Soon the movie is not only rolling, but roaring along as Cross goes on the run with a biochemist (Rachel Weisz) who has been overseeing a secret program to turn him and others into super fighting machines with immense strength, intelligence, and recuperative abilities. But Cross is missing the one final dose he needs to lock him into superman status, and without it he’ll turn back into the slow-witted chump he once was. Yes, this movie is kind of like the old Cliff Robertson film Charly crossed with Rambo and Three Days of the Condor. The only place to get the drugs Cross needs is in a lab in Manila, on the other side of the planet.
Tony Gilroy, who wrote the earlier Bourne movies and also wrote and directed the George Clooney film Michael Clayton, takes over directing duties from Paul Greengrass, who crammed the last two Bourne movies with all those breathless, in-your-face action scenes. You can’t tell the difference between Gilroy’s style and Greengrass’s, and this is high praise. As in Greengrass’s films (and the 2002 The Bourne Identity, which was directed by Doug Liman), the chases and fights are sweaty, intense. Cross, like Jason Bourne, is a thinking machine as much as a fighting machine, always planning a move ahead. For instance, he calculates that the easiest way to escape a factory floor is to simply fire a few shots at the ceiling to cause a stampede and disappear in the crowd.