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USA 2012
Directed by
Tony Gilroy
135 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Bourne Legacy, The

Synopsis: Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) an operative for a secret US government agency has to fight for his life when his bosses decided to terminate anyone involved in a covert program jeopardized by Jason Bourne.

Action movies typically provide a rollercoaster ride of vicarious thrills. The best do so with a tongue-in-cheek spirit  and engaging characters. The worst are an escalating series of  SFX and stunt work, devoid of any trace of empathy. The Bourne Legacy falls pretty much in the middle ground. It’s formulaic, driven more by plot than its characters but the top-end production values make it acceptable-enough fare.

Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross is your standard action hero  - he can wrestle a wolf, dodge bullets and make a fake ID out of pretty much anything that happens to be lying around. He can organize flights, hire cars and find out everything he needs to know without ever having to use a phone. Rachel Weisz plays Dr Marta Shearing, a sexy research scientist who is caught in nefarious secret government doings and proves to come in handy when Aaron isn’t feeling too good. The Bourne Legacy is in one sense, the story of how they get together and end up in a South-East Asian archipelago ready to make a sequel. Both Renner and Weisz are interchangeable with any number of actors who have played similar roles before. I actually enjoyed Edward Norton’s character more – a cold-hearted mother, he speaks almost entirely in spy jive-talk as if the only contact with the world he has ever had is other action spy movies.

Tony Gilroy, who wrote the previous instalments and co-wrote this one with his brother, Dan, takes over the franchise’s directorial helm from Paul Greengrass, who in turn took it over Doug Liman. He keeps the pace intense and the mood suitably dour. There are some good action sequences with some parcour-style gymnastics and a climactic motor bike chase through the streets of Manila that, bar the occasional identifiable stunt double, is quite impressive. If that's all you're after you should be reasonably satisfied.

I have seen the previous Bourne movies but frankly I can’t really remember anything about them except for Matt Damon. His physical absence here is probably this instalment’s biggest weakness. As a legacy, it is largely something to remember him by.




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