The Bourne Legacy
Dir: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz,
and Edward Norton
Bourne series takes different direction with new character
MONTE YAZZIE ~ THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS~ 8/15/2012
Novelist Robert Ludlum created Jason Bourne, the amnesia suffering government designed super soldier, who was portrayed in three successful films by Matt Damon. The Bourne Legacy is a reboot of the series that attempts to transition the story forward minus the Jason Bourne character. Although a daring move, it’s also places the franchise and subsequent fans in a precarious position of acceptance. The Bourne Legacy offers some ingenious moments of action; however it also crafts a lengthy and needlessly intricate narrative that keeps the film from adding up cohesively.
The film begins with an introduction to a stoic man trudging across an icy mountain range; along the expedition he takes blood samples, fights off a pack of wolves, and pops a set of pills, one blue and one green. This is Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), an agent the likes of Jason Bourne but with greater physical abilities.
This film is happening during the final act of The Bourne Ultimatum; Jason Bourne is a wanted man and the C.I.A., headed by Eric Byer (Edward Norton), is none to happy with their secret weapon causing so much chaos. Bourne’s mayhem forces the action of the C.I.A. to shut the program down on all levels, which puts the life of Agent Cross in immediate jeopardy.
After evading a few attempts on his life, Agent Cross must now deal with the dwindling amount of pills that help him keep his superb abilities. This leads Agent Cross to Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a scientist who has conducted medical examinations on him in the past, in hopes of restocking his supply. Shearing is also a target of elimination because of her association with the project, however she narrowly escapes an attempt on her life with some assistance from Cross. This leads Cross and Shearing on a journey across the globe in hope of an answer.
Director Tony Gilroy, who also co-wrote all the films, helms this film differently from the previous directors. Gilroy spends a wealth of time with the setup and less on the mechanisms of action. This normally wouldn’t be a bad thing but the setup is full of scientific meandering and Jason Bourne exposition which isn’t quite necessary for the film much less the introduction of a new character. Also, where Bourne’s amnesia offered narrative devices that assisted the compelling mystery of Bourne’s identity and past, the Aaron Cross character is aware of everything and, though his character is suppose to remain mysterious in some regard, there are only a few attempts to offer insight into the emotional aspects of his turmoil.
Still, Jeremy Renner is an accomplished actor and exhibits good control during much of the film, especially during the action scenes. Rachel Wiesz is also good, most notably as she sheds the fear of danger and transitions to the confidence of survival; her portrayal is subtle enough for the shift to feel natural instead of forced. Edward Norton has played the ego driven hand of power before, but he does it so well it’s always interesting to see what kind of twist he puts on the character. The cinematography is also good, offering environment filling wide angles and inventive perspectives during chase and fight scenes.
The Bourne Legacy attempts to keep the franchise rolling with a forced finale, which unfortunately sours an otherwise exciting chase scene. However, though the film falters at times from a narrative standpoint, it also endures just enough by employing elements Bourne fans have come to expect.
3.25 out of 5.00