The Bourne Legacy is a thriller which seeks to prove that the existing storyline is still alive, albeit minus Matt Damon, but is only saved by Jeremy Renner’s starring role as genetically modified secret agent, Aaron Cross.
The film begins in Alaska, where we see Cross braving the elements in a training exercise for Operation Outcome. Secret Agents in the exercise have been provided with both green and blue pills, which are designed to dramatically increase both their mental and physical abilities.
We see images of Jason Bourne, who has exposed the suspect operations of both the CIA and FBI to the world, causing the CIA to call upon Eric Bayer (Ed Norton) for help. He decides that all agents need to be terminated with immediate effect and sets about destroying all remaining elements of Operation Outcome.
As the last remaining target, Aaron Cross is forced to run and the doctor who is orchestrating the neuro-pharmalogical experiment, Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) is thrust into the limelight suddenly.
Following a mass shooting at the research facility, Shearing is the remaining scientist with all the answers to the operation and becomes embroiled with Cross’s attempts to escape capture. The pair seeking to wean Cross off the drugs, end up being chased through the production lab in Manila, Phillipines and the film takes a dramatic turn in their attempts to survive.
Ed Norton plays the hard boiled operations boss and architect of all development programs that the CIA pursues and fails to deliver as powerful a performance as expected from the actor. His lengthy speeches are often ruined by their wordy and over complicated medical jargon, yet he does retain an impressive air of command over the operation.
Rachel Weisz as Dr Shearing is brilliant throughout, even if her chemistry with Jeremy Renner is slightly off. The chase scenes in Manila do leave her shadowed by determined Cross and she has little opportunity to really flourish in her role as brilliant bio-chemist.
It is a fast paced movie and the chase scenes and accompanying explosions serve as the highlight. It appears that Renner does much of his stunts and with a former turned agent on their heels, the scenes are elevated from being purely a police car chase, to being something alot more sinister and reminiscent of Terminator II.
Essentially, the film acts as an exciting sequel to the popular trilogy and the plot is compelling, if at some times, overly complicated and wordy. Taking £25.7 million over its opening US weekend and knocking The Dark Knight off the top spot shows that the series is certainly still commanding huge audiences, despite the initial skepticism.
The loss of both Matt Damon and Greengrass meant that the success of this sequel was always going to rest on the shoulders of new agent Jeremy Renner and he certainly delivers an exciting and new character to the series.
But the ending is unsatisfying and the lengthy film feels unfinished, signifying that this franchise certainly won’t be ending any time soon.