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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

The Bourne Legacy

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner star in a scene from the movie "The Bourne Legacy."
Can the Bourne franchise continue without Matt Damon's Jason Bourne? If the mediocre extension "The Bourne Legacy" (Universal) is all we have to go on, perhaps the answer is: Yes, but with considerably diminished results.

Based on a series of novels by Robert Ludlum, the popular—albeit frequently violent—trilogy that began with 2002's "The Bourne Identity" reached a satisfying narrative wrap-up, five years later, with "The Bourne Ultimatum."

But Hollywood's reliance on proven box-office winners is such that an attempted resuscitation was probably inevitable. Though Damon abstained from participating, Tony Gilroy, veteran scribe of all three previous installments, returns to direct and co-write this tangentially related tale.

Standard shootouts, fatal vehicular accidents and at least one close-up scene of medical unpleasantness mark the results as off-limits for youngsters. Most adults, though, will probably take these elements—along with the script's occasional lapses into foul language—in stride.

In the wake of Bourne's public exposure of a top secret program that biologically altered government spies to enhance their skills, the intelligence establishment—led by retired Air Force Col. Eric Byer (Edward Norton)—decides to terminate a similar Defense Department project. Terminate, that is, with extreme prejudice: They plan to kill everyone involved.

However, one subject, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), manages to escape assassination. The weapon sent against him as he trains for future missions in the Alaskan wilderness? A drone; how topical!

Making his way back to civilization, Cross seeks out Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), the researcher who treated him as he was being endowed with his heightened powers. Shearing has just had a close call of her own—no coincidence, that—when a drugged or brainwashed colleague shot up their lab, thus disposing of all his other co-workers.

Together, the two survivors go on the lam, and struggle to evade their pursuers' global reach.

Though it winds up in Manila, Gilroy's convoluted cat-and-mouse game—written in collaboration with his brother Dan—doesn't amount to much of a thrilla.

With his subdued demeanor, Renner's Cross makes a less-than-charismatic centerpiece around which to try to orbit the overly detailed proceedings. Norton's Byer, meanwhile, gives vent to such weighty—make that ponderous—announcements as "We are morally indefensible, and absolutely necessary!"

Byer is also given no fewer than five malign cohorts (Stacy Keach, Dennis Boutsikaris, Albert Finney, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn) with whom to debate, in heated tones, the fate of various hidden organizations and codenamed schemes. Treadstone, Blackbriar, Outcome, Candent. ... "There was never just one," declares the movie's advertising slogan. Well, OK, but did there have to be so many?

The film contains considerable, at times harsh, violence with some gore, about a half-dozen uses each of profanity and crude language and a few crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother (August 27), the instructions of Ambrose (December 7) and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Silence is the ability to trust that God is acting, teaching, and using me—even before I perform or after my seeming failures. Silence is the necessary space around things that allows them to develop and flourish without my pushing. God takes it from there.

 
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