The Bourne legacy is not a reboot or a prequel. It’s simply a film suffering from an identity crisis. In the wake of Jason Bourne’s dismemberment of Operation Blackbriar, the CIA decides to dispose of their other black ops programs, which includes the termination of their field agents. However, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), an agent from Operation Outcome, escapes from being executed and, with the help of an Outcome scientist (Rachel Weisz), sets out to expose the crimes of his superiors.
The first part of The Bourne Legacy overlaps with the climax of the last film. Some footage is intercut, but unless you watch this film immediately after watching ‘The Bourne Ultimatum,’ you will be just like me – sitting in your seat eating peanut M&Ms with no clue as to what’s going on for about the first thirty minutes. The story goes like this: Jason Bourne is out causing such a ruckus, that the government decides they need to execute all of their super-solders. You see, unlike Jason Bourne, these new “assassins” are drugged up super-solders who are highly depended on the smack the government is peddling to them. They end up killing most of the “assassins” by giving them a bad batch of drugs. However, Aaron Cross (who is in Alaska) ends up escaping while at the same time kidnapping/saving Dr. Marta Shearing because he thinks she has access to more drugs. It sounds cheesy (and it is) but it turns out to be a bigger deal than you think. We quickly learn that the pre-super soldier Aaron Cross was actually dumb as a post and without the drugs his brain can’t function (like Bradley Cooper’s character in Limitless) but more challenged like.
For two thirds of the film we watch Edward Norton (Col.Eric Byer) trying to kill everyone attached to this secret program, but when he can’t catch Cross, he ends up calling in this “super assassin” which turns out to be another one of the super-solders from the same program they are terminating. It doesn’t make any sense? On top of that (SPOILER): The “super assassin” Norton calls in to save the day is completely inept. He dies as fast as he’s introduced by getting shoved off of his motorcycle and offers no real threat. He was a pointless character that adds nothing more than a massive plot hole.
Jeremy Renner is a great actor and is more than capable of holding his own. However, without a proper backstory, it’s easy to careless about what is happening to him on the big screen. Sure, you are rooting for him to survive, but it’s hard to get emotionally involved with a character when you don’t really know what they are about. During the first three Bourne movies we get a chance to understand who Jason Bourne truly is. The writers have cheated the new “Bourne” by not providing him with a backstory, personality traits or motivation other than the most simplistic one of saving his own skin. Rachel Weisz has a few good scenes to play, especially upon surviving the lab massacre, but not much more than that. Supporting characters played by Edward Norton, Stacey Keach did well. I believe Edward Norton is underrated as an actor and makes a strong presence on the big screen.
The Bourne Legacy’ shifts between two speeds: anti-climactic and confusing. It only exists because some producer in Hollywood wanted to milk fans of the original trilogy for their hard earned money. Matt Damon (though mentioned) is not in the film – don’t be fooled. It’s a sidquel to a film that should have never been made. The film could have done well on its own if they changed the name accordingly and not try to piggy back on an already successful franchise.
I give “The Bourne Legacy” a 5/10.
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“The Bourne Legacy”, is rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences. Running time: 135 minutes. In theatres everywhere August 10, 2012.