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“Bourne Legacy”: Clever Premise, Lacks Story
Posted by LaDale Anderson on Aug 15, 2012 - 6:40:06 PM

HOLLYWOOD—The fourth chapter in the “Bourne” franchise is missing one critical element: Jason Bourne.  “The Bourne Legacy” may be missing star Matt Damon, but his presence lingers throughout the entire movie.  Filling in Damon’s shoes is Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a member of Operation Outcome, a black ops program which provides its agents with pills that enhance physical and mental abilities.  He’s on a mission in Alaska when he is ordered to be taken out by the organization he works for.  


This is where the movie has a bit of a slow start in my opinion.  The audience never quite knows exactly why Eric Byer (Edward Norton), CIA Director Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn) and Mark Turso (Stacy Keach) want Cross and the other agents eliminated.  It is believed some massive conspiracy is about to explode and the only way to cover it up is to eliminate everyone that is involved. 


An underlying theme is the factor that Jason Bourne is on the loose and in New York, at the same time everything else is transpiring.  Those who have seen “The Bourne Ultimatum” are well aware how that picture ends; we’re made to believe he’s died when we know he is still kicking and running.  There is that slight bit of hope that Jason Bourne himself will make a cameo in the picture, but that never happens.  Instead it’s a tense cat and mouse game that involves Cross and Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz).  Weisz is stellar in her role as a doctor on the edge of insanity after a colleague goes on a rampage murdering several co-workers and almost killing her.

Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross in "The Bourne Legacy."


The chemistry between Renner and Weisz is obvious on the screen and it works to the picture’s advantage to have that love story arc.   My biggest frustration with the picture was just why it was so important for them to take out Mr. Cross; it’s never really explained.   A lot of the dialogue may bore some of the impatient moviegoers, but I’ve seen much worse.  The other chapters in the franchise had a clear threat imminent throughout and the audience had a bit of an idea of where things would go; in this sequel not so much. 


The chase sequences are incredible. The climax involves two motorcycles and the streets of Milan which does exactly what the movie should do: keeping the audience on the edge of its seat.  Perhaps it was me, but Renner seemed a bit more polished, aggressive and deadly compared to Matt Damon’s character in the previous installments.  The physical beating he places on some agents, including a female will make you cringe to a degree, but also roar for the hero.  


“The Bourne Legacy” does not exceed its predecessors on the element of story alone. There are gaps that just do go in sync to make the audience feel the movie has a clear direction in mind.  Stars Renner, Weisz and Norton do exceptional work with there characters.  While Norton is the obvious baddie in the picture, he uses his dialogue as a weapon to threaten and scare people.  Would I ever hate to have him as a boss? “Legacy” loses a few points for cohesion, but it is an effective thriller that makes the audience think just how much power does the government have over the American people.


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