(Ethan Gates)– The following recap contains spoilers, sort of, for “The Bourne Legacy.” Just so you know.
EXT. ALASKAN WILDERNESS
A limp body floats in a river, the first warning to the audience that they should just go home and watch “The Bourne Identity” again. The body suddenly moves and heads to shore, indicating the swimmer was merely TAKING A NAP.
Our hero, JEREMY AARON KENNETH CROSS-RENNER-NOT-DAMON (“HAWKEYE” for short), immediately challenges women to still find him attractive with a definitely not-regulation YETI BEARD. We PULL BACK to discover that gee gosh, there aren’t that many people in Alaska.
INT. CIA HEADQUARTERS
ED NORTON-DURDEN, having infiltrated the Department of Defense, establishes the tenuous connection between this film and the previous Bourne trilogy by mentioned several buzzwords that no one ever understood in the first place.
ED NORTON: Jason Bourne has compromised our international Fight Club by exposing Operation Treadstone and its Blackbriar-approved regulation moles. We need to shut down all the Outcome agents before Pam Landy turns an inconsistency into red-tape behavioral training R&D Jason Bourne Bourne Bournification.
RANDOM MILITARY PERSON: If you wipe out Outcome, all our intel-based strategems will turn Code 4! CODE 4, I SAY!!
ED NORTON: The assets can not deviate. Shut it down!
There is a MONTAGE of various AGENTS taking YELLOW PILLS and quickly succumbing to the deadly LEFT-NOSTRIL NOSEBLEED VIRUS.
INT. CABIN IN THE WOODS, ALASKA
Jeremy has an awkward discussion with CAREY MULLIGAN’S INCOMPETENT HUSBAND FROM “DRIVE”, his contact in the woods.
JEREMY RENNER: Do you have any more of the super-spy pills we’re supposed to be taking? I purposefully dropped mine down a canyon in an act of defiance that is completely baffling considering I spend the rest of the movie trying to get them back.
INCOMPETENT HUSBAND: You what?
JEREMY RENNER: I mean, I lost them while punching wolves.
There is a KNOCK at the DOOR. A crowd of TEENAGERS enters.
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: Hey, is this the self-conscious Joss Whedon horror geek-fest?
JEREMY RENNER: Two blocks down the road.
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: Thanks.
Jeremy’s spidey-senses tingle. A MISSLE destroys the cabin, presumably killing the Incompetent Husband. Jeremy points out a glaring flaw in America’s military operations in Afghanistan by taking out a drone with a HUNTING RIFLE. He then punches some more wolves, because Liam Neeson.
INT. MILITARY RESEARCH LAB
RACHEL WEISZ has a series of flashbacks that establish her as a completely objective scientist who would be shocked, SHOCKED to discover that she is working for the military.
CREEPY CO-WORKER: Flirty flirt science jargon?
RACHEL WEISZ: Science jargon simultaneous encouragement/rebuff of flirting!
Creepy co-worker shoots up the entire lab either because (a) he’s unbalanced and in love with Rachel Weisz, (b) he’s a government agent and was ordered to, or (c) he was chemically brainwashed to murder his friends. Movie rolls with the least plausible option, that is, (c).
TONY GILROY: Flawed neuroscience!
INT. RACHEL WEISZ’S HOUSE
Two government grief counselors visit the traumatized Rachel Weisz.
LESS COMPETENT GRIEF COUNSELOR: So you live in a completely isolated country fix-up with lots of propane tanks stashed in the basement? How convenient…I mean, unadvisable.
MORE COMPETENT GRIEF COUNSELOR: You ARE considered a suicide risk after what happened at the lab.
RACHEL WEISZ: GET OUT OF MY LONELY PROBABLY HAUNTED HOUSE THAT REMINDS ME OF MY EX-BOYFRIEND AND MAKES ME SAD ALL THE TIME!!
LESS COMPETENT GRIEF COUNSELOR: Hey look, here’s a gun that we can shoot you with…I mean, that you might conceivably shoot yourself with.
The grief counselors are revealed to be government agents sent to finish the job. Rachel Weisz is saved at the last minute by Jeremy Renner (sans yeti beard), who drove from Alaska to Virginia in approximately five hours.
JEREMY RENNER: Do you have any pills? I really need some pills, man. I’m totally tweaking out here.
