Friday, 10 August 2012




106 Minutes. Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Joan Allen & Albert Finney. Director: Tony Gilroy. Screenplay: Dan Gilroy & Tony Gilroy

When the 'Bourne' series was delivered from the pages of Robert Ludlum's books to being birthed on the big-screen, the novel idea was heralded as the new Bond. Back then with 007 getting to be a bit of an old dog, even the greatest secret agent of all time learnt new tricks and rebooted to keep up with a new franchise. One that turned a page for both its own legacy and that of most marketable leading man Matt Damon, who before that-despite some 'Good Will Hunting'-was treated about as seriously as he was in 'Team America' as an actor. A trilogy later and Damon's Bourne character became a classic and through rumors and almost 'Bourne goes epic', artillery strong 'Green Zone' collaborations with director Paul Greengrass fans and critics alike wondered if they would do it again. Or is anyone else could.

And the only sighting of Matt Damon in this film appears to be the hint of an old photo of him with a middle parting. Still it's not all curtains for Damon or for a franchise whose hand-to-hand combat has been taken over a little by Liam Neeson's own crowning series. A series good enough to takeover 007 was always going to need more agents and at least here-with all due respect-they're not playing the same character with little regard for age or time. With Bourne trying to takeover Bond like the 'Mission: Impossible' series tried, who else to accept this task then Jeremy Renner? An actor whose already received Bourne style hand-to-hand classic combat training in 'Ghost Protocol'. A man who is so on point he moonlights with 'The Avengers' initiative as the trigger-man with the arrow, Hawkeye. A guy whose perfect performances in the Academy Award winning 'The Hurt Locker' and critically acclaimed 'The Town' has made this his year and moment.

It's only going to get better for Renner who now has a potential of three successful franchises to assign himself too. It's his world now and he kicks ass. Jumping in and duking it out with Damon's best scenes and bringing the heart and soul to his character that shares some of Bourne's problems but delivers his own solutions. Renner is competent and unique enough to keep this series going, all whilst making it his own and bringing a unanimous feeling of content within the films fanbase. The rumor of Renner and Damon teaming up in a future film just seems too good. Let's hope they're true.

Still for those who like the bookended trilogy there's plenty of familiar faces to bring the fondness back, even if they are as crooked as a well-read spy thrillers spine. Still its the new characters that help this legacy turn a page. The seemingly ageless and talent-full Rachel Weisz puts on an American accent and plays paranoia perfectly. Maybe she does have something to worry about, she dates James Bond (Daniel Craig) in real life yet acts in 'Bourne'. Even more peculiar is the brilliant but criminally underused Edward Norton. This former Hulk shows anger as our Hawkeye looks for avengance here but if we don't see more Norton in these new films we'll be left green, but not with envy.

This slow-burner takes a little longer to ignite than the other Bourne's but the cold and calculated, desk-to phone call-to coffin nature of the trilogies theme is carried on here. A scientist shootout is seriously sinister. Plus wants the fighting comes into action even those with the arms-folded will be forced to sit up and take notice in excitement and amazement. Even if a motorbike scene looks a little too 'Knight & Day', it brings more light than dark to this broody and insecure toned film. Besides 'The Bourne Identity' had mini-chases on the high street reminiscent of 'The French Connection' and it still managed to wear it all well like New York fashion. From action in Alaska to thrillers in Manila this film traverses a lot of ground and plot but it all works thanks to its new agent Aaron Cross. Sure the ultimatum tells us this is no 'Supremacy', but even without Bourne or Damon, Renner makes and marks his own identity and legacy. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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