Film Review – The Bourne Legacy (2012)

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There was never just one’, a great tagline and a good way to guide us into the world of Aaron Cross Treadstone’s latest guinea pig and the ‘other one’ in the world of Jason Bourne. The question is are you ready to step back into Jason’s world even with the departure of Matt Damon and franchise director Paul Greengrass, but will you   accept the change? With a new approach, a new agent, the same universe have the succeed with The Bourne Legacy or simply created a cash cow but nothing more?

Set during the events of Bourne Ultimatum Jeremy Renner plays Aaron Cross the guinea pig of Operation Iceberg a black ops operation of super soldiers who are controlled by special medication increasing their mental and psychical abilities. But if he has no refills or just misses a dose things can go wrong for Cross even go as far as killing him but when Jason Bourne starts to lift the veil on Operation Treadstone, Blackbriar Retired Colonel Eric Bryer (Edward Norton) is brought in to stop the full exposure of CIA’s clandestine operations and the only way to control the situation is to take out all the agents including Aaron Cross. After escaping one assassination Cross finds himself on the run with Dr Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who herself a target of an assassination goes on the run with Cross who saved and she happens to posses the knowledge to help Cross medically.

The problem when make a film that’s either meant to be a prequel or sequel from a franchise loved by many like Bourne but actually doesn’t have the protagonist the franchise is named after  you could say your making things a little hard for yourself. Your biggest challenge is to convince the hardcore fans as well as critics your film is worthy addition to that franchise or for that matter to be actually be considered a Bourne film. Apart from a few familiar faces (David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Albert Finney), imagery, references but it’s slightly questionable use of those characters who are limited cameo appearances. When you have an actor of the stature of Albert Finney in the cast its a little disrespectful when you give him a cameo of 30 seconds which is only in a YouTube video.

Keeping with the cast and the new additions and Rachel Weisz particular  Marta Shearing she has a Bourne franchise familiarity. Like Maria (Franka Potence) in the original film her character’s life is turned upside down when her path crosses Bourne’s forcing her to go on the run. Marta herself ends up going on the run with Aaron  however this time  Marta has a purpose  apart from staying alive she keeps Aaron running with answers to his medication.

We mustn’t forget Jeremy Renner  as Aaron Cross he deliver a good solid job proving he can match Jason Bourne in skills & ability as well as have his own identity. Edward Norton as Eric Byer proves he’s a ruthless son of a gun who looks like he’ll be a worthy nemesis just a shame he’s underused but if sequels are on the cards Cross and Byer will have a fisticuffs showdown to look forward too.

What may frustrate franchise fans is the films pace. Whilst previous films took a frantic approach, The Bourne Legacy  takes a more of a subtle but fast at times approach which knows when to slow down and when to liven things up which is in a way reminiscent to many of the 1970’s gritty thrillers actors such as Gene Hackman made a name for themselves starring in. If your thinking that’s not Jason Bourne style director Tony Gilroy throws in a an old style Bourne action like the extended Indonesian bike scene or the roof scene. Probably the next crime is the plot/script which looses the kinetic energy of the previous films, it’s like Jason or Aaron have used it as target practice leaving so many holes making many scenes feel half-hearted leaving asking questions of what you just watched. Even Renner and Weisz’s character’s relationship does feel underwhelming making you think did Gilroy have an eye on sequels rather than concentrate on the present?

The Bourne Legacy may not be compelling enough for hardcore Bourne fans but the film is the intelligent film whilst the original films been the ‘Braun’ of the franchise, the action side of things. This film feels like another Prometheus, fans expecting all out action like what’s gone before but end up with something completely different. If your going to enjoy The Bourne Legacy don’t get yourself into a frame of mind expecting  wall to wall Jason Bourne action, this is a Aaron Cross film which is more grounded, it  will have action but you’ll have to wait for the future films .


Action, Mystery | USA, 2012 | 12A |3rd December 2012 (UK) | Universal Pictures | Dir.Tony Gilroy | Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach |Buy:The Bourne Legacy (DVD + Digital Copy + UV Copy) /Blu-ray( + Digital Copy + UV Copy)