Submitted by Matt Rodriguez on Friday, August 10, 2012 - 10:09AM
Matt Damon will forever and always be Jason Bourne. There’s no changing that. With both Matt Damon and two-time director Paul Greengrass gone from the series, co-writer of all three Bourne films Tony Gilroy is picking up the franchise with a new super soldier Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) in The Bourne Legacy. Is Renner a suitable replacement for Damon or will his legacy be short lived?
The Bourne Legacy runs concurrent to The Bourne Ultimatum. While Operation Blackbriar is busy tracking down and containing Jason Bourne, the government is worried about the media getting wind of their other secret special ops organizations. In an effort to cover it up, the CIA orders the termination of Operation Outcome, another super soldier program designed to mold the perfect agent. Field agent Aaron Cross narrowly escapes death when the termination order is called in and is now on the run with former Outcome scientist Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz).
If you’ve never seen any of the previous Bourne films, prepare to be confused. The entire first third of the film sets the scene and discusses the relationship between Operation Outcome and Blackbriar/ Treadstone. It is all very context driven and for the uninformed, can be somewhat difficult to follow. We’re also given our first look at the new “Bourne.”
Aaron Cross is the product of years of research and development. Once a normal soldier, he has been given a concoction of drugs that enhances both his strength and intelligence. The only downside is that he has to take two pills, a blue and a green one, every day in order to stay at the necessary levels. When the project is shut down and all of the other field agents are killed, Cross sets out to find more pills and survive at any cost.
For the most part, The Bourne Legacy runs along the same lines as its predecessors. There’s a decent amount of action coupled with heavy amounts of government conspiracy and story. Like Bourne, Cross has a team of officials hot on his heels that will do whatever is necessary to take him down. They’re led by Eric Byer (Edward Norton) whose main objective is to not let this get into the hands of the media.
While Jeremy Renner is no Matt Damon, he makes a decent field agent. He’s powerful, intelligent, and more than capable of taking down a room full of other operatives. He also has no problem improvising. In one scene he combines a nail and a fire extinguisher into a deadly projectile weapon. Like Bourne, he’s always aware of his surroundings.
The final third of the film is more accustomed to what fans of the franchise have expected. It concludes with a dramatic chase sequence through the streets and rooftops of Manila as Cross and Dr. Shearing evade both police and another, supposedly more advanced secret operative. There are a few unbelievable moments, but for the most part, the film is grounded in realism with its fast-paced hand-to-hand combat and gritty camera work.
Jason Bourne may be gone but the franchise will live on through Aaron Cross. Confusing story aside, The Bourne Legacy welcomingly introduces a new agent. Jeremy Renner shows that he has what it takes to pick up the reigns, although there’s still a lot to be learned before he’s on the same level.
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