The second film we went to see this weekend was the fourth film to be released in a franchise that is very highly rated. There was something about this film that was telling me to not bother with it, but knowing that the other half was keen on it I thought; what could possibly go wrong? I can tell you what can go wrong and that is bringing a fantastic franchise down to a just above average. That is the review of myself and the girlfriend who was so intrigued by the brilliant trailer that she was desperate to see it. I'm just going to come out and say it; despite the top actors committed to the film it really is not very good at all.
One of the first issues with the film is that it is boring! The opening half is so slow and nothing really happens that I found myself drifting from wide awake to yawning my head off. We begin the film in the Alaskan mountains, where Renner's Aaron Cross is partaking in a training exercise where he must recover an object and take it to a rendezvous point over the mountains. At least this is what I think was happening as this sequence is inter cut with expositional stories involving Jason Bourne which had me scampering my brain to remember what happened in the previous films. From the gist of it this new Bourne entry runs parallel to the first Bourne and the issues raised in that film have recurring effects across all Government programmes, which includes Edward Norton's 'Outcome' agents who have been fed drugs in order to make them ultimately superior than anyone else. Due to the coming out of 'Treadstone', Norton must shut his programme down which means killing everyone involved. From here Renner and Rachel Weisz join forces to weed Renner off the drugs and escape every Government force hot on their tail.
The plot actually sounds more interesting as I write it as opposed to when I watched it because I tell you now the plot didn't grip me one bit. It seemed so simple compared to the deep complex narrative of the other Bourne films, that it made this one boring. It also showed how unenthusiastic this story is as it seems to be confused as to where it stands within the bigger Bourne universe. I really did not enjoy the plot of this film, and as I said before it didn't grip me one bit. Not even the characters could get me excited as I never cared for one of them. It was quite difficult to sympathise with a main character who was in a sense searching for drugs due to withdrawal symptoms. This would have worked if the drugs were forced on him but we see a flashback which shows he actually asked to be involved in the programme. Renner does his best to get us on board but I'm afraid it never really works.
The direction of the film also didn't help in getting me hooked. Too many shot choices had me confused as to where I was and to who was talking to who. There were also some odd decisions such as Renner showing up just at the right moment without any reason to, and without prior knowledge to what was happening, to save Weisz's life. A bit too coincidental for me, especially later on when car doors would be left unlocked or motorbike engines left running, I'm sorry but Jason Bourne never worked on coincidence. There is also an evil bad guy brought in far too late for any of us to actually fear for Cross's safety. I can't help thinking that if it was mentioned throughout that this man was more powerful than Cross than I would have been scared when they finally met up. Unfortunately this nemesis is brought in far too late, and they never have a hand combat fight anyway. What was the point?
The only thing that was particularly good about this was the final chase sequence but it wasn't any better than what Matt Damon's Bourne was involved in. Renner isn't too bad in the role but I have seen Weisz in better form and Norton's character was overshadowed by too many other characters and that was noticeable in his performance. I can't say I was overly disappointed but I think the girlfriend was. In the end she even admitted that the trailer itself was ten times better than the film. If I can make a suggestion; watch The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum and completely forget that this one ever existed.
Pros: Final chase sequence.
Cons: Poor plot that tries too hard to fit into an already polished franchise.
5 / 10
Top 10 films of 2012 so far:
1. The Dark Knight Rises 10 / 10
2. The Hunger Games 8 / 10
3. Snow White And The Huntsman 8 / 10
4. Avengers Assemble 7.5 / 10
5. Ted 7.5 / 10
6. 21 Jump Street 7.5 / 10
7. The Expendables 2 7 / 10
8. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 7 / 10
9. The Grey 7 / 10
10. Prometheus 6.5 / 10