A solid consensus has BOURNE.2 (BOURNE SUPREMACY/’04) as pick of this three-plus-one Ludlum litter. So, why, other than sheer greed, bring back the team from 2 & 3 after a decade for another helping? A glance at the slipping gross for Jeremy Renner’s BOURNE LEGACY/’12 is part of the answer, but what drew both returning star & director Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass? Out to prove they still had the right stuff? Career insurance against future flops? Whatever the case, the boys show you can go home again; just not why. Plotwise, it’s the usual nonsense about CIA director Tommy Lee Jones working to silence Damon’s incoming outlier, with the film at its best in an extended cat-and-mouse London set piece where Greengrass’s signature splintered action technique briefly takes hold. Elsewhere, codified violence, dull in spite of the slash-and-burn stylistics. Damon, pumped up like Popeye after a can of spinach, still makes a fine go-go action hero, but except for Vincent Cassel’s Energizer-Bunny of a nemesis, everyone else phones it in. Even Greengrass, still refusing to put his stunts into any sort of logistical context, settling for vacuum-sealed Pop entertainment. But listen up during the final Cassel/Damon showdown for a gruesome sound cue as Monsieur’s outstanding nose takes a serious hit. Crrrrunchhhhh! Holy Batman & Robin!! It’s the one laugh in the pic.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Splitting the difference between James Bond (last at Sony) and Paramount’s MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, you can see what Universal is trying to hold onto with this series. But where can it possibly go?