“The Bourne Legacy”: Jeremy Renner needs his fix

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“The Bourne Legacy”: Jeremy Renner needs his fix

By Wesley Emblidge and Wesley Emblidge

When Matt Damon stepped away from the Bourne franchise, that should have been the end of it. No Damon, no Bourne. Unfortunately that’s not the sensible world we live in. Rather we live in one where actors no longer hold as much power as a brand name. People didn’t see “The Dark Knight Rises” because of Christian Bale, they saw it because it was a Batman film. So as a result, here wehave some sort of spinoff/reboot/parallel film, “The Bourne Legacy.”

Despite being an obvious studio cash grab, I actually was onboard. Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote the first three “Bournes” as well as writing and directing the excellent “Michael Clayton,” stayed on to write and direct and lined up a great cast. Jeremy Renner is the new lead; he plays Aaron Cross an agent for yet another top secret government assassins program. Despite having the name Jason Bourne mentioned at least once every five minutes, I don’t think Cross’ full name is ever mentioned. The girl he brings along with him -just like Bourne did- is a scientist played by Rachel Weisz, someone I’ve loved in other films but feels annoying and unnecessary here. She’s there not to be a character of any sort, but to be the female lead. She gives a lot of exposition about the science behind the chems, but that’s really about it. Finally, we have Edward Norton as what’s meant to be the film’s antagonist, but ends up being someone you can actually really relate to, as a guy just trying to do his job.

So, what’s the plot? Essentially, while Jason Bourne has been off wreaking havoc trying to figure out his past, the government has come under a lot of scrutiny about these countless secret assassin programs they have (there are at least four mentioned in this film alone). The program Cross is in uses a performance enhancer, referred to as “chems” in the movie. Cross’ program is shut down, and so the government, lead by Norton, attempt to kill him. Cross escapes, but runs out of chems. In order to get more, he goes to find Marta Shearing (Weisz) so he can scream “WHERE ARE THE CHEMS?” at her a few dozen times. Meanwhile the whole movie, Edward Norton is trying to stop this guy who’s running around beating people up, even killing a few people very unnecessarily.

In simpler terms: the film is about Jeremy Renner running around shooting people trying to get his drug fix. Sure, maybe that plot could have worked, but it goes absolutely nowhere and then the film just kind of ends with no satisfying resolution at all. Cross is a boring character that’s tough to care about, unlike Jason Bourne. Not only was Bourne more likeable (thanks to a better lead and screenplay), but he had an actual journey, he had a purpose we could get behind. Cross just needs his chems.

There are some things to like about “The Bourne Legacy” though; overall the performances are fairly solid, and in the beginning there are some fun ways where the film ties into the last Bourne movie. There are some great action sequences but also some very boring and pointless ones too. The film just ends as the song “Extreme Ways” from all the other films starts playing, and you’re left with a film that feels exactly like what everyone should have expected: an excuse to slap the name “Bourne” on another movie.

 

2/5 Stars