I should warn you upfront: oftentimes, I don’t understand movies. I get caught up on some obscure detail about halfway through the film and don’t pay enough attention to the way things unfold which leads to feelings of intense dissatisfaction that usually result in me saying something like “everything in that movie reminded me of a penis.” The list (most recently) includes, but is not limited to: Inception, Prometheus, that new Disney flick Brave.
But the Bourne franchise has never let me down. International intrigue, clandestine government agencies, chase scenes in tiny two-cylinder automobiles, sexy-making with the hair dye, all of that I get. As Dr. Phil would say, Jason Bourne is my soft place to land. (That also reminds me of penis, but in a good way. Boy be hella smart.)
On a romantic side note, the Bournes are also summer flicks, released somewhere around the beginning of August and coincide with my wedding anniversary. It’s true: every few years I recognize being joined in marriage by dragging my boy to the theater to binge on Hot Tamales and a gallon of Sprite. I’m sentimental like that.
This year was no different. For months I’ve been anticipating that late Friday night run to the Triple-D-Tavern-Stadium-Surround-Sound-Emporium of Bourne-Anniversary salute. I should have known something was wrong when we were two of only twenty-five attendees.
First of all, this movie is neither about Bourne nor his legacy: it’s about a superhero-type assassin named Aaron Cross. (Which I first typed as Alex Cross. See how wrong all of this is?) So Aaron Cross is a genetically modified human-type being who is pursued by wolves, bombed by American drones, and touchy-feely with an infectious female scientist. But lo, his powers are chemically dependent and without them, he is–let me put this gently–not equipped with adequate intelligence for military service.
In a sweet moment with Dr. Lady Scientist, he reveals that if/when his “chems” run out, he will no longer be mentally equipped to save them from the bad guys or make fake IDs in an airplane potty from that trifold emergency exit thingy in the seat pocket. He also tells her that he was twelve points shy of passing his recruitment IQ test. Assassin say whaaaaa? Let’s do that math. Since the rules have changed, I’m guessing that the military now takes recruits scoring in the low nineties. Minus twelve. I used to be in Special Ed (as a teacher, asshole) and that was considered “Borderline Intellectual Functioning.” Some time before more gentle and appropriate labeling, it was termed “Dullness.”
Blah blah blah, they break into some pill factory in Malaysia, she injects him with a live virus to Renner him permanently Bourne-smart. (See what I did there?) Insert high speed motorcycle chase, mix with happy ending, and swallow.
Now you must lay that entire scenario on top of the last Bourne movie, which is sporadically referred to in real-time to make you think you are actually watching a Bourne movie and not Aaron Cross, Mutant Assassin. If you haven’t already, go ahead and assign Edward Norton his typical role of sociopathic asshole. Press three for Customer Service.
So much potential. So poorly executed.
Rolling Stone gave this movie two and a half stars. I give it One Cheap-Ass Handbag, as in, “On the way to this movie I bought a cheap-ass handbag so I could sneak in my Hot Tamales.”