Tony Gilroy directs Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton in this parallel-quel to the incomparable Matt Damon spy on the run series.
At the cinema this was marred by a draggy middle section and a schizophrenic lead performance from Renner. He’s given a thankless task really, and not just in filling Matt Damon’s gargantuan shoes. Aaron Cross is painted as a wiseass, a clucking for a fix junkie and a former walking vegetable throughout the narrative, hardly the kind of soulful killing machine we can root for even if we eventually settled on just one personality. Weisz does some of the heavy lifting in the likability stakes, she can sure boost a blockbuster with her committed input (see Chain Reaction or Constantine)… yet even her character’s intellect seems to slalom between genius and jughead as the plot demands it. On second viewing, with expectations lowered, the action stands out. The elongated Eiger Sanction style first act, the conspiracy shoot outs in research labs and woodland mansion are the stuff that most top end actioners would proudly home. And the final chase reaches the intensity of a similar sequence in Terminator 2. That’s a high enough bar to reach for even if we were expecting the franchise to at least stretch for its blood relatives revolutionary standards instead. Perfectly watchable.