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The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy

Released 13 August 2012
Director Tony Gilroy

Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz, Donna Murphy, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, David Strathairn, Paddy Considine
Writer(s) Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy

Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall, Ben Smith, Jeffrey M. Weiner
Origin United States
Running Time 135 minutes
Genre Action, adventure, thriller
Rating 12A

Bourne loser.

The Bourne series has been groundbreaking in a number of ways but effectively it helped take the action-thriller genre to the next level. More realistic than the likes of James Bond and Mission Impossible, each progressive edition to the initial trilogy built upon and surpassed the glories of the last. But this fourth instalment was always going to boast even more pressure than its predecessors with the absence of original star Matt Damon and the inclusion of new hero Jeremy Renner. While it definitely wasn’t a failure, Legacy ultimately has to be judged against the other three and on that basis it fell well below par.

Jason Bourne is still missing and unaccounted for so the new breed of agents take centre stage. The only problem is that, after the mess that Bourne made, the CIA is intent on wiping out all the records of their secret project – meaning total annihilation of all remaining agents and any scientists who worked on the development of a set of human-growth pills, intended to make their men the ultimate soldiers. After Aaron Cross (Renner) and Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) luckily escape their fate, the pair join forces in an effort to escape the hands of those in power intent on playing god.

If taken as a single entity, and it can be, this film has just enough thrills, chases, fight scenes and premise to make it an enjoyable action flick. But most people are inevitably going to compare it to the other trio as well as Renner to Damon, which honestly is fair enough. In that case, all those thrills and spills fall just that little bit short. The acting isn’t as taut, the story isn’t as tensely moving, the action scenes are nowhere near as slick and polished – all of the above are what we had come to expect from the franchise.

Furthermore, what happened to the sense of realism that was so refreshingly engaging before? At one point, a super breed of agent that has not been fully tested yet is unleashed to try and prevent the two protagonists and, I swear, there were a few scenes where it was almost as if I was watching Terminator. If that’s where they are going from here the scriptwriters and producers will have to tread very, very carefully.

That said, the continuing floating reference to Bourne himself and the cameos from some of the older characters were a nice touch and the overall story moved along nicely enough to suggest that if there was ever a film made with both Damon and Renner it would have the potential to be a barnstormer! As is obvious, mixed emotions about this one but the The Bourne Legacy is still a decent, albeit worst, addition to the series.

- David Caulfield