The adage "you can never have too much of a good thing" is never more true with Hollywood, as the most recent instalment in the Bourne
saga, The Bourne Legacy
, hits our screens.
Set in parallel with the last film, The Bourne Ultimatum
, this is not so much a continuation but a separate entity, with some commonality across characters and plotlines.
The focus this time is on agent Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner
), one of the elite members of the Treadstone/Blackbriar special-ops program, who goes on the run after the order is given to eliminate all the agents within the program, to ensure an effective cover-up.
Along the way, Cross teams up with Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz
), one of the medical scientists whose job it was to develop the drugs required to keep all agents at an almost superhuman level of physical and mental agility, and the hunted pair must work together to survive.
Coming five years after the last Bourne
outing, and with a different leading man and director, questions were being asked as to how successfully Legacy
would be able to continue the excellent standard for the spy thrillers set by former director Paul Greengrass
and action man Matt Damon
with the first three films.
Director Tony Gilroy
, who was also one of the writers for the previous three Bournes
, does a sound job here. The story moves at a fast clip, the locations are stylishly shot and the action sequences are well executed, especially the superb motorbike chase through the streets of Manila.
channels focused intensity as Eric Bayer, the retired colonel who knows that one loose end would mean catastrophe for the CIA, and Rachel Weisz is well cast as Dr Shearing, playing a "damsel in distress" role exactly as expected.
The slight let-down though is Jeremy Renner. He has undoubtedly established himself as a bona fide action star, with a superb turn in The Hurt Locker
, as well as Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
and, most recently, The Avengers
However, whereas Matt Damon was able to combine raw violence and vulnerability as Bourne, making us believe in him and cheer for him; Renner's Aaron Cross seems much more aloof and the viewer never really gets the feeling for what really drives him.
Cross is brutally effective at what he does, but the almost mechanical way he goes about executing each scene (and, occasionally, people) does eventually get a little repetitive.
No real insight, apart from some scattered and fleeting flashbacks, is provided into who he is, making it hard for the audience to connect with the character.
Perhaps the producers are saving that for future instalments, if the gapingly wide-open ending is anything to go by.
This is however, a minor criticism and overall, The Bourne Legacy
is a solid, if slightly underwhelming, return for the franchise.
MovieFIX interview: Jeremy Renner on why he didn't need to get in shape for Bourne
Watch the trailer