Without going too extreme and taking the franchise to new heights that wouldn’t fall into place correctly with its predecessor, The Bourne Legacy does fill the gap and gives us something to look forward to… a fifth Bourne.
New “action hero kid on the block”, Jeremy Renner digs deep to play Aaron Cross, a soon-to-be rogue agent from another secret programme just like Bourne’s Treadstone, named Outcome. With the potential to be even more deadly than Jason Bourne himself, we are introduced to a very rugged version, training out in Alaska. Beard or no beard, with his in-control mannerism, manly stance and macho charisma, Renner is still instantly turning heads.
Starting where The Bourne Ultimatum started-ish, The Bourne Legacy runs along with Ultimatum, where the Guardian Journalist gets killed and Bourne is still on the loose. Because of Bourne’s interference, this causes the government to clamp down, and the programme must eliminate their own people. So basically Jason Bourne had put them all in a right pickle of a situation. What makes a change is that unlike Bourne, who didn’t know who he was; Cross knows exactly who is and what he does. Where does this leave Cross? After intelligently escaping his near death experience, Cross is forced to go on the run, dragging along Outcome scientist Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz). Unfortunately for her, she was only involved with the programme for “the science” however; Cross needs her to stay alive because of the special drugs that enhances him physically and intelligently, aka makes him smarter, quicker and stronger, so after a brutal massacre, she is his only hope. Quite like the other Bourne films, the action takes you to different parts of the world. This time it’s Manila in the Philippines.
Without it being too easy, Edward Norton plays Byer, the man chosen to eliminate Cross with the help from Turso, played by Stacy Keach. Joan Allan and Albert Finney cameo themselves, reprising the roles of CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy and the mastermind of Treadstone Dr Albert Hirsch.
Though it was quite a talkative script with a lot of references to its scientific foundation, the action sequences were very enjoyable with the intensity and sophistication still present, giving it that Bourne glamour. It gets you out of your seat at times. The reaction of the audience in the cinema as they were happening says it all. High speed, close encountered fight sequences, and a quite lengthy chase near the end really took the film to its climax and topped it off. Renner is undoubtedly not a newbie on the motorbike, or with a bow and arrow in The Avengers… is there something he can’t do well?
What helped the film along and not make it sink dramatically like the Titanic was the fact that the Bourne Team was still there, the only ones really not present were Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. Fight co-ordinator Jeff Imada still brought the same style of fighting (martial arts based on Filipino discipline Kali) to the screen that basically doesn’t mess around. Its aim is to the take the person out quickly, and not for a coffee.
Being directed this time by Tony Gilroy, it wasn’t Chinese to him as he had scripted all four films, and you know what? He did a pretty good job, better than expected.
As they are playing two different characters, from two different programmes, it’s quite hard to compare both Renner and Damon, though some have already and pin pointed Damon as the better man. However Renner has shown he is now our modern day action hero and should certainly try to get some more roles in this category. It’s quite like Damon himself.
What needs to happen next to take the Bourne series to the next level is to bring Matt Damon/Jason Bourne back for the next instalment to have a Bourne/Cross collaboration (Renner has already said that he has signed up for future Bourne films)… It’s a must! This would fit in perfectly with the story. That would probably be the ultimate Bourne.