I Saw A Film Today… The Bourne Legacy

I wasn’t excited when I learned of The Bourne Legacy, the sequel to the excellent and definitive Bourne series ender The Bourne Ultimatum. Director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon were what made Bourne the genre changing series that it is. Both near the end stated that they would not be returning for another round with Jason Bourne, which I thought was appropriate. But inevitably, a fourth film was going to made and it was. Even though Legacy follows the story of Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), another agent instead of Jason Bourne, I went in not expecting much.

At the same time as the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, Aaron Cross is an agent working for a black ops program similar to Black Briar called Operation Outcome. The individuals in Outcome are being enhanced mentally and physically through a pill regiment called “chems”. Cross is completing a training program in Alaska where he meets a fellow agent simply referred to as Number Three (Oscar Issac).

Meanwhile in New York, Eric Byer (Edward Norton) is trying to shut down all the programs under the Black Briar banner by killing off all agents in the programs. Number Three and Cross are attacked by an unmanned drone that Cross narrowly escapes.

Now with his chems supply running low, Cross seeks out a doctor named Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who works for the program. After an assassination attempt on her life is thwarted by Cross, she agrees to try to help him. She also reveals to him that there is a way to make the mental and physical abilities the chems give can be made permanent. Now the two must stay steps ahead of Byer as they travel around the world to the Philippians.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what was unfolding on screen during the first thirty or forty-five minutes of this film. There’s a lot of information thrown at you in the opener and a lot of this information is delivered in a frantic and unorganized manner. This is quite a distraction when things start making sense and you can’t really enjoy the last half of the film. Even with prior knowledge of Jason Bourne, this introduction to this new story in the series renders that information useless.

But if you can make it through the madness and confusion of the first-half of the film, you’re treated to a well-crafted and fun action film. The scenes are paced well and entertaining. Director Tony Gilroy, who directed one of the best films in the 00’s with his debut effort Michael Clayton, is strangely adept at filming sophisticated action sequences. Very much like previous Bourne films the action is fast and yet Gilroy’s style is still distinguishable.

Jeremy Renner excels in this film. He does in most of the action films he appears in, but this one stands out a bit. His intensity is reminiscent of his performance from The Hurt Locker. I think it would be interesting to see him take up the role of Aaron Cross again, which will inevitably happen. In fact, I read an article already stating just that. I think it would also be interesting if Rachel Weisz would make a return. Here, she is almost unrecognizable. Her easily recognizable smile doesn’t appear until the end of the film and her acting is some of the best I’ve seen from her. She is featured heavily in this film, a rarity in action films, and it pays off. As for Edward Norton, he does well but is never really given the chance to show his full range, much like the rest of the supporting cast.

Legacy is a messy film, especially at the beginning, and never fully reaches the level of the other films in theseries. But it’s action sequences are still some of the best on offer at the cinema and proves that the Bourne story still has some gas in the tank.

Verdict: Rent it!

*Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences. 125 minutes.

**Poster by Midnight Marauder

*** Special thanks to my dear friend Marla “Skittles” Joy for sharing this cinematic adventure with me. And for the Disney gummi bears. They were delicious.

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One Response to “I Saw A Film Today… The Bourne Legacy”

  1. Hi, I’ve just reviewed the Bourne Legacy too, agree with you on most counts, great review! Please check mine out if you’ve got the time 🙂

    Ed

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