“The Bourne Legacy” is the first Jason Bourne flick that doesn’t actually feature Jason Bourne. Matt Damon decided to leave the franchise after “The Bourne Ultimatum”. After seeing this movie I wish the studio had also decided to go out on a high note. Instead they have repackaged the brand, brought in Jeremy Renner to play a new agent and handed the directing duties to the franchise’s writer, Tony Gilroy.
The plot does’t really follow up the Bourne story. It sort of takes place during the events of the previous movie. As the movie opens we meet Aaron Cross, played by Renner, as he is trekking across the Alaskan wilderness. He seems to be self training. We then scroll across the country to the CIA headquarters as they are dealing with the fallout from the Jason Bourne fiasco. Ed Norton plays a high up operative who makes the decision to have the whole program terminated. This involves murdering their agents and killing any scientist that were involved, including Rachel Weisz.
The attempt on Renner doesn’t go so well and he comes back with a vengeance in an attempt to find out who tried to take him out and why. Eventually he hooks up with Weisz since she was the scientist assigned to his case. Together they go across the country, battling agents and getting in to car chases.
The problem I had is that this movie does not add anything to the franchise. We already know how this is going to play out because it ties in to events that we have already experienced. In all honesty, as good as Jeremy Renner is in the role, I actually found Matt Damon to be more thoughtful. I think that has a lot to do with the screenplay as well.
Tony Gilroy, who wrote the first three films in the franchise, takes over the directing duties this time. I think some how the screenplay got away from him and he refused to cut anything out because the film is over two hours and most of it consists of dialogue scenes that push the plot along at a snails pace. There is way too much exposition and not enough actual emotion and subtley.
The worst part about this is that the film doesn’t contain any real suspense or urgency. Even the villains are underdeveloped and weak. Take for example a specialty agent they call in to hunt down Renner’s character. He comes on screen late in the movie, contains no dialogue, chases and chases like the road runner then meets his maker. No development at all.
Hollywood really needs a shot of inspiration because the years are becoming too dominated by franchises. This is a fourth film in a series that should of ended at three. There have to be some original ideas and voices out there. Tony Gilroy directed “Michael Clayton” and “Duplicity” before this and regardless of what your opinion on those movies is, you cannot deny that they were original stories with original characters. Why did he sign up for this movie?