The Bourne Legacy
Jeremy Renner takes over from Matt Damon in excellent sequel 1 Reviews
No offence to Matt Damon, whose sinewy physicality provides its own kind of charisma, but do action heroes come any duller than amnesia-stricken supersoldier Jason Bourne? The more this humourless cipher learned about his mysterious past, over the course of three brisk, mechanically efficient chase pictures, the less interesting he became. So it’s a relief, not a liability, that the titular operative makes only a photographic cameo in The Bourne Legacy, which passes the torch to a new CIA lab rat gone rogue.
Introduced in the middle of Alaskan training, chemically enhanced field agent Aaron Cross immediately registers as a more vulnerable and sympathetic protagonist than his predecessor. Much of that has to do with the fact that he’s played by Hurt Locker headliner – and the Mission: Impossible franchise’s new leading man – Jeremy Renner, who lends a human heartbeat to a franchise that has long trafficked in coldly impersonal spy games.
After a crowded first act, partially set during the events of 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum and featuring enough global setting changes to give audiences jet lag, Cross discovers he’s a marked man. Going on the run from his makers, he eventually joins forces with a government scientist (Weisz) also on the execution list.
Director and series screenwriter Tony Gilroy makes these familiar plot points feel fresh again, staging the requisite set pieces – rooftop escape, metropolitan car chase – with a new-found clarity that’s a long way from the handheld incoherence of Paul Greengrass’s Bourne films. A too-abrupt ending lays the groundwork for more Bourne adventures, but that’s not such a depressing proposition, if we can expect future sequels to be as satisfying as this one. AA DowdBy Time Out staff
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