You’re a stranger to the Bourne franchise?
Good luck keeping up with this latest chapter in the spy thriller series. You’d best at least view 2007′s BOURNE ULTIMATUM before venturing into THE BOURNE LEGACY this weekend. Because the backstory here will definitely make it easier to navigate the storyline as Jeremy Renner steps into Matt Damon‘s role.
True, he’s also a rogue specialist trained by the CIA, but he’s NOT Bourne. He’s one of a handful of agents in The Program which its handlers have decided to shut down. As the film begins we see agent Aaron Cross (Renner) handling the rigors of a survival fitness test—one he was not supposed to survive.
Making matters worse, Cross learns that other agents like him in the companion Outcome program are being eliminated one by one. And on top of that Cross is rapidly running out of specially created pills designed to keep his brain power and physical means at super human levels.
So now while desperately trying to stay alive, he’s tracking down the scientist instrumental in the creation of the super protein pills played by Rachel Weisz who becomes part of the hunted herself.
There’s lots of talking in this chapter of the ongoing international spy extravaganza which winds its way through Alaska, London, New York City, Chicago, Pakistan, Korea, Manila and other world locales.
Some of the scenes could’ve easily been trimmed and the total running time of in excess of two hours cut by maybe up to 15 minutes. Because it’s not until the movie’s final act that the real action erupts in the form of a wild chase sequence in Manila.
Edward Norton effectively pulls the remote strings of the spy infection detail with plenty of drone hunts going down all over the place. Rounding out the cast are Stacey Keach, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, David Stathaim and Joan Allen.
The bottom line: THE BOURNE LEGACY is a clever resurrection of the franchise and you won’t feel cheated with Matt Damon’s non-participation in this fourth chapter—even though he’s referenced throughout.
Or as Universal’s tag line so cleverly suggests: ‘There was never just one!’
After all, these life and death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films.
THE BOURNE LEGACY offers 3 out of 5 off-the-grid fingers.