The Bourne Legacy is the fourth film in the Bourne franchise, but it is the first to completely exclude Jason Bourne. Instead, it focuses on Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner). Cross is another agent who was created by “Operation Outcome”, the program that spawned Bourne. After the explosive repercussions from the first three movies, the agency has ordered that all of the agents be eliminated. While The Bourne Legacy may have some twists and turns within the plot, it is mostly comprised of Cross running from one location to another. During his evasion, he runs into Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz). Shearing is part of the scientific team that creates and modifies the enhancement drugs to fuel their super agents. After saving her life, Cross and Shearing begin a frantic journey to escape the grasp of their superiors and expose the program.
The Bourne Legacy features a star-studded cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Joan Allen, and Oscar Isaac. Surprisingly, out of all of these top actors and actresses, none of them seem to shine in their roles. Renner gives surprising depth to his character, but it isn’t enough to create an emotional connection with the audience. The chemistry between Renner and Weisz fizzles, due to the unbelievable circumstance of their relationship. Norton plays the Ret. Colonel Byer, who is attempting to learn how deep the program went and contain any more destruction. Oscar Isaac was put into the role of another agent, who attempts to help Cross early on, but only has a few scenes in the film. This is a shame, because he played one of the few genuinely interesting characters. Overall, the cast does well enough to get the job done, but lacks any real heart.
The problem with The Bourne Legacy is that it lacks the depth and intrigue that made the previous trilogy so exciting. Jason Bourne had to seek the truth behind his time as an Agent and discover the secret agenda of the program, but none of this transfers to the new film. The Bourne Legacy had no politics, no higher meanings, and no plot beyond Cross running away. It boiled down into another generic action film, giving plenty for your eyes to look at, but very little for your brain to process. The action, on the other hand, is in perfect keeping with the Bourne franchise. The fight scenes are fast and technical, allowing Renner to show off his physical prowess. Between the missile strikes, poison pills, and high powered firearms, The Bourne Legacy is sure to satisfy any cravings for excitement you may have.
Another detriment to The Bourne Legacy is that it brings very little to the Bourne franchise. With no real connection to the previous films, it doesn’t advance the plot of the series. Unless they create another trilogy with Renner taking the lead, it really serves no purpose. It feels like a generic action-thriller with the Bourne name stamped on its forehead. Legacy certainly leaves the plot open enough for a sequel, but I’m not sure if it really warrants another movie. In the two hour runtime, the film progressed relatively little.
Legacy is well shot, for an action movie. It tiptoes the fine line between quick cut action sequences and stylized flashbacks. The cinematography was only able to be noticed during the action scenes, since the rest of the film is akin to most other thrillers. Also, the soundtrack lends very little to the film, except something to occupy your ears during the scenes without dialogue.
The Bourne Legacy sticks out from the franchise, being the least thoughtful and most expensive to make. While I’m not itching for a sequel, it would help to blend Legacy into the franchise and add some depth to Aaron Cross. I can’t help but feel that Legacy was an unnecessary addition. You may no be bored during the film, but fans of the Bourne trilogy will be sorely disappointed by this shallow sequel.
I give The Bourne Legacy 3 ”Wolf Seeking Missiles” out of 5
By Blake Edwards