The Bourne Legacy Movie Review – Just Enough Story, A Bit Long on The Chase

by on December 26, 2012

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy movie review

The Bourne Legacy is a fascinating new chapter in the story about secret super soldiers and the projects that spawned them. It’s smart, action filled (not packed) and it follows the dual developing stories of government factions trying to clean up after themselves and one lone soldier, realizing he’s about to be neutralized, struggle to survive against an enemy that has endless resources. I enjoyed this look at the story of projects Treadstone and Black Briar.

The Bourne Legacy is directed by Tony Gilroy who also co-wrote the script with Dan Gilroy.

Tony’s past includes screenplay writing of the previous Bourne franchise movies, as well as State of Play and Armageddon. This wasn’t his first directorial gig, so there’s that. Dan’s past writing experience includes Real Steel (a great surprise of a story actually) and The Fall.

The cast includes Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, & Rachel Weisz as Dr. Marta Shearing. Then there’s the “evil” government bosses of Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Edward Norton as well as David Strathairn and few others who reprise their roles from the previous Bourne movies.

Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy movie

Obviously Legacy is passing the torch to a new crowd, both in front of and behind the camera.

This newest chapter showed us life behind the scenes for super soldiers like Aaron (Renner) and the scientific minds who are part of the process, like Dr. Marta Shearing.

What I did get a kick out of was how the first third of the movie was taking place during events that were taking place in the last third of the previous Bourne movie, The Bourne Ultimatum. It was a great tie-in, as we watched the bureaucratic channels scramble to fix or clean up their trail as the eminent threat of being dragged into the public light loomed bright.

But this clean up meant killing off agents in the field.

Rachel Weisz in The Bourne Legacy movieBut there was something different about these agents. Unlike Jason Bourne, these were the next phase “participants” and they were given pills to take to keep their skills, reflexes and physiology at their best. Or a kind of hook. Nothing was permanent and they always had to check back in to get new pills every few weeks. Plus, there’s a fascinating new wrinkle that was suggested in the latter part of the movie and how the agency actually did recruit their “participants,” but I’m leaving that for you to discover.

So the explanatory part of the movie takes front and center for much of the front half of the movie, but that, in turn, makes this more of a smart movie than an all-out action fest. The action festing starts to take place around mid-way and on into the last act which became one, long, drawn out chase scene. Almost too long and too drawn out.

To be honest, I enjoyed the early part of the movie, and the closer was fairly atypical and left nothing to the imagination or such.

Despite that, I still found myself enjoying this fourth flick in the Bourne franchise. Though I must admit, with no Jason Bourne in the picture, will this film franchise finally get a new name, like “The Cross Pursuits” or some such new title, using this new characters name? But I enjoy the new face on the franchise in Renner and his buddy of the moment, Marta (Weisz), who helps him through this tough spot.


There was something about the movie the kept the characters at bay, emotionally for me. I loved the action, the fight choreography was more inclined towards experienced fight fans who might be able to follow the frantic action than the regular Joe movie goer.

It rates wonderfully as a guilty pleasure spy-on-the-run flick, but there’s something missing that I can’t put my finger on. There were a few attempts to show us some background on a few situations, but they seemed to miss the mark and connect with me. At least we know about some of the background though. And yet, we are treated to the plight of someone being pursued by large govt. organizations, the cold and calculating measured taken by our govt. showrunners and what not.

Thought I must admit, aside from Hawkeye in The Avengers, this was a great role for Jeremy Renner, that’s for sure and fans of his will probably not be disappointed, whether you rent or buy the film. I did, and I can’t disagree with the IMDb user score of 6.7, though Rotten Tomatoes (56%) and MetaCritics (61) seem to lean towards the more harsh mindset on the movie.

The Bourne Legacy on Amazon

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

JJ February 22, 2013 at 8:09 am

Bruce, the point here I think is that Jeremy Renner did a great job, and so did Rachael, and that’s good enough to keep the Trilogy going. It’s not a Trilogy anymore but Jeremy had to carry a huge load here knowing that everyone wanted to see Matt doing this film, but the story line is good enough to spin this into the same agency doing the same super soldier format with a different project this time instead of Treadstone. The Outcome project features Jeremy doing pills to keep the enhancement of both the physical and mental DNA being changed, that puts these soldiers into a new field of super agent. The only big problem here is that Matt was not enhanced and Jeremy is, and Matt Damon in an interview last December, when he saw the movie said, ” this is going to make it harder for me to come back because of the pill popping”. Meaning to him, we now have a soldier that was trained to do all the things that Matt could, which took 3 movies to show them all, as he became an expert in covert everything, and now you have Jeremy who’s supposed to have all that and this DNA enhancement that changes things for Matt. How are you going to bring Matt back in with Jeremy being twice as strong and twice as smart as he is. What Matt is saying here is, is it’s going to be hard to make that work. In a screenplay you can change anything, for instance making Matt like Jeremy, with Matt getting the same enhancements without taking up too much screen time, but you can’t make Jeremy go back because his IQ was 15 or so points under normal, so that won’t work, but Matt’s point is, is going to be hard to make them equal, and if you leave them like they are Jeremy is going to look better, unless the writing is real good. Anyhow this sets up a nightmare for a screenplay to emerge.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: