Continuing the Bourne story with The Bourne Legacy, we find a new character (as previously mentioned in my previous Bourne trilogy reviews) that is in the secret program Bourne was in (because there was never just one). I wasn’t sure how this story was going to play out when I first heard about the film, because you know, Matt Damon wasn’t in it. As it is, The Bourne Legacy was engaging and entertaining but not quite as thrilling as the original Bourne trilogy.
In this story Jeremy Renner plays Aaron Cross, a participant in the secret government program that enhances the participant’s mental and physical agility, who is still “training” at a secret facility. The events of this film coincide with the events of the last Bourne film (The Bourne Ultimatum). This made the film interesting to watch and at the same time a little confusing keeping the main Cross storyline straight with the Jason Bourne sub-storyline as the hunt was on for his capture.
Due to the rogue antics of Jason Bourne, the powers that be wanted to shut down the program and eliminate all remaining participants. They try to take out Cross at his training area but were unsuccessful. Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Albert Finney, and Edward Norton are in the cast as the leads of the secret program that would be considered the villain of the story, much like Joan Allen and Brian Cox were previously.
After the attempt to eradicate Cross at the facility, he runs to find the doctor he had previous contact with during the program, Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), because apparently she knows how to manufacture the pills he thinks he needs in order to stay at the top of his game. The program offered pills for the participants in order to keep them programmed and “trained” for what is needed of them. So, he needs pills. Dr. Shearing can make them. They travel across the world in order to get them made. That seems to be the main thrust of the story with Cross.
However, like the Bourne trilogy before, it seemed Cross was a step ahead and appeared nearly unstoppable as he was being pursued. I suppose that element has to exist in order for the film to exist, but if Cross was caught too soon then there wouldn’t be much of a film. So the chase scenes continued. Chase after chase, the hero eludes his pursuers and then we’re left with an ending similar to how each of the previous films ended with our hero seemingly bound to live a happy and free life away from the program.
Norton and company played their characters with precision and determination. They were nearly flawless in their actions within the story framework. Renner had conviction with his character that almost matched Damon’s as Bourne, but just a bit under par. Weisz was convincing as an unwitting participating doctor in the program. She had a bit of frailty to her character but also showed a strong will and ferocity when needed.
I think what missed for me was the slow start to the film. For me, it took a little bit for the action to get going and nearly lost me. Once Cross met up with Dr. Shearing, it did pick up but it still wasn’t quite enough to sustain my total interest as the other films did. As a stand alone film, it seemed quite entertaining, but as part of the Bourne universe it lacked some of the Bourne standards. Additionally, Legacy’s chase scenes (nearly a necessity for action films) were a bit much and had the appearance of going on and on like the Energizer Bunny. They didn’t have the same exciting appeal as the original Jason Bourne trilogy.