The Score: "This [Bourne Legacy] Adventure Comes Close To Matching The Level Of Dramatic Tension Throughout The Trilogy That Preceded It"

Friday, Aug 10, 2012 6:05PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

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  • The Bourne Legacy
  • Jeremy Renner,
  • August 10, 2012
Screen Rant 3/5
Very Aware 3/5
Chicago Tribune 2/4
Buffalo News 3.5/5

If action-packed fun and adventure is what you need to get the weekend started off right, then the latest edition to the Bourne series, The Bourne Legacy, is guaranteed to hit the spot.

The latest Bourne flick gives long-time fans a bit of a surprise with the absence of its main protagonist, Hollywood actor Matt Damon.

Fans of the Jason Bourne series have been skeptical about the prospect of The Bourne Legacy ever since the project was first announced back in 2010. While franchise leading man Matt Damon, who played the titular hero in the first three movies, was originally attached for a fourth film (to be directed by Paul Greengrass), the pair later dropped out of the project, and instead, Jeremy Renner (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and The Avengers ) as well as Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum writer, Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), were tasked with bringing an entirely new Bourne universe character to the big screen. (Screen Rant)

Although Damon's on-screen presence is missed, movie veteran Jeremy Renner still comes through and delivers.

When we first meet Aaron Cross (Renner), like Bourne, a government-trained super-spy and assassin, he's in survivalist mode, retrieving a capsule of some sort from the bottom of an Alaskan lake in nothing but his underwear. Minutes later, he's fending off wolves, Liam Neeson-style, before trekking back to an outpost where he hopes to stock up on the super-advanced meds (called "chems" here) that keep him at peak conditioning physically and mentally. We soon learn that Cross is part of another, super-secret government program, Outcome (Bourne was part of Treadstone/Blackbriar, as we're reminded multiple times during THE BOURNE LEGACY by suit-and-tie government bureaucrats). Without a regular intake of chems (blue and green pills), Cross will lose the physical and mental edge that apparently makes him a top field agent. (Very Aware)

Bourne fans are treated with a few notable cameos from stars of the first three films.

Some choice espionage scowlers from the previous "Bourne" films sidle into frame for brief cameos, among them Joan Allen, Albert Finney, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn. New on board: Edward Norton, as the ambivalent program overseer, and Stacy Keach as an authority figure who's seen it all and doesn't want anybody to see or question anything. (Chicago Tribune)

Despite action and adventure, some critics noted multiple weaknesses in the new flick.

Still, until the unnecessarily extended and farfetched climax on the crowded streets of Manila - and if we can erase the memory of a laughably unconvincing moment of derring-do on the back of a motorcycle featuring Oscar winner Rachel Weisz - this adventure comes close to matching the level of dramatic tension throughout the trilogy that preceded it. That's to some degree the fault of the somewhat underdeveloped screenplay, to some degree because the film stops rather than ends, and to some degree because while Renner is a perfectly acceptable and believable leading man, his level of magnetism falls a tad short of that of Matt Damon. (CBS Local)
According to Ty Burr of The Boston Globe , the movie's exciting moments are not enough to compensate for the failure of the ending. "A new-model government super-assassin (Louis Ozawa Changchien ) is abruptly introduced to chase down the heroes, and the film suddenly turns into 'Terminator 2 .' [Ed] Norton's character drops down the rabbit hole, Joan Allen and David Strathairn from the earlier movies suddenly reappear, and 'The Bourne Legacy' folds its hand with a limp romantic fade-out and a cheesy pop song," Burr wrote. (Barrow Patch)

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