Matt Damon is out; Jeremy Renner is in as the latest Bourne film tells us that there was never just one.
The Bourne Legacy runs parallel to the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, we are told that because of Bourne’s actions another program called Outcome will be terminated and that includes all of its assets. When one such asset Renner’s Aaron Cross, survives an attack to kill him, he and Rachel Weisz’s scientist Marta go on the run.
The Bourne Legacy starts off slow as it establishes new characters and story for the audience to become accustomed to but picks up once Eric Byer (a phone-it-in performance by Edward Norton) gives the order to terminate Outcome.
As the new lead of the Bourne series Jeremy Renner is solid as Aaron Cross, if a little undeveloped by the script. A bit more of a backstory would have been welcomed. All we really know about him is that he is dependent on the medical drugs Outcome gives its participants and his determination to find more of the drugs he has lost. However he is convincing in the action sequences and has a nice chemistry with Weisz. Hopefully any future instalments will flesh out his character further.
Rachel Weisz Marta is a good addition to the series. She may need Aaron’s help to survive but becomes more adaptable and quick thinking as the film progresses and tries to help out Aaron where she can. She gives a realistic portrayal of a normal woman caught up in an abnormal situation.
What the series’ most misses is Paul Greengrass. While Tony Gilroy’s (the series writer) direction is fine the film lacks Greengrass’ pace and energy leaving the film sluggish at times. The film definitely improves as it goes along with some good action scenes such as the tense shootout in Marta’s lab and a frenzied chase along the rooftop and streets of Manila. It was actually disappointing when the film ended as it seemed to really find its feet in the last act.
Overall this film may lag behind this year’s other summer blockbusters, but now that it’s established its new characters hopefully the next Bourne film will set pulses racing again.
3/5 Not a bad effort but hopefully enough time to improve things for the next instalment.