the world, you might as well hit on him in the middle of the ocean.
The Verdict: If you pop the same pills Renner’s character does, you might enjoy the gorgeous scenery and blurry action sequences.