In typical Bourne fashion, the first 20 minutes has you wondering if you can keep up with all of the plot points and subterfuge flim flam; but once the story settles in and you realize it is not all that complicated, director Tony Gilroy serves up a lean, mean fighting machine with Jeremy Renner behind the wheel.
The story picks up where Ultimatum left off with the clandestine Treadstone operation under indictment. But that wasn’t enough for the boss men (Stacy Keach & Edward Norton), now they want to shut down the medical lab that engineered the high-tech meds for these super agents and systematically wipe out each of the remaining nine “participants.” Renner’s ‘Aaron Cross’ is #5. But good news for him – they think he’s dead.
The script deserves high praise for making the big brother style surveillance aspect of the cat and mouse storyline compelling. All of the data base cross referencing could easily fall into ho-hum exposition, but Norton and his minions keep things crackling.
What I enjoyed most about The Bourne Legacy was the chemistry between Renner and scientist on the run, Rachel Weisz. Every scene with these two actors is alive and unpredictable. The story embraces her damsel in distress dilemma without ever caving in and allowing her to become yet another movie heroine who suddenly is adept at wielding a gun and karate chopping the goons trying to wrangle her. Renner does all of that, and the moments when she looks admiringly at his mayhem capacity are so fresh.
“If I can’t keep it together,” Renner explains to her in one of her many moments of WTF. “we won’t make it.”
There is a disturbingly violent scene in the med lab where one of Weisz’ colleagues uncharacteristically bolts the doors and proceeds to murder his friends. It’s a slice of cold-blooded cruelty I would have preferred implied rather than displayed. But…
The Bourne Legacy is a solid action thriller. Renner is every bit as capable and charismatic (if that’s the word) as Damon, and he more than pulls off the physical aspect of the role. The motorcycle sequence near the end of the picture is pretty impressive. Credit to Gilroy and his editing team – the film works from beginning to end.