The Bourne Legacy

WRITTEN BY: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy
DIRECTED BY: Tony Gilroy
STARRING: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
RATING: 3.5 stars

Can you make another Bourne film without Jason Bourne? Yes, you can - and it will be good. In an expansion of the Bourne world created by Robert Ludlum's novels, this reboot centres on a new protagonist and sets up what will likely be a new trilogy of action and adventure.

The Bourne Legacy takes place at the same time as the Bourne Ultimatum so it's a good idea to refresh your memory on the third film before seeing this one. A secret scientific program involving a team that includes Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) is developing a genetics program to improve field agents physically and mentally. One of them is Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) who barely survives when his intelligence agency tries to shut down the program by taking out all its agents, led by ex-Air Force Colonel Eric Bayer (Edward Norton). Cross and Shearing must then work together on a journey to Manila to survive.

Writer/director Tony Gilroy also wrote the screenplays for the previous trilogy so he knows the Bourne world better than anyone else, besides Ludlum. Unfortunately, the film is slow in parts, especially in the beginning. We see Cross in Alaska for reasons not properly explained, as well as the intelligence agency planning the program shut down. It takes too long for audiences to understand the story, which means we care less. But it gets stronger once the plot is established and there are some great action sequences, including a climactic chase scene on motorbikes. The shaky, dizzy camera shots from the previous films are also out in this film. Phew!

I have one minor issue with Aaron. With all the medication he's on, he's supposed to be a superior human being physically and mentally. While Renner was certainly looking fit in the film, I felt like he should have been a little more muscular. He looked more like "the hot guy at the gym" than a field agent hero. Renner is not Matt Damon, but he doesn't try to be either. He lacks some of the charisma needed for the role but he had massive shoes to fill. I have no doubt he'll be more comfortable in the sequel. His performance is really boosted thanks to Weisz who oozes charisma and they have great chemistry together. I'm so glad there was no lame love scene too. Norton was also impressive and reminds us what a good actor he is. Keep an eye out for Shane Jacobson, of Kenny fame, who pops up as the boss in the Manila high security lab.

You could say The Bourne Legacy is a bridging film. The next film should remove itself further from Jason Bourne and become its own entity. I can't wait to see what Gilroy does next with the franchise. Maybe we'll eventually see a film where Bourne and Cross work together? Now that would be entertaining.



  1. The ensemble was chosen perfectly, and even though there is no Matt Damon, we still get plenty of great spots from Renner and his performance as Aaron Cross. I look forward to seeing what Gilroy does with this character in the future, but for now, I’m just glad he made it work. Good review.

    1. Thanks Dan. I think we're going to see a good new series of films for this franchise.


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