The first Bourne film sans Matt Damon uses the same formula of that other hugely successful spy franchise, Mission: Impossible, to carry them forward to frontiers unknown. While his involvement in both series is a bit of a head scratcher, in our opinion more of Jeremy Renner can only be a good thing.

Due to a CIA mishap, the Bourne project has to be shut down immediately. Anybody and everybody who was ever been involved in the program – scientists, spies and so forth – has to disappear off of the face of the Earth lest they talk and cause a bigger problem for the government than the one they’re already in. One of the program’s many genetically enhanced super spies, Aaron (Renner), who was at a training camp in Alaska manages to dodge the full blown drone attack sent to take him out. Running low on the meds that keep him physically and mentally superhuman, Aaron tracks down Marta (Weisz), a scientist in the program who’s managed to narrowly dodge being killed herself, to help him keep his super spy skills, which are the only thing keeping them from joining their colleagues in the ranks of the deceased.

You’ve just got to love a blockbuster with a cast made up of ‘serious actors’. Even if the film isn’t all that – and this one isn’t – it’s just so damn satisfying watching the actors do their job well. Technically speaking, there isn’t much neither Renner’s role nor to Weisz’s either. The film is a classic man-on-the-run format and sees the duo trying to stay a step ahead of their hunters. In a lesser franchise, these roles would have been filled by any jock with a six pack and the ‘It’ girl du jour, but Renner and Weisz really do bring something else to the table. There’s nothing spectacular about their roles, but they hit them out of the park. The rest of the cast are equally good, especially Norton as the government lackey in charge of shutting down the project and Isaac as a fellow super-spy.

On a purely visceral level, the film doesn’t carry that kick or provide that rush that a spy film like this should and, cast aside, it isn’t as good a production as it should have been. It would have benefitted from a director with experience in action flicks or with a feel for how to balance slow, endurance-testing moments with death-defying motorcycle chases, and one who knows how to cut between different story lines in a way that doesn’t make the film seem oddly stuffed and convoluted.

The film feels unnecessarily confusing even though, in retrospect, the story’s pretty straight forward. But even though the film isn’t strung together very well, many of the individual scenes are immensely entertaining and quite thrilling. The locations and cinematography are quite beautiful, though there’s a bit of unnecessary editing during the action scenes that give them a generic feel and make them more difficult to follow.

All in all, the film’s definitely flawed but it’s worth watching for the acting alone and the occasional flashes of greatness.