No Matt Damon in this. Jason Bourne is mentioned but does not appear (except for his photo on a newscast). Jeremy Renner is another agent named Aaron Cross, from Outcome, a more complicated program than Treadstone. After Bourne lets the Treadstone cat out of the bag, the shit hits the fan. The guy behind it all, Eric Byer (Edward Norton), decides to "burn the program to the ground". Kill off the agents...and the scientists responsible for Outcome.
Aaron Cross isn't like Jason Bourne/David Webb. No amnesia. He knows exactly who he is and who he was- Ken Gidson, a guy who wasn't exactly smart. In fact, his Army recruiter added 12 points to his I.Q. to enlist him. Ouch. So he was snatched up for the program (and Ken was "killed" in action), and was subjected to genetic alterations which gave him superior intelligence and physicality. He was also left dependent on his "chems"- blue pills kept him smart, green kept him in shape. Once he figures out that other agents are being killed, he fakes his death and goes looking for the only person who could possibly help him.
That person is Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz)- the sole survivor of a laboratory mass shooting, no doubt engineered by the Outcome bosses. Aaron rescues her and they head to Manila- the only place where she can get the stem cells needed to make Aaron's gene modifications permanent. Meanwhile, Byer and his crew are searching for them and setting an even more dangerous agent after them...
That's the plot. The action comes in quick bursts: Aaron escaping a drone attack in Alaska, Marta surviving the shooting, Aaron rescuing her (and burning down her house in the process), and one big, long rooftop/motorcycle chase, with a lot of talking in between. The plot did get a little murky here and there.
Aaron's desperation to get his meds is very understandable...without them, he'll go back to who he used to be, which terrifies him. That's the bit that's a little too much like the novel Flowers for Algernon, but it does work. I liked the relationship that developed between Aaron and Marta. They are dependent on each other for survival...but come to care for each other, too. There's no time for romance, but there is quite a bit of tenderness between them- he holds her hand and thanks her while she gives him the final treatment; when he becomes sick from that treatment, she comforts him and holds him. There's even a bit of humor- Aaron is annoyed that she never knew his name- he was always "Number Five" to her. I think Renner and Weisz had instant chemistry, and I'm not talking about the meds! I'm sure in a sequel, they'll get it on. :p Hopefully, it won't end like Jason/Marie. :(
That motorcycle chase left me breathless! I can't believe Renner did most of his own stunts...There was some really good cinematography, especially in the Alaska scenes. It could have used a little more action, and the story wasn't completely clear, but overall, I enjoyed it. I give it a solid 8/10. The ending was a bit abrupt- Aaron and Marta on a boat, no idea what lies ahead, no real resolution- are they going to be okay, or are Byer and company still after them? That's my only real quibble with the film. It does leave an opening for a sequel- hopefully, Matt Damon will be convinced to do the next one, too. CrossBourne! I'd love it.
On a shallow note, yes, Jeremy is incredibly hot. Lots of shirtless scenes for us fangirls. Not a fan of the beard, though.
Unf. Unf. THUD. The movie gets a star for beginning and ending with shirtless Aaron!