Justin Lin, the director famous in Hollywood for resurrecting the Fast & Furious franchise when he helmed the third installment Tokyo Drift, is slated to attempt the same rejuvenation with the Bourne franchise.
Jeremy Renner recently starred in the latest Bourne film — The Bourne Legacy — as Aaron Cross, a recruit to the same program that created the Jason Bourne character; that fourth film was set simultaneously to the third installment — The Bourne Ultimatum — starring Matt Damon. Legacy received mixed reviews and performed slightly better than expected earning $46 million in its opening weekend, but this was still significantly less than any of the Bourne films starring Matt Damon, triggering concerns of the franchise’s sustainability with Damon’s decision not to continue appearing in it.
In this context, Universal’s decision to tap Justin Lin as director for the upcoming fifth Bourne film makes total sense.
Although Tokyo Drift was a significant departure from the first two Fast & Furious films (it took place in Tokyo with only a cameo appearance by one series regular at the tail end of the film) Lin’s creation of an instant fan favourite in Sung Kang’s Han was so profound that it factored into the studio’s decision to set later films as prequels to allow the franchise to explore this character’s backstory. And, it was with Lin’s direction of the series’ fourth and fifth installments (and particularly Fast 5) that Fast & Furious became one of the most popular contemporary film franchises.
Now, Justin Lin is set to direct Jeremy Renner’s next turn in the Bourne films in the still unnamed fifth installment. The film still has no writer so there is plenty of time for Lin to work on other projects in the meanwhile. But, this is still great news for the director who made his start with Better Luck Tomorrow, the seminal Asian American independent film that he financed by maxing out his credit cards after he couldn’t find backers.
So, expect Justin Lin to — as with Fast 5 — create another energetic blockbuster in the next Bourne film, one that has mass pop appeal. Expect frenetic fist-fights, and high-octane explosions.
And, also expect Sung Kang. Why? Because Justin Lin.
Bonus points to Lin if he’s somehow able to tie the Bourne universe to the Fast & Furious universe. It’ll turn out that Vin Diesel is a superhuman street racer because his reaction time has been augmented by a covert black-ops program operated out of Treadstone called Operation Charger. Also, Han didn’t die at the end of Tokyo Drift; he was black-bagged by Treadstone. You heard it here first.