The Bourne Legacy

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The Bourne Legacy
The narrative architect behind the ‘Bourne’ film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: ‘The Bourne Legacy.’ The writer/director expands the ‘Bourne’ universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films.

For ‘The Bourne Legacy,’ Renner joins fellow series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles.

Review

It’s never easy for a new actor to take over the leading role in a popular franchise. But in ‘The Bourne Legacy,’ Jeremy Renner makes it look as effortless as he does outwitting powerful government agents, riddling baddies with bullets, and even beating a wolf in a fight.

‘Legacy’ is not a sequel, a prequel, a reboot, or a remake of Matt Damon’s ‘Bourne’ series. Instead, Aaron Cross (Renner) is a CIA black ops agent like Jason Bourne, who is frequently mentioned throughout the film. (There are hints that the two actors could conceivably join forces for a future flick.)

So what’s the connection? Well, since Bourne brought down Operation Blackbriar in ‘The Bourne Ultimatum,’ in ‘Legacy’ the CIA is axing the covert operation that Cross works for as well. Which means almost everyone involved in the shady program ends up dead…except Cross and beautiful neuroscientist Marta Shearling (Rachel Wiesz). The pair must flee halfway around the world to avoid being rubbed out as well—and of course, wicked chase sequences ensue.

‘The Bourne Legacy’ certainly delivers what you’d expect from a Bourne movie: action, suspense, and a head-scratchingly complex plot. The stoic, steely-eyed Renner makes a perfect bad-ass action hero, and Wiesz totally holds her own as his sidekick. Her brainy character is much stronger and more interesting than the tired old cliché of the helpless action-movie female.

If you haven’t seen Damon’s ‘Bourne’ trilogy, it’s worth catching up at home first, so you understand the backstory of ‘Legacy’ right away. But when it comes to the elements of a great action movie—shootouts! Careening motorcycles! Death-defying escapes!—’The Bourne Legacy’ definitely stands on its own.