Action Movies, by Mike Richardson, 25 August 2012

Director: Tony Gilroy

Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton

Country: USA

Runtime: 135 min

Release Date:

Language: English

Bourne number four (aka The Bourne legacy) strays even further from Robert Ludlum’s novels, and is centred on a new super spy whose life is put in peril from the agency who trained him, events triggered by the previous Damon-Bourne films.

The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy

It says a great deal about the accountants running the (so-called) dream factory film studios these days that despite the lack of the original directors (Paul Greengrass and Doug Liman) and star (Matt Damon) Bourne equals bucks and represents a safer bet than, y’know actually backing an original idea.
The original Bourne Identity film had precious little in common with the Ludlum book, but that hardly mattered as it garnered great reviews and gave Pierce Brosnan’s Bond (Die Another Day came out the same year as The Bourne Identity) some serious dirty Krav Magna fighting competition. The die was cast, the mould was set and the absence of Damon seems to matter little as the Bourne brand just keeps on trucking. Apparently, Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg.

Step #1 for Bourne Legacy was to find someone to fill Damon’s size nines, and legend (gossip) has it that, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Alex Pettyfer, Joel Edgerton, Taylor Kitsch, David Webb, Kellan Lutz, Josh Hartnett, Paul Dano, Stefan Drury, Luke Evans, Michael Pitt, Mark Simpson, Oscar Isaac, Benjamin Walker, Erryn Arkin and his dog were considered for the lead before Renner (Oscar hot after The Hurt Locker, and knocking on the bigtime door with Ghost Protocol and Avengers Assemble) stepped up.

Step #2 throw a spy story together. Bourne’s new director Tony Gilroy also wrote the first three movies and seems far too happy to recycle elements from these earlier films and a glut of other “they trained him – then they betrayed him- then they got their asses handed to them by him”, movies. Sadly the Bourne legacy adds far too much unintelligible Military Intelligence exposition about genetic super soldier engineering (yawn).
The Bourne Legacy starts with Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross (a typically airport novel tombola mix of names), who’s up in Alaska on a training exercise when his “shadowy government” bosses decide to terminate him. On that cliché Bourne Four is up and running.

There is the added dash of interest as Cross is nearly out of the (experimental) medication that keeps him strong (and smart), leading him to (sexy) scientist Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) to get his super soldier fix. Somewhat predictably the “sinister government agency” is also looking to terminate her, throwing hero and heroine together (come with me, if you want to live, Bourne (sorry Cross) might as well say) cue chases, lots of chases.

There’s nothing drastically wrong with the Bourne Legacy, Renner is perfectly watchable, Weisz is easy on the eye and ear and the action scenes (the meat and potatoes of any Bourne film) are competent, but at 135 minutes, it is at least half an hour too long, Edward Norton is underused, the inclusion of the Jason Bourne sub-plot device and the reintroduction of characters from previous Bournes is a little confusing. Overall The Bourne Legacy gets a C for performance and a D for effort.

The Bourne Legacy Trailer

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