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Is it safe to call Bourne the best action series of the millennium?

July 21, 2016

Friday, July 29 marks the release of “ Jason Bourne,” the fifth entry in a modern-day action series that’s part “ Memento,” part “ James Bond.” Based on the Robert Ludlum books, the series follows a former CIA assassin who’s lost his memory. He’s resourceful but bewildered, trained to kill but clueless about his past.Backup star Jeremy Renner filled in for the Matt Damon-less fourth movie, but Damon will reprise his starring role for the fifth. Paul Greengrass — who directed the second and third entries — will also return.Outside the cozy confines of childhood fantasy (see: “Harry Potter”), pushing a series beyond two or three films tends to lead to trouble, whether critically, commercially or both. Consider the bang of the original “Saw” next to the whimper of “Saw: The Final Chapter.” Or look to the charm of the original “Transformers” against the near-universal dissatisfaction with “Age of Extinction.” From “Terminator” to “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Spy Kids” to “Scary Movie,” the list goes on and on.But Bourne has mostly bucked this trend. Yes, the Renner-led “Legacy” suffered a small dip in ratings and box office success, but it was by no means a flop. If “Jason Bourne” goes on to charm critics and conquer the box office, is it safe to call Bourne the best action series of the millennium?To answer that question, PrettyFamous — an entertainment site from Graphiq — rounded up Rotten Tomatoes ratings, Metacritic averages and IMDb scores for 24 of the biggest action series since 2000.* The team then normalized the review scores on a scale from 0 to 100 for every film in each series. Finally, they made a small adjustment for box office success. The following list emerged.*Specifically, PrettyFamous only looked at major action series with at least three entries, with the majority of entries coming out after the year 2000. Some series with a very recent third entry — like Star Trek — did not qualify, because review scores and box office figures have yet to be finalized. While the list is not necessarily comprehensive, it should cover most of the major action series of the last 16 years.