I had to laugh watching the DVD of the Bourne Identity reboot The Bourne Legacy. When Zero-Dark Thirty honestly portrayed the role waterboarding and hard-line interrogations played in helping the CIA track down Osama bin Laden, our political class, led by Senators Dianne Feinstein, John McCain and Carl Levin, protested the movie’s honesty. Speaking truth to power also seems to have cost the movie’s director Kathryn Bigelow an Oscar nomination. The senators wanted Bigelow to tell the politically correct lie that torture-like tactics don’t work. Think about that for a minute. Would they work on you? Me too. Of course they worked. That doesn’t make them right, but Bigelow has correctly pointed out that her movie doesn’t comment on that.
Anyway, what made me laugh is that the Bourne movies portray the CIA as a murderous criminal organization which lies to congress while slaughtering innocent citizens at will. How come no one’s protested that? Well, you may say, Bourne is fiction and Zero Dark is based on truth. But really, which is worse for America’s image: admitting we played hard ball with a bunch of killer jihadi scumbags — or portraying our intelligence services as soulless assassins slaughtering their own?
Anyway, if you’re wondering, the new Bourne is a fun late night DVD. It’s a little disconcerting to watch a five star cast (Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, and Albert Finney) delivering nothing but dialogue of the get-me-Quantico-now-now-now variety. But the action’s cool, including the by-now cliched Third World Slum-Chase and a motorcycle chase that should win some sort of stunt man award. And the two stars are expert and appealing.
The Bourne Identity is a great thriller, the rest of the series is way overrated, watchable but second rate. This is as good as any of them, except that wonderful first one.