The Bourne trilogy is one of those rare cinematic occurrences where all three films are equally as good as each other. And what does Hollywood decide to do? Greenlight a new series of Bourne films with no Paul Greengrass nor Matt Damon, but aim to up the smartiness and lower the action…because less action always means more success nowadays, doesn’t it?
The Bourne Legacy follows Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), who is another participant of a black ops program, using genetic testing to enhance mental and physical abilities. As Jason Bourne exposes the Threadstone project and Operation Blackbriar, the CIA calls in Eric Byer (Edward Norton) to rid of any evidence of all super-secret projects, including its participants. The only survivors are Cross and Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a scientist who was involved with the testing process, who soon try to avoid being killed.
The bad points outweigh the good so this will be kept brief. I’m just going to say it – the film lacks balls, amongst other things.
There is a distinct lack of intrigue, tension and mystery – namely, the elements that made the Bourne trilogy truly engaging. Like with all the other ‘quel‘ films – Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, Men in Black 3 – The Bourne Legacy has the problem of being compared to its predecessors. Writer Tony Gilroy’s first directorial effort in the Bourne series after three years of being the screenwriter for the first three films is lacklustre. You can see how he tries to be as complimentary and in some ways, faithful to the original series but instead of being like a member of the family in terms of plot, Legacy is more like a distant cousin to Greengrass’s efforts.
Jeremy Renner’s Cross is a mildly engaging hero but the fact that you are told more than you should know at the beginning of a new film series just serves as a huge spoiler – one that is totally uncalled for. He can do action no problem, but we already know this from his performances in Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, MI: GP and even The Hurt Locker, so there is no surprise there (how many of us were shocked and/or impressed when Will Hunting can kill someone with a pen?). However, we have a full-on soldier that is also hooked on pills. Rachel Weisz doesn’t help matters either as she seems to be interesting when she is not snivelling or paranoid…which is little of the time.
One of the good things about the The Bourne Legacy is the action sequences, lacking in number they may be. From rooftop chases to motorbike pursuits, Gilroy has directed them well and Renner proves himself to live up to the expectations of a credible action hero. Norton plays it suitably cool as the would-be antagonist, so it would be interesting to see the development of his and Cross’s past in the forthcoming films.
Overall, The Bourne Legacy is mostly disappointing, poorly edited and it seems have buckled underneath with the expectations from the original films, which weighed heavily on its shoulders. Whether Gilroy has a chance to redeem himself depends on Hollywood.