- Critic rating
Movies.ie Critic Review
In the wake of Treadstone being dragged into the public eye, Eric Byer (Edward Norton) decides to shut down the training programme by killing off all active agents. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) must fight for his survival.
The tagline of The Bourne Legacy tells us There was never just one, and this seems to be the whole explanation for the movie. There were more agents being trained and primed like Jason Bourne, and one such agent must fight for his life as the programme is shut down. Jeremy Renner stars as Aaron Cross, a former US soldier who was drafted into Treadstone after his death was faked. Renner proved earlier this year with his role in Avengers Assemblethat he is capable of taking on an action film and doing it justice, and he continues to prove this in The Bourne Legacy. Renner is convincing in the role of a super soldier, but he is let down by a script and story that is less than satisfying.
Cross joins forces with one of the engineers of the ‘chems’ that help to create the soldiers strength and skill – Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) – and together they fight to stay alive. Weisz does not stretch herself in the role, although her interactions with Renner feel warm and real. Since his turn as Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk, it seems to have all gone wrong for Edward Norton. Once a strong actor and star of some fantastic movies, Norton has been reduced to shouting in control rooms in The Bourne Legacy. Thankfully, he was wonderful in Moonrise Kingdom this year, and this may go some way to forgiving him for Skyping in his performance in this film.
The previous Bourne films were known for their complex and gripping stories, but it seems that the writers of The Bourne Legacy just gave up. The first hour of the film is spent tracking Renner through Alaska as he stares at the landscape and outwits wolves, and the rest is a mad dash through Manila in order to cement his new ‘super powers’. The pacing is all over the place, and while some of the set pieces are fun to watch, this does not make up for a slow start and a paper-thin story.
Director Tony Gilroy – who also penned the script – proved with Michael Clayton that he had an eye for the screen. Sadly his follow up, Duplicity, was less than impressive, and The Bourne Legacy is equally as disappointing. None of the actors are allowed to stretch themselves – although it is clear that Renner enjoyed the action sequences – and the audience finds themselves unable to root for the lead character as he is written too broad and too mysterious for them to relate to. It is sad to say, but it seems that Michael Clayton was a one off touch of genius for Gilroy.
In all, The Bourne Legacy proves two things; Jeremy Renner is a rising star who is comfortable in the world of action, and that the Bourne franchise should have been left to die with the departure of Matt Damon. Much like Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, this is a weak and disappointing fourth instalment in a franchise, and one that was not needed. Renner has moments of greatness, but if this is the legacy left by Jason Bourne, it is a poor and disappointing one.
Review by Brogen Hayes