Review: The Bourne Legacy

Posted August 10th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

The Bourne series continues even without Jason Bourne and for the most part delivers enough to justify its existence – just at a level below those that came before it. The Bourne Legacy focuses on Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a part of the “Outcome” program, as he tries to survive as those in charge look to shut it down and protect their interests by killing all those involved.

Cross, along with a genetic researcher played by Rachel Weisz, essentially become the loose strings in the mess that was created by Jason Bourne’s survival and the congressional testimony of Pam Landy. He not only needs to avoid those being sent to kill him but is tied to the program with a number of pills that he has been forced to take regularly. With everything closed off he becomes desperate to locate more pills – which have been administered to those in the “Outcome” program to enhance their mental and physical abilities – or else lose the skills he inherited through them for good.

Directed by Tony Gilroy – who started the series with The Bourne Identity – the film loses that sense of discovery that Jason Bourne went through due to his amnesia and lacks the flair of the following two entries that was provided by director Paul Greengrass. It’s shot in a fairly vanilla way and provides too little in the way of suspense. The action, though less of it than in earlier Bourne films, is solid but the emotional connection to the events taking place just isn’t as strong.

Renner is quite good in the role though he brings a completely different energy than that of Matt Damon. He’s inherently darker and here is reliant on the “chems” which is mentioned way too many times. Weisz is alright but seems just to be forced into cowering or finding herself in compromising situations. Edward Norton is strong as usual but his place – in trying to bring an end to the program through the last resort method of killing everyone off – ends up being too isolated to really matter.

The ending of The Bourne Legacy is abrupt and unsatisfying. Clearly the plan is to continue the franchise but a better conclusion was really needed here. There is no sense of closure – it feels more like the third act is completely missing even though the running time is over two hours. A “next-gen” agent sent to stop Renner was handled in especially weak fashion and that contributes to suddenness of the ending.

The Bourne Legacy is a decent movie but lacking in many respects. Callbacks to events in the earlier Bourne films are neat, and Renner is good in the lead role, but the story isn’t nearly as compelling and the conclusion is deflating.

Rating: ★★½☆☆