The Bourne Legacy

Review by Neil Jordan and Gareth Von Kallenbach

With the franchise torch passing from Matt Damon to Jeremy Renner, “The Bourne Legacy” shows that there is still plenty of life in the franchise.

The events of the film take place during and after the events in The Bourne Ultimatum”and portrays the effects and consequences of the actions taken by Jason Bourne in the first three movies. Now that Bourne has made Treadstone/Blackbriar public and began to seek some measure of justice for lives that were destroyed by the program, the government attempts to cover-up their operations and discredit Bourne and his associate CIA deputy director Pamela Landy who is facing a myriad of charges.

Enter Stacy Keach and Ed Norton who ooze a chilling creepiness as shadowy government figures who will stop at nothing to cover up the growing scandal, including wholesale murder.

Bourne and his program were, in the words of one character, “the tip of the iceberg” and as such, just another program the government ran, which had the same goals of Operation Treadstone but used different methods to create and train their agents, becomes the focus of the film.

Alex Cross (Renner), finds himself the lone survivor of a purge that has eliminated all the living members of his program, this includes the very scientists who helped created the enhanced agents. As a creation who needs special medications to function, Cross races to Washington in an attempt to reach Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), who has been a medical contact for Cross for years. Shearing herself is a survivor of numerous dangers and attempted assassinations, thanks to the timely arrival of Cross.

In an attempt to escape the government manhunt lead by Agent Eric Byer (Edward Norton), As these events are unfolding, the actions of Jason Bourne and Pam Landy in the final moments of ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ are beginning to unravel which forces Cross and Marta to flee to Manila to get Cross a shot at being able to function at his elite level with the need for medications.

With locales that include the wilderness of Alaska, the alleys of Chicago, America’s east coast, and the streets of Manila, “The Bourne Legacy” breathes new life into the franchise. While the first hour of the film moved at a slow pace and lacked much action, the last thirty minutes kicked into high gear and included a fantastic chase and action sequence through Manila.

Renner does not try to be Bourne, and instead plays Cross as a kind but efficient warrior. We are given some insight into his backstory and motivations for entering the program, and Renner goes all out for a demanding and physical role while earning the audience’s sympathy for the plight of Cross.

Director Tony Gilroy (Who also had a hand in the script), knows the franchise well as he had a hand in writing the previous three films and directed one. It is clear that he is steering the franchise to a very likely fifth film, perhaps one where Renner and Damon will cross paths which would be to the fans’ delight. Should that not happen, the series is in great hands with Renner.

4 stars out of 5