Written by Films

The Bourne Legacy

There’s no Matt Damon, and importantly, there’s no Paul Greengrass is this follow up to the Bourne series of films.
That doesn’t mean that they’ve recast Jason Bourne with a new actor, but it seems that Treadstone was just one part of the evil plotting going on deep within American security services.
So we’re introduced to Jeremy Renner’s character, Aaron Cross, an ex-soldier who’s been put on a programme of pills to make him a super-spy a la Bourne. But for plot reasons – the end of the third Bourne film – the whole “Outcome” programme has to be scrapped. And that means killing all the agents currently on it.
Cross manages to escape, but he’s addicted to his meds and needs more pills. That means tracking down Rachel Weisz’s Dr Marta Shearing, who works at the evil big pharma corporation that manufactures these dastardly tablets.
From there we have some international travel, and a modest amount of action – culiminating in a big set piece in the Phillipines.
In some ways, I was gripped by the film. But in most I was really disappointed.
Director Tony Gilroy, who scripted or co-scripted all the previous Bourne films seems like he’s a little lost. And for the most part, this film feels like it’s an amalgam of all the previous films.
Remember the rooftop chase in The Bourne Ultimatum? We get another one of them. Remember the super-bad Clive Owen in The Bourne Identity set to kill our hero? We get another one of them. Remember the evil Brian Cox character in the first three films? Well we get an almost direct replacement for him.
It feels like someone ruthlessly lifted all the best bits of the previous films and dropped them into place.
And the structure is all wrong. The film takes ages to get going. The pacing is just poorly structured. There’s no real peril injected into procedings. At one point, the plot sees Cross injected with something that’s supposed to make him very ill. With the manhunt closing in on him, there could have been some real tension. Yet his illness is almost completely forgotten thirty senconds later so we can get into a big set-piece action sequence.
And the end of the film is just awful.
It just stops.
We get a big action scene and then – that’s it. There’s an attempt at wrapping things up, but it doesn’t work at all. And even then, it’s a complete rip-off of a previous film in the series.
Yes, they want to leave doors open for more sequels, but frankly I hope they don’t make any more, if they’re going to be as poor as this.
The odd thing is, that while I was watching the film, I found it perfectly OK. It’s just that as things progressed I realised that there was nothing more happening than a manhunt, and the plot just meandered around. So it’s by no means the worst film ever. But it’s just not very good at all. A real shame.