Latest 'Bourne' Is Not Much Of A 'Legacy'
The Bourne Legacy, the fourth installment of the Bourne series, fits the bill of a traditional summer action movie with its high-energy action sequences, marquee names and loose plot. But writer and director Tony Gilroy, who collaborated on the previous three Bourne films, misses the mark in the latest sequel.
When Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) comes upon a lone cabin in the Alaskan woods near the beginning of the film, he looks the part of an invincible man, having scaled mountains and fended off a pack of vicious wolves. But Cross has a glaring Kryptonite-like weakness. He is a product of Operation Outcome, a program connected to the Treadstone Project that is responsible for Jason Bourne, played in the original trilogy by Matt Damon. The program keeps its agents on a short leash by making them dependent on green and blue pills to enhance their intelligence and physical endurance (which is the key to one of the film's few intrigues). By the time Cross reaches the cabin, he has lost his blue pills. If he doesn’t get them soon, he will rapidly regress from near-superhuman to common man. Cross’ problem isn’t helped by the fact that Treadstone ultimately decides to shut down the program, killing off its super agents one by one. From then on, Cross begins a race against time, not only for his pills, but also his survival. And so the chase begins.
The Bourne Legacy essentially asks: “How does our past impact our present identity?” The film brings this impossible question to the forefront as we learn who Aaron Cross used to be and why he needs those blue pills so badly. As Cross’ past threatens to overtake him, so the film begins to escalate. Unfortunately, this crescendo never reaches a full climax and the final 45 minutes are wasted on a frantic chase scene.
Renner is the lone bright spot in this otherwise aimless movie filled with highly talented, yet underused actors like Edward Norton in the role of Eric Byer, the man shutting down the program, and Rachel Weisz as Cross' only ally, Dr. Marta Shearing. In fact, it is a stellar performance like this in an otherwise forgettable film that affirms Renner as a legitimate action star, for he exhibits the rare quality of being able to remain captivating on screen even though the movie drags on far too long, with a total running time of over two hours.
Ultimately, The Bourne Legacy spoon-feeds the answers to its major questions rather than encouraging the audience to piece together the mystery as the film progresses. The outstanding action sequences and Renner’s performance are not enough to salvage this lukewarm summer blockbuster.