AT first viewing, The Bourne Legacy feels like a macho man’s film. Car chase, motorcycle chase, run, run, trek the Alaskan mountains, some genetic mumbo-jumbo, some spy-and-gun talk, and the hero finally saves himself and a woman, whose job seems just to follow him, and fall in love.
Expanding on the series created by Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Legacy is an original screenplay and story by Tony Gilroy, who wrote the three earlier instalments.
In this new story, there is no Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. But there is character actor, Jeremy Renner (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,The Hurt Locker, The Town) as the new hero, Aaron Cross in this Bourne treatise.
The tale is a little complicated for me because you need to sift through a lot of talking for the first 20 minutes to get a half-decent grasp of what the film is all about.
It’s basically about what goes on in the backroom of the CIA, more than the spy or field operative throwing bombs and killing people as part of a Save The Planet mission.
Leading the “backroom” operation is a cold-blooded guy Eric Byer, brilliantly portrayed by Edward Norton (of American History X fame).
It turns out that Cross is part of a programme called Outcome whose operatives have been genetically modified — without their own knowledge.
The modifications are controlled by them continuing to pop just two pills — one blue, the other green.
Then, someone somewhere decided to infect them with viruses that can internalise these modifications. Nice touch of a Robin Cook medical thriller thrown in, I feel, to make this less of a 007 movie.
But Cross runs out of the pills. And Outcome is to be shut down because of Jason Bourne’s previous muck-up under Treadstone (another covert operative programme).
So Cross tracks down Dr Marta Shearing (played by Rachel Weisz), saves her during a shootout at her house and they go to Manila to get their hands on the virus.
Here’s where the action goes into overdrive. The chasing by another enhanced spy, LARX #3 (another programme) played by Louis Ozawa Changchien (Predators), is too long, even if he plays his villainous role well.
While Albert Finney, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, among others, get to ably reprise their Bourne roles, is Renner as this new hero of the action celluloid world likeable? Yes. If you remember Gerard Butler of 300, and consequently The
Bounty Hunter (with Jennifer Aniston) then you know what Renner’s appeal is all about.
The Bourne Legacy is watchable not just for Renner but also because of a clever plot. The film is actually good enough for a second look.
THE BOURNE LEGACY
Directed by Tony Gilroy
Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn
Duration 135 mins