The Bourne Legacy (2012)

The Bourne Legacy (2012)
  • Time: 135 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Mystery
  • Director: Tony Gilroy
  • Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton


The fourth installment of the highly successful Bourne series sidelines main character Jason Bourne in order to focus on a fellow estranged assassin Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner). The story centers on new CIA operative, Aaron Cross as he experiences life-or-death stakes that have been triggered by the previous actions of Jason Bourne. Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz co-star, with Joan Allen and Albert Finney reprising their roles from the previous films.


  • I’ve seen the 3 previous “Bourne”-movies, and they were all better than this one. Jeremy Renner did his best, but it was not the same without Matt Damon. It never felt like seeing a “Bourne”-movie at all. Rachel Weisz, on the other hand, was great. It’s obvious I preferred the previous ones, I missed a good story and more suspense…

  • This movie is exactly what it needed to be.

    I know some people are disappointed about Matt Damon’s absence from the newest Bourne installment, but frankly, I don’t miss him. The first three movies were great, but (particularly after TDKR) I really am not interested in seeing anymore despondent, heartbroken, angry bad-ass types beating up on nameless extras. Frankly, this felt like a satisfying fan-fiction version of Jason Bourne. Not quite a reboot, just reimagining the same basic plotline with more accessible characters.

    Jeremy Renner (Aaron Cross) is absolutely perfect. He never stoops to cliche one-liners, but he manages to bring humor to his scenes through his dry delivery and incredulous expressions. The fact that he knows who he is and the life he chose makes his motivations much more simple, which I found refreshing after all the sturm und drang of the Bourne trilogy.

    His chemistry with Rachel Weisz was sweet, and thankfully not overdone. Though it really only worked because the leads (and Renner in particular) were so inherently likable, since aside from him rescuing the helpless damsel they don’t get much in the way of development.

    As far as the action – which I felt was so lacking in Total Recall – it’s quick enough to feel chaotic and tense, but still easy enough to follow. It was also engaging and satisfying enough to get a few cheers and “WHOOA!”s out of the audience. The pacing of the rest of the story works well too; the slower exposition is juxtaposed against more exciting scenes; the backstory is given to us in small doses throughout the present action, but it never feels like we’re strung along or missing a critical piece of information. This is not a drawn-out mystery like the earlier films, it’s just a fun thrill ride.

    My only big complaint would be that the movie just… ends. I felt like we had just passed the first minor challenge/chase, and our heroes would regroup, then go in for the big fight scene or final confrontation. I also think that the lead-up to Renner’s viral MacGuffin could have used a little more suspense; aside from shaking his head and daydreaming for a microsecond, he never seems to show any signs that he’s in withdrawal or otherwise feeling the loss of his meds.

    But those are relatively minor issues, considering I got 2+ hours of action and entertainment, with a few chuckles along the way. Highly enjoyable summer action flick!

  • “Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg.”

    For the last decade, the Bourne franchise has been arguably the definitive series to beat when it comes to delivering the mechanics, both structural and cinematic, of modern spy films.

    Since The Bourne Identity (2002) hit theaters with a resounding box-office bang with star Matt Damon and director Doug Liman, who passed on the directorial baton to Paul Greengrass for The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), the franchise has given new impetus and styling to films about espionage, national security, and trained assassins, while at the same time retaining the mainstream entertainment value of the genre, best represented over the last half-century by the ubiquitous James Bond films.

    The title of the franchise’s latest incarnation hints of a deeper emphasis on the impact of Jason Bourne’s persistent existence on the national security policies and execution of the controversial medical-intelligence programme designed to alter the physical and neural-behavioural manners of its ‘programme participants’.

    The Bourne Legacy does its best to give audiences a third-party view of the panic Jason Bourne has created, by following two narrative threads, one running parallel to the events that happened in The Bourne Ultimatum, and the other focusing on Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a ‘programme participant’ primed for assassination by covert agents in a bid to remove evidence and close down operations.

    Written and directed by Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote the screenplays for the previous three installments, The Bourne Legacy is an assured action spy thriller. It is well-directed with good performances by Renner and especially Rachel Weisz, who plays a scientist who suffers a traumatic experience, and inevitably becomes Cross’ love interest and more.

    While there is less intense drama and lingering suspense as compared to its predecessors, The Bourne Legacy makes up for them with some excellent action sequences, most notably the third act, which is an entire, lengthy action set-piece by itself.

    The Bourne Legacy echoes the style and spirit of the Bourne franchise, albeit inconsistently. It may also be accused of being derivative of Ultimatum’s blend of rooftop foot chases and motorbike chases, as if Gilroy is trying to outdo Greengrass’ stupendous display of technique and skill in crafting intricate and intense action.

    Still, I enjoyed the film for what it’s worth, though I must warn that The Bourne Legacy will not make sense to newcomers without some knowledge of the screen versions of the Bourne franchise. There are also some unnecessary medical and scientific jargon added that will bore viewers.

    In my opinion, Gilroy has done his best film yet after the severely overrated Michael Clayton (2007) and the delightfully-flawed Duplicity (2009). For a Hollywood blockbuster, this is decent offering, a mile better than movies like Salt (2010). If it is anything to note, Gilroy is an improving filmmaker, and I’m interested in a fifth ‘Bourne’ picture if Gilroy puts his name on it.

    Verdict: An assured action spy thriller that echoes the spirit of the Bourne franchise, but remains derivative.

    GRADE: B (7.5/10)

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