The Bourne Legacy (2012) * * * *
Director: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton
"An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum's novels, centered on Aaron Cross, a new hero, who experiences life-or-death stakes which have been triggered by the events of the previous three films."
Over the last few years I have quite enjoyed the first three movies in the Bourne saga, partly because they are great action films, partly because of the "mystery/spy" elements, and partly because I'm one of those people who just really likes Matt Damon.
So when I began to hear rumors that a fourth Bourne film was in the works, and that it would NOT have Matt Damon in it, I was very disappointed and skeptical, and was literally mere seconds away from swearing a solemn vow to refuse to see The Bourne Legacy when I realized it was starring Jeremy Renner - who, as it happens, I like even more than Matt Damon.
Still I wasn't sure it would work. It's a new agent, ok, I can handle that. It's good to mix things up a little, freshen up the story. Then things started sound confusing - simultaneous timelines, different black ops agencies, and super-powers? Say, whaaaaaat??
So, yeah. But it turns out that The Bourne Legacy is a REALLY good film. Aaron Cross is an agent in a different program - the agents are treated with various drugs to increase their physical and mental abilities, and closely monitored and studied. But when Jason Bourne and Pamela Landy blow the lid on Treadstone, the resulting investigations threaten other secret programs, and the head honchos begin cleaning house to cover their own asses - eliminating all their agents and researchers. Cross manages to evade his own assassination attempt, and goes looking for the doctor who can get him more of the drugs that will help him maintain his mental acuity. Unfortunately, she's also being targeted by the agency for knowing too much, so of course, they both go on the run to try to save their own lives.
Shakespeare it isn't - but what it is, is loads of fun. Renner does a great job as Agent Cross, effectively portraying both the hardened agent and also the vulnerable not-so-bright soldier he used to be before the drugs opened his eyes to a whole new world that he is now terrified of losing. I've always loved Rachel Weisz, and she's amazing in this role - brainy, frightened, hysterical at times, yet pulling it together to get the job done when it counts.
Of course in a movie like this there's lots of explosions and chase scene, and while some have complained that there were too many chase scenes or that some of them lasted too long. I heartily disagree, but I will admit there was a brief moment where I thought, "Just escape already!" but then something awesome happened so it was all ok!
I think The Bourne Legacy lives up to it's predecessors and deserves 4 stars. A little more character development might have bumped it up to five stars, but overall it's a great action film, and if you like the previous Bourne movies I believe you'll like this one as well.
I'm way late on this review, so most of you have probably seen it already - What did you think of The Bourne Legacy? Leave me a comment and let me know if you agree with me, or if you think I'm all sorts of wrong about the film!