The Bourne films have more than just overstayed their welcome and outlasted the Ludlum books—they've been Van Halenized, with an abrupt change of front man and a resulting dip in personality. The series up to now has survived via Matt Damon's beady gaze, making decisions about where the story goes, even as director Paul Greengrass's jittery action fuzz did its best to render the set pieces of the past two entries almost unwatchable. Now, we have Jeremy Renner as another Treadstone mega man (there were nine, apparently), and though he is a likable enough pug-nosed action figure, the Damonlessness is sorely felt. Working in the trenches so he can eventually make himself another Michael Clayton, director Tony Gilroy keeps things brisk and relatively smart, but he can't be surprised if we find the rooftop-'n'-motorcycle chase through Manila a little rote by now, however white-knuckly and free of Greengrass camera palsy. The late-in-the-game introduction of a supervillain—a Bourne 2.0 from a "beta program" flown in from Bangkok in white skinny jeans—feels like outright pandering. But hell, it's the fourth film, and that's what happens when Hollywood hyperextends a simple paradigm beyond even the patience of the last cast and crew.
Tony GilroyJeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz, Joan Allen, Oscar Isaac, Donna Murphy, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, David Strathairn, Stacy KeachTony GilroyFrank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, Jeffrey M. Weiner, Ben SmithUniversal Pictures