Review: The Bourne Legacy
What We ThoughtGenre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
What We Liked :Interesting Set Pieces, Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross
What We Disliked:Being a new movie in the Bourne franchise, Takes too long to get anywhere
For its many faults, The Bourne Legacy is still an entertaining summer excursion.
The Bourne Legacy is an interesting attempt at continuing a franchise. The events in the film run concurrently with the events from the previous Bourne trilogy. It feels like a cheap way to add another character into the mix, but does it manage to hold up to the standards that Jason Bourne set forth?
Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) enters the frame in the very first seconds of The Bourne Legacy in exactly the same fashion Jason Bourne has before, face down in the water. It is only the beginning of a bullet list of parallels The Bourne Legacy attempts to follow. The director, Tony Gilroy, has an interesting dilemma when creating Bourne Legacy. It has the name of the previous franchise and includes countless references to the events in that series, but Jason Bourne is never seen throughout the entire picture.
Thankfully, The Bourne Legacy isn’t just a cash-in on the Bourne name. Like the trailers alluded to, “Treadstone was just the tip of the iceberg”, as Aaron Cross is part of another government program this time headed by USAF Colonel (ret.) Eric Byer (Edward Norton). This particular program, entitled Outcome, has its agents dependent on taking daily supplements to keep their intelligence and strength at extremely high levels. Once Cross realizes his pill supply has suddenly run dry and the agency no longer needs his services, he begins a hunt to find a solution to his problems.
One of his greatest chances for survival is Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a virologist who develops the drug prototypes for the Outcome project. Since Outcome is being terminated due to Jason Bourne, her services are no longer needed. A rouge scientist goes a shooting rampage, but luckily Shearing leaves with her life. The government still must get rid of her and without the help of Aaron Cross she might cease to exist. It wouldn’t be a Bourne movie without a female protagonist that falls in love due to being rescued.
The Bourne Legacy ends up falling into too many similarities with the previous films. There’s a car chase sequence (Bourne Identity), a rooftop-alley chase sequence (Bourne Ultimatum) and the film ends with another remix of Moby’s Extreme Ways. Couldn’t Tony Gilroy write something original into the script? How will they ever make this a franchise about Jeremy Renner while always treading the old ground? The other huge problem is how long the film takes to develop. The simpleton plot of trying to retrieve some drugs for survival could’ve been much shorter, but that is the entirety of the film. The Bourne Legacy could’ve benefited by having the entire first half hour cut and the film starting with Dr. Shearing surviving her ordeal. Jeremy Renner is in immaculate shape for this film, but how long did I need to see him hunt wolves?
For its many faults, The Bourne Legacy is still an entertaining summer excursion. Jeremy Renner proves he his leading-man material and captivates throughout the entire film. With so little to work worth (he doesn’t have amnesia like Bourne had), he does a capable job of getting us to root for his cause. The Bourne Legacy ends on an obvious enough note to expect a sequel, but hopefully they can continue to separate from Jason Bourne and make this truly a story about Aaron Cross.