The Bourne Legacy
First question: Is it as good as the original trilogy, which in my mind were damn near perfect action/thrillers? Answer: No. Second question: Does it suck? Answer: No. It’s pretty good. Lee and I both enjoyed it. It’s a bit convoluted at first, I had trouble understanding just what the drugs these super-operatives were taking were supposed to do. There was a gobbledygook “scientific” explanation by Rachel Weisz, and I discounted most of it as the thriller bullshit it was, but finally understood the peril for Jeremy Renner. The action scenes were good (except the incredibly long motorcycle chase through the crowded streets of Manila, which had way too much blurry-cam work), the acting was good, the story was acceptable.
I had been under the impression that this was a prequel, but instead it starts literally at the last scene of The Bourne Ultimatum, with a body floating in the water. From then, it is revealed that Project Treadstone, which was the center of the first three movies, was only the tip of the iceberg. There are at least two more projects even more diabolical, which Jeremy Renner is trying to escape. Joan Allen, the whistleblower from the third film, is being discredited; she shows up in only one scene near the end. Albert Finney, who is about to testify, is assassinated.
In fact, everybody is being assassinated. Or let’s use a less prissy word: murdered, in cold blood. The new Mr. Fix-it, Edward Norton, says this about what they are doing: “We are the sin eaters. It means that we take the moral excrement we find in this equation and we bury it down deep inside of us, so that the rest of our case can stay pure. That is the job. We are morally indefensible, and absolutely necessary.” WRONG, asshole!!! What they are doing is murdering not only everyone who was the subject of this new gene-altering program, the “Jason Bournes” they created, but everyone who knows anything about it. “Rolling up” a clandestine program involves mass murder. Tell me how that is “absolutely necessary,” you buttfucker. To prevent our country, or our president, or even someone as useless as the head of the CIA, from being politically embarrassed? This justifies mass murder? Not on my moral compass, it doesn’t.
But America no longer has a moral compass, does it? I found myself considering something that I knew, but hadn’t thought much about: Every evil person in these four movies is an American! Every damn one! And the motive is always the same. They are all covering their asses. Now, let me assure you that I know these films are pure fiction, the fevered product of a writer’s mind. But they wouldn’t have been made if the audience was not ready to accept the premise that Americans would do illegal, immoral acts, forbidden by the Geneva Conventions as well as American law, for purely trivial reasons. Covering their asses. Preventing embarrassment before congressional committees. Keeping a president in office. Preserving the (very dubious) reputation of the CIA. All trivial. No threat to our country. Our country would swallow the shame, and go on, possibly a better country for it. So I asked myself this: Though I know this is fiction … do I find it plausible? Possible? Yes, I do.
After all, the crimes committed here are probably not really crimes at all anymore, under the Patriot Act and the American Gestapo, AKA the Department of Homeland Security. The people in this movie, and in real life, would tell you they are doing these things to preserve our liberty, our rights, our freedom. That’s why our covert armies commit crimes, to defend our precious way of life. And in the very doing so, they castrate every freedom we have ever had from a repressive, secret government which can now do anything so long as it is labeled “National Security.” In order to save the village, it was necessary to destroy it. In order to save our freedoms, it became necessary to suspend every constitutional right we have … except the right to keep and bear arms. I find it deeply ironic that the Second Amendment kooks look more and more right every day. The government is coming to get you, whenever it chooses. The government will kill you if you bother it too much. Not that a gun will do you any real good, except for the satisfaction of taking down a few of the Gestapo as they murder you in a hail of gunfire. Or, as in this movie, call in a CIA-piloted drone (and when did the CIA get a fucking armed air force?) to take you out.