I had high hopes for Jeremy Renner. I have loved his frowny pug face in several movies in a row now. I watched the new Mission Impossible on hopes he would be awesome. His abs-lighting nearly upstaged his performance in the Avengers movie, but he was still great. Then, judging by the trailer for the new installment of the Bourne film franchise, he seemed a shoe-in for a our new action-stud-with-a-heart/brawn-with-a-brain type.
It looks like Classic American High-kicking Fuck Yeah with questionable facial hair.
What we get with this movie, The Bourne Indecency? The Bourne Referendum? The Bourne Quad Cities Sheepshearing Assemblée? is the bait-and-switch of the summer. It begins with Renner, puzzled, jockish, weirdly hirsute up in Alaska deep in the winter snow. I say weirdly hirsute in that his face beard is supposed to show us how long he has been out repeatedly diving into this icey river
and staring down wolves over a campfire in a survival assignment–it is shaggy and pubic-wild, moustache is snaggly and hanging into his mouth… but his neck and cheeks are perfectly clean shaven. With beards being such a hot trend, did these people in charge of the beard think we wouldn’t notice the difference between groomed and ungroomed. These are the kinds of things that set me off with a movie. Like in Drive when Joan from Mad Men has on lipstick and then she is shot and her lips are pale. C’mon, we are not that dumb!
Anyhow, Jeremy Renner and his ass beard make their way to a cabin outpost of a fellow in his same spy? superdefender? man machine? program and he we learn that unlike Jason Bourne, these dudes are made superhuman style not through heavy duty PTSD-inducing tortures but by blue pills (insert Viagra joke or allegory here). It’s unclear why Jeremy Renner needs more–is he cracked out or trying to double down or kill himself or is it like Roids and he just wants to have a huge nasty chest. It’s unclear. We find out he is really good at being super human. That is established, and perhaps that is all that is clear. Meanwhile, scenes from the end of the last movie are intercut so as to posit this as happening concurrent to Jason Bourne going rogue, Pam Landry exposing it all and David Strathairn yelling “SHUT IT DOWN” or “Cut it off!” every 85 seconds. The Bourne program getting out into the open means that all the other way dicey programs will be exposed so they have to kill all the tuff bros and operatives round the world. That, right there, is like, 38 slow minutes into the film. The best thing that happens in the first half of the film is Renner trying to feed some sort of tracking device to a wolf, which will make anyone who has ever had to feed a pill to their cat or dog laugh. It is also funny because it is a bad CGI wolf momentarily. AND THEN (SPOLIER ALERT!) A DRONE PLANE BLOWS THE WOLF TO KINGDOM COME!
I kind of forgot what happens after that but I think the idea is that Renner walks a long way to freedom, but maybe I am confusing that with the new Batman movie. Oh, yeah, he steals a plane! And flies it down a creek, about 10 feet off the water. Not exactly a thrillride, but it made me think a thrill might come.
Then there is a side plot that is never quite explained about the gov’t lab where the blue pills and tests are tracked and administered to these buff man machines. A guy who is in every movie and who was also super scary in the horrible 4th or 5th season of HEROES (OMG REMEMBER THAT SHOW!?) goes on an inexplicable shooting rampage, perhaps commanded by the government in order to clean up some loose ends. It’s a tangle not worth recounting. Somehow Jeremy Renner in his Alaskan pontoon plane gets to Virginia to the house of Dr. Rachel Weisz, they escape and burn some hokey actors who are chasing them.
We now learn, in the actiony drama of Jeremy Renners intuitive killings, that he wants free of this medicine. Though maybe he has a virus that makes him free. But either way he wants to get off the shit, not be the government’s junkie, which you understand because he is way to vulnerable and just doesn’t seem like he is up for the job in the first place. The only way to get free is him and the Doctor have to go to Bangkok or Malaysia or Panama City and re-up his pill supply from a mini-fridge in a basement, that he can overdose his way out of it. Blah Blah some flashback and back and side story and crunch crunch he breaks some Asian necks. Maybe him and Rachel Weisz are kind of having a moment amidst his killing-for-survival spree. After a long night of sweating, he wakes up and either does or does not have his super fighting strength. An Asian SUPERSECRET INDESTRUCTIBLE KILLING GUY IS UNLEASED VIA PUDDLE JUMPER AT A PRIVATE AIRPORT TO GO KILL RENNER… and so begins a long stupid chase that is mostly running through a slum–a rip from every previous Bourne movie. It’s not a Bourne movie unless someone is hopping from atop a tin roofed shack on to an improvised third-world trash-built dwelling.
This is where most of the trailer comes from, the last 20 minutes of the film or so. There is a He’s dead/oh no he’s not/Oh yes he is/now he is really dead motorcycle chase where you do not believe for a second that Renner will not escape because we have been given no reason to believe the Asian Killing Machine is as tough as they say. He got on the plane with a manly leather overnight bag looking all GQ’d out. How tough can he be, you know?
The ending is mad hokey. White people having a romantic brunch on a barge, cue theme song. ZZZZZZZZ. No wonder Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon bailed on this installment. It’s boring aaaaaaand hokey and barely made sense. Worst of all, because we paid a babysitter and full evening movie ticket prices and got twizzler and a Sprite that only came in illegal-in-NY bucket sizes, I paid $66 out of pocket to see this. This is my shame.