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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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Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions: Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter. 
<p>His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him." </p><p>At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan. </p><p>They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution. </p><p>They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears. </p><p>The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions. </p><p>In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators. </p><p>The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded. </p><p>In 1987, Blessed John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog We don’t have to scrub off our sin so God can love us. Instead, when we allow God’s healing love to touch us, we want to leave sin behind. Growth starts in love, not in guilt.

 
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