The CIA in the Bourne world has a new motto: No more mister nice guy. Matt Damon was a tortured nice guy at heart who ran off the Langely reservation, found a god of a sort in his memory bank, fell in love too much, and vanished from the grid.

The brothers Gilroy, Tony and Dan, have given us a new Bourne, Jeremy Renner (“Hurt Locker”) as Aaron Cross, who doesn’t seem to have found anything, in fact, he has never been lost. He is a good soldier, pulled from the dead in Iraq and given a new life. If you think about it, it’s a nice fictional transition, taking the bomb guy from “Hurt Locker,” blowing him up and reinventing him as a kind of super soldier, a straight-shooting pill pusher who carries his stash around in a metal dog tag pouch.
Renner is a born action guy in the model of Daniel Craig’s James Bond, but with a touch of Cagney and with none of that little boy thing that women want to mother, the quality that Damon exudes.
Much later in the movie you’ll learn more than you need to know about these green and blue pills that Cross and his other new Bournites who are sprinkled around the globe, have to pop each day. One is for brains, one for muscles. There doesn’t seem to be a pink one for sensitivity or a red one for anger. (Cross doesn’t get mad, he gets even,) or one in the shape of a Valentine candy pill for love … until he meets Dr. Marta Shearing (the smoky Rachel Weisz).

Weisz plays a doctor in a mysterious government lab that makes the meds that make our new breed of super killers.

After a crazy colleague inexplicably goes postal and kills everyone but her, she runs for the hills to a family house in the woods. But we all know that there is no running from the movie CIA.

Soon, a couple of cars full of suited guys and a very cool woman, find her and play nice while plotting to kill her.

But our Snow White will be saved by the inevitable woodsman Cross, who also tracked her down. We’re not quite sure how he found her, but we’re sure glad he did, because we love Weisz.

Sadly, Weisz isn’t going to be Cross’ “Marie” (Franka Potente) Bourne’s great love. Even after roof-top chases, street chases, motorcycle chases when they face dismemberment and death together, even after she injects him with something we can’t mention, he still doesn’t look like he’s much into her.
“Bourne Legacy” takes us to the steamy streets of Manila for the inevitable motor scooter chase, and the wilds of Alberta, Canada, to a shack where another of Aaron’s ilk leads a quiet life waiting for something.

When it comes, they’ll wish they had waited in the car. In these breathtaking wilderness scenes, our hero is faced with those wolves that Liam Neeson didn’t kill in “The Grey.” Hey, even movie wolves have to eat. Our carnivores, however, have to take a back seat to something else that wicked this way comes, Penetta’s predator drones. Wait for those. They’re great.

“Bourne Legacy” has a whole new set of bad guys and rules. The bottom line here is that the 27th floor has decided that their line of super spies has too many flaws and has to be shut down, not just the computers, toilets and salad bar, but each of the Bournites out there in the field. People in Korea, Iran, Italy and possibly Wisconsin, are given new meds that take them out. Our hero hasn’t gotten his yet, and we’re pretty sure he won’t. That’s up to Weisz.

Renner, we’re told, does his own stunts. This is what heroes do. Fred Astaire did his own dancing. You can’t fake it and charge 20 bucks a ticket.

The new bad guys, the evil suits in the glass rooms, just don’t make it this time. Edward Norton, a fine actor just hasn’t got the gravitas it takes to spew cold-blooded evil. He comes across snippish and frightened.

His counterpart in all of this is Stacy Keatch, who a century ago played Mike Hammer in black and white. Keatch, an overweight B movie actor, doesn’t cut it as a top Langley Yale grad executive, but seems more like a lobbyist for a truck drivers union. We yearn for the elegance of David Strathairn, and Joan Allen.

The brothers Gilroy have put together a passable power action movie, but despite their insistence that this is a new model, we keep hoping that just when Renner’s in trouble, Damon will come in and swoop Rachel away as we all cheer. Fun movie, nice try, but no cigar.

J.P. Devine is a former stage and screen actor.

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