"The Weekend Rent" offers quick-hit suggestions of what to watch at home to get psyched for new releases in theaters, on Fridays.
Matt Damon's Jason Bourne does not appear in this weekend's The Bourne Legacy, which takes place immediately after the events in The Bourne Ultimatum. This time Jeremy Renner stars as Aaron Cross, an agent of Operation Outcome that is targeted for elimination after the disastrous exposure of Treadstone in the previous movie and the domino effect of events that follow. Renner goes on the run with a scientist played by Rachel Weisz, which culminates in a chase scene in the Philippines that will make you feel Bourne again.
Renner's career has been a slow build, but he has now reached the point where he is expected to carry big franchise films. He first made an impression a decade ago in 2002's creepy Dahmer, in which he played serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer who kept trophies of his male victims. In the DVD commentary track for The Hurt Locker, director Kathryn Bigelow said that she cast Renner as Sergeant First Class William James in her Best Picture Oscar winner after seeing his performance in Dahmer.
After chilling our blood in Dahmer, Renner got a taste of the action in S.W.A.T. opposite Colin Farrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Michelle Rodriguez and L.L. Cool J. Years later Renner would work for Jackson's S.H.I.E.L.D. as Hawkeye in The Avengers, but here he stars as Farrell's former police partner who quit the LAPD after being demoted.
In 2005's Neo Ned, Renner plays the titular neo-Nazi character who falls in love with an African-American woman (Gabrielle Union) in a mental institution. The unusual film was nominated for multiple awards at small film festivals… and won them all.
For this part of his career, Renner earned his cred by taking supporting roles to big-name actors like Brad Pitt in 2007's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In the Western drama, Renner plays Wood Hite, the younger cousin of Frank (Sam Shepard) and Jesse James (Pitt).
Renner returned to horror in 2008's 28 Weeks Later, the intense sequel to 28 Days Later about a virus that has turned the whole populace of Britain into a pack of crazed zombie-like monsters. Renner plays Doyle, a police sniper, and gets to practice his aim before becoming playing Hawkeye in The Avengers. Although you can't rent The Avengers just yet, you can still catch a brief cameo of Renner as Hawkeye in Thor, which is out on both DVD and Blu-ray.
In Ben Affleck's 2010 crime drama The Town about a group of lifelong friends in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood that decide to rob a bank, Renner plays Affleck's best friend James "Jem" Coughlin, a career criminal and probably the most volatile and dangerous member of the gang.
So Renner has teamed up with the likes of Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt and Colin Farrell before jumping onboard with Tom Cruise for Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, the fourth film in the spy series. Renner plays intelligence analyst William Brandt and is integral to the high-rise action that takes place at the towering Burj Khalifa building in Dubai.
Since Renner has a decent track record with popping up in sequels or established franchises (28 Weeks Later, The Avengers and Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol), maybe he can excite audiences in The Bourne Legacy the same way Damon did for the three previous movies. All the evidence is on video to rent this weekend.
All of the movies mentioned above are available on DVD and/or Blu-ray. Click on the titles to see how and where you can watch them today.