A Jason Bourne-less (and Matt Damon-less) Bourne movie didn’t appeal to me when I first heard that The Bourne Legacy, the fourth in the series, would be switching gears to tell the story of Aaron Cross, another rogue CIA agent (played by Jeremy Renner). My instincts were right, as The Bourne Legacy is a bloated mess that not only lost me in the first five minutes, but dragged on for another 130-minutes with only a handful of scenes worth looking at the screen for.
The biggest issue with The Bourne Legacy is that it painfully attempts to fill us in on what Jason Bourne is up to while focusing on new characters and a new storyline. Bourne really has nothing to do with this story and it only mucks things up for the viewer more than it should (if you thought the previous films were confusing, you’re in for a real treat). With regards to the new plot, nothing is explained properly and all we know is that this Aaron Cross guy is on some CIA superdrug programme that is being shutdown and he needs to die.
Renner is a great actor, as he’s proven in films like The Town and The Hurt Locker, and he definitely saves The Bourne Legacy from being a complete waste of time. He pulls off action scenes wonderfully and can be charming and funny when he needs to be. If the script wasn’t such a disaster he’d be just fine carrying a spin-off series. Where it stands though, he needs to pack his bags and jump ship to a better spy franchise quickly.
In supporting roles, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton do their best with what they’re given, but ultimately fail at connecting with the audience. This is a shame considering they’re both strong actors and should have been used to their talents better.
While this is Tony Gilroy’s first Bourne film in the director’s chair, he wrote the previous films in the series and is no stranger to the franchise. Maybe the pressure of writing and directing got to him and he flaked out, as both are done very poorly here and he’s delivered a giant dud.
To end on a high note, there is a spectacular motorcycle chase scene near the end that is almost worth the price of admission alone. If only the movie around it didn’t suck so bad.
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz
Directed by: Tony Gilroy
Top image: A scene from The Bourne Legacy. Courtesy Universal Studios.