The Universal Soldier

On Labor Day, the missus agreed to accompany me to an action flick (payback on that this weekend – more on that later), and so off we went to see The Bourne Legacy. Matt Damon and the Bourne franchise has been so successful, selling some $1 billion at the gate (according to Rotten Tomatoes), that the creative minds decided to chuck Robert Ludlum's stories altogether for one from their own fertile imagination. 


Bourne movies are all rife with backstory, and in this one, in which Jeremy Renner takes over the Bourne role, we discover that part of his discombobulated past has to do with having been a U.S. Army soldier amped up (and befuddled) by "chems," these to make him more physically agile and strong and more mentally alert and flexible. The plot throws Bourne together with Rachel Wiesz as Marta Shearing, the chem whiz who had a lot to do with Bourne's plight.

What makes the movie interesting is that it plays to the well-known compartmentalization of the Federal government, particularly the secretive, competing agencies, and the emerging myth of using such chemical devices to create super soldiers. Too, it plays on the popular theme of one man against the system (Bourne is capable of defeating all sorts of military hard technology with the softer technology of his over-chemmed physicality and mind).

It was easier for us to accept Bourne's exploits against technology than to buy the obligatory chase scene which seems all too fantastical. It's the sort of movie that entertains, but I don't advise taking its skulduggery as an artistc representation of real life.

My rating: 14 of 20 stars.

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