The Bourne Legacy review

I saw this movie last night. Here are my first thoughts.

I have to admit to a lot of curiosity about how they were going to make a Bourne movie without Jason Bourne. The choice of Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross was a good choice for a new agent as he’s got his Hawkeye-from-The-Avengers and Mission Impossible credentials sorted.

The movie opens with Cross in Alaska doing various tough and manly things as part of his training programme. We also see him popping pills which apparently he needs to function.

Meanwhile the events of The Bourne Ultimatum are playing out and Edward Norton is trying to minimise the damage that the demise of Treadstone will do to another programme called Outcome. He decides to pull the plug and kill his agents. Seems a bit drastic. Couldn’t he have just called them all home? Well, I’ll go along with this.

There’s quite an effective scene with a predator drone aircraft hunting Cross in Alaska. The filmmakers are certainly acknowledging the ubiquity of the use of these weapons in modern warfare. Still, Cross is badass enough to take it out.

Meanwhile Rachel Weisz is a doctor at a pharmaceutical company that is Connected-To-Outcome. As the Outcome agents are being eliminated you can be sure the doctors who refined the drugs are also on the list. There’s a suitably shocking scene where the doctors are killed and only Weisz survives.

Aaron cross eventually appears and teams up with the Weisz character in a quest to get the drugs he needs.

Now,there’s some good stuff here. There’s good individual scenes. Some good action packed stuff. And lots of scenes with people in rooms talking, but in interesting confrontational ways. But it’s still people in rooms talking. A lot. And also scenes wi Aaron Cross and the Weisz character talking a lot. And the Weisz character in hysterics.

Towards the end of the movie the pace was, well not flagging, but my interest was, well, flagging. I though: ‘There’s been no car chase yet. These movies do brilliant car chases. I want a brilliant car chase.’ And about one minute later there was a pretty effective motorbike/car chase in the streets of Manila. Ok, not bad.

And then it’s over. And for two hours the overriding thought in my mind was: ‘This isn’t bad, but…’

But what? The lack of Matt Damon? Paul Greengrass? I don’t know exactly, but something was off. I never felt quite engaged with the movie. Somehow the movie was less than the sum of its parts.

In fairness I remember being slightly disappointed by The Bourne Supremacy the first time I saw it, but that was only because of the hype causing unfulfillable expectations. Going back and watching it on tv I can enjoy it a bit better knowing what to expect.

Perhaps the same thing will happen with The Bourne legacy. But for now it’s the prime exponent of what I call a three star movie.