The Bourne Legacy – Review

October 7, 2012 5:47 pm

A fourth Jason Bourne movie without Jason Bourne ? Don’t frown, it’s possible !
Tony Gilroy, former screenwriter of the first trilogy, made it happen, replacing Paul Greengrass behind the camera. This time, Jason Bourne isn’t the main protagonist. The excellent Matt Damon is not part of the adventure, although his character is mentioned a few times and it is the equally talented Jeremy Renner, revealed by the academy-award winning movie The Hurt Locker, who takes the lead in the reboot of the franchise.
Now, for those who actually remember the end of The Bourne Ultimatum (I, unfortunately, did not), Jason Bourne had publicly exposed Operation Blackbriar and the Treadstone Project, programs he was part of, and led the FBI to investigate the CIA agents responsible for them. Starting where the third movie had left us, The Bourne Legacy introduces a new agent, Aaron Cross, who has been trained and genetically enhanced by pills, named “chems”, courtesy of a government program called Operation Outcome. As he is on a training assignment in Alaska, Eric Byer (Edward Norton), a former Air Force colonel who oversees CIA clandestine operations, decides it is time to end it all after discovering a video on the internet that could threaten the existence of such operations in the future. Aaron Cross is forced to go on the run when his boss tries to eliminate the six agents of Operation Outcome, taking the very charming scientist Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) with him as he needs to break in the Manila facility that produces the pills he badly needs to stay in shape. When an even more skilled agent, part of (another) mysterious program that medically suppresses empathy and emotions, starts chasing him, things get serious. Or at least that’s what we could expect.
Apart from a very impressive motorcycle chase in the crowded streets of the Filipino capital, what we thought would be a thrilling action movie turns out to be disappointing. As always, Rachel Weisz delivers a very good performance and it is refreshing to see her in that sort of movie. Jeremy Renner, more intense than Matt Damon’s friendly manners, proves once again that he is Hollywood’s new Action Man. But the complicated plot, long dialogues and too few old-school action sequences do not help this version of the franchise. One of the positive things though is that for once, the nice and fragile heroine doesn’t fall for the attractive and tortured spy (or at least, not right now). Tony Gilroy tries to renew his story, and he doesn’t totally fail but if there is going to be a second movie, let’s hope he will give it more energy and breathtaking James Bond-like moments, the ones we actually loved in the first place. The Bourne legacy is safe. For now.
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