With both Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass having moved onto pastures new, you’d think there wouldn’t be any life left in the Bourne franchise. Well, you’d be wrong! What are you? Thick or something? Taking a page right of Splash Too‘s handbook, Tony Gilroy (Screenwriter for Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum) has written and directed a sequel that has no regard for simple complications like original cast members.
Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is a physically and mentally enhanced member of black ops defence programme, Operation Outcome, who finds himself embroiled in a game of cat and mouse when Jason Bourne’s actions in Ultimatum lead to his CIA employers trying to cover their tracks by taking out their employees. Taking control of operation ‘Ooh, hope CNN doesn’t find out’ is Eric Byer (Edward Norton), an agent who specialises in tidying up some of the agencies biggest mistakes. Caught in the middle is Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), who works at the very government sponsored plant that manufactures and distributes the drugs, or ‘chems’, that make Cross the A-1 ass kicker and lateral thinker he is.
There’s a medical adage that says if you hear hoof beats, think horses not zebra. However, in the case of Legacy. If you hear hoof beats, think the complete opposite. There are a lot of similarities between Legacy and the original trilogy that make you think you’re watching a Bourne film, but it’s all a massive optical illusion. This is not a Bourne film.
To begin with Cross is no Bourne. Whilst Bourne was in danger of tripping over his own furrowed brow, Cross is a peacock displaying his feathers and strutting around, jumping off roofs, trading quips, jumping onto motorbikes, jumping off motorbikes and gleefully breaking the necks of underpaid security guards. If Cross is part of the Bourne Legacy, then he’s the second cousin that turns up for Granpa’s will-reading with a beer in one hand and a blonde in the other.
Then there’s the whole super-human powers Cross has. Starting off as a below average soldier presumed dead, Cross has been put on a series of medication that heightens his IQ and makes him an indestructible ball-breaker. What does any of that have to do with Bourne? Well, to be honest, nothing. There’s a throwaway line about how Bourne was an original ‘pre-med’ soldier, but that just serves to insult your intelligence. Gilroy assuming that you need a reason for Bourne’s abilities from the last three films.
The actions scenes are adequate, but after the nth uber-solder is sent out to take out Cross, it all becomes a bit like a computer game. One of them is called Larx-03 for goodness sake. LOADING: Level 5 – Will you be able to escape the might of Larx-03! So, when you’re not pressing up, up, down, down, left, right, B, A , Start, what are you left with? Basically, a more than adequate action film. It just loses a large amount of points for piggybacking on another franchise. It’s like siphoning Tesco Value Cola into a can of Pepsi. The Bourne Legacy is to the Bourne franchise what Kanye West is to subtlety; absolutely bugger all. Watch it as a dumb and fun summer pleaser, don’t watch it for anything else. You will be disappointed.