RACHEL WEISZ: You’re still taking pills? You were supposed to have a virus eat your chromosomes through your brainstems! If we don’t vaccinate you to the effects of sociopathology, you might lose your altered super-stasis!
JEREMY RENNER: ….translation?
RACHEL WEISZ: I need to give you a shot.
JEREMY RENNER: Oh. What happens if you don’t?
RACHEL WEISZ: You’ll lose the ability to psychically see through walls by feeling them up.
JEREMY RENNER: TO THE PHILIPPINES!!!!
INT. CIA HEADQUARTERS
Shit gets real.
ED NORTON: Wow, who knew it would be so hard to kill an agent that we specifically trained to be an unstoppable killing machine?
EVERYONE FROM THE FIRST THREE MOVIES, WHICH IS TO SAY ALL OF ED NORTON’S COLLEAGUES AND SUPERIORS: Sorry. Should’ve given you a heads up about that.
ED NORTON: All right, we have no choice. We have to kill this super-agent. Deploy the SUPER-DUPER ASIAN agent, who is clearly a ninja and evil. Because, you know, Asian.
INT. APARTMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES
Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz plan their daring drug heist.
RACHEL WEISZ: So what’s your deal anyway? Why do you want to stay drugged up even though the people who gave you the drugs tried to kill you?
Jeremy shows Rachel a computer screen showing that he is really Kenneth Kitsom, a former Marine “killed” in Iraq because everyone agreed that Kitsom is not a real last name.
JEREMY RENNER: My recruiter lied about my IQ and said I was smarter so he could meet his quota.
RACHEL WEISZ: …wait, what? So are you saying you got “killed” in Iraq because you were dumb? Or…you won’t be smart enough to outrun them if you don’t stay drugged up? I don’t understand.
JEREMY RENNER: (points to picture of Jason Bourne) I have to finish what he started.
RACHEL WEISZ: Wait, so are we fighting against the government now? For trying to brainwash you? But have you always been dissatisfied, or was this just a recent development, or…?
JEREMY RENNER: Sssshhhh, I’m having a flashback about how they tortured me when I was wounded and scared.
Rachel Weisz abandons the subject in the hope it will be resolved in the sequel.
INT. CHEMICAL PLANT
Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz bluff their way through security with the power of CHARISMA. Rachel gives Jeremy a SHOT of VIRUS STUFF, which makes Jeremy SLIGHTLY ILL.
JEREMY RENNER: Hey, I thought you said this was going to make me stronger and smarter.
RACHEL WEISZ: The antidotal t-cells have to bond with your oxigenated nerval cords. You may experience an immuno-deficient crisis.
JEREMY RENNER: …what?
RACHEL WEISZ: You’re going to have flu-like symptoms for about 10 hours.
AUDIENCE: JUST SAY THAT.
Rachel Weisz spots the VERY DETERMINED ASIAN NINJA AGENT trying to blend in with a crowd of Filipinos despite being very clearly Japanese. The Filipino police, apparently being RACIST towards THEMSELVES, don’t notice him.
RACHEL WEISZ: Jeremy, watch out for the scary Asian ninja man! HE HAS SUNGLASSES!!
She runs away, having incurred the wrath of Very Determined Asian Ninja Agent and the Filipino police, who decide to enforce a little-known Filipino law that prevents white women from shouting in the streets. Jeremy, having miraculously recovered from a mild fever, gives chase over the rooftops in a scene that is absolutely not a rip-off of “The Bourne Ultimatum.”
TONY GILROY: Chase scenes!
Twenty minutes and seven different vehicle crashes later, Very Determined Asian Ninja Agent looks like FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER, yet keeps chasing Jeremy and Rachel. Jeremy, having apparently contracted narcolepsy, passes out while driving. Somehow the motorcycle remains upright.
RACHEL WEISZ: I should’ve mentioned that was one of the side effects.
Rachel defeats the Very Determined Asian Ninja Agent with the power of kicking.
TONY GILROY: Strong female sidekick!
AUDIENCE: YOU WROTE “THE BOURNE IDENTITY”. WE GET IT.
TONY GILROY: Are you sure?
Moby’s “Extreme Ways” plays over the credits as Jeremy and Rachel elope on a Filipino fishing boat.
JAMES BOND: HEY! That’s my thing!
The audience departs, deprived of a post-credits scene where Matt Damon and Jeremy Renner eat shawarma together.