Jeremy Renner takes over the reins of the Bourne franchise as Aaron Cross, part of the next generation of military personnel tampered with in government experiments trying to make super soldiers, in The Bourne Legacy. Cross is medicated to improve both his cognitive and physical abilities. We enter the story as he embarks on a training exercise involving getting himself out of a remote Alaskan drop point. After making it to his checkpoint in record time, he discovers that his own program is trying to kill him. In Washington we see that the secret programs are being threatened with exposure and the decision
has been made (by bad guy Edward Norton) to shut them down in their current forms and rebuild after the heat is off. The only lose ends are Cross and his doctor friend Marta (Rachel Weisz). They don’t want to be killed, so they fight and run and get clever.
Such a simple, simple basic premise. You take away all the trappings and The Bourne Legacy is really just one long chase scene, broken up with some dialogue. But it’s terrific, escapist fun. It would be easy to get lost as the characters reference story points from the previous 3 movies in the franchise, but don’t let that distract you. Either it will become clear as the movie goes on or it isn’t important. What’s important is that writer/director Tony Gilroy (who also wrote the
screenplays for the previous Bourne movies) keeps the action flowing. We get explosions and shooting and car chases and foreign locales and Jeremy Renner doing all sorts of ninja stuff to get away from the bad guys. It’s completely unrealistic and ridiculously fun to watch.
Renner does a good enough job as Cross. He really just needs to be tough and run around, but he does it well. Weisz has a thankless role but she does fine. Norton has a good time as the bad government guy – very much the weasel without a conscience.
The real stars are the action sequences, which are beautifully filmed, complex and interesting. If you don’t like action movies, don’t bother seeing The Bourne Legacy. I also love how they’ve not killed off Jason Bourne – Matt Damon appears in the film only as a picture, but they’re still actively hunting him, leaving so very many possibilities for future installments. I enjoyed the movie from beginning to end – but be careful not to try to understand every bit of dialogue or back story. Just relax and enjoy the ride. 4 stars out of 5 and recommended for anyone who likes action movies.
photo by Georges Biard