Amnesia- and Matt Damon-free, ‘The Bourne Legacy’ is a sequel/spin-off worthy of donning the ‘Bourne’ name.
- Who's going to like it: fans of the franchise and anyone who enjoys intense action-based thrillers.
I love, love, love the Bourne movies. For me, the series got better with each movie. As leery as I was of a Jason Bourne-less fourth Bourne film, I walked away The Bourne Legacy pleasantly surprised and completely satisfied by the outcome. As expected, Legacy is the least of the four films, but that doesn’t mean that it is at all a weak film.
Jeremy Renner plays the lead character in The Bourne Legacy, a super soldier similar to Jason Bourne named Aaron Cross. With much of Legacy taking place during the exact events of Damon’s last Bourne flick, The Bourne Ultimatum – although their characters never meet and their physical attributes come from different sources (we’ll get into that in a sec) – Bourne and Cross are absolutely connected. Because Bourne has now inadvertently exposed two of the CIA’s most secretive programs, the brain behind the whole operation (a new character played by Edward Norton) is destroying the other programs out of fear that they too might be revealed. This is where Aaron Cross comes into play.
Cross belongs to a slightly different training program than that Jason Bourne went through. Cross’ training includes the use of gene-altering drugs that enhance the performance of the mind and stimulate better, faster and strong muscle use – but when Bourne begins shaking things up on the American home front (as seen in Ultimatum), Norton’s character decides to scrap Cross’ program, titled “Output,” and literally bury Cross with it. In essence, Cross becomes like Dr. Richard Kimball in The Fugitive – a wanted man on the run while trying to solve a mystery that will determine his fate.
Albert Finney, David Strathairn and Joan Allen briefly reprise their old roles, but mostly just to hint at what might be coming from the franchise in the future. As always, as the new villain Edward Norton is great. Rachel Weisz also adds a nice new touch to the series. But Renner storms in giving a performance worthy of taking the franchise is a (hopefully) multi-film new direction.
Sure, you can say that The Bourne Legacy is weakest link of the four Bourne movies – but that’s not a bad thing when you take into account how great the previous three are. If you’ve liked the franchise this far, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be on board for The Bourne Legacy.
Photo credit: Universal
(4 out of 5)