Friday, 17 August 2012

The Bourne Legacy

The end credits mention that 'The Bourne Legacy' is based on the Bourne series (of books) by Robert Ludlum. It is the fourth film based on those books. The previous three films featured Matt Damon in the title role as Jason Bourne, a deep undercover CIA operative on the run from his own organisation.

This time around the Bourne character is present by reference but not physically. The main character is another undercover operative, Aaron Cross, who also finds himself on the run, initially in search of needed medication and later in support of a hunted scientist.

So, whilst the operative has changed the general premise remains the same. Something portentous and ominous is happening in the world of counter intelligence causing a good guy operative to be chased around the world, preferably in the most scenic of locations.

Aaron Cross is played by Jeremy Renner who is a capable actor. Renner matches Damon's Bourne for action but he lacks that indefinable charismatic attraction that made Damon so popular. In the three previous films I would have been disappointed if Bourne had lost out in the long run but in this latest film I watched Aaron Cross' adventures as a neutral observer not disliking the character but not invested in the need to see him survive.

The first half of 'The Bourne Legacy' is full of counter intelligence and scientific mumbo jumbo that sounds very important but is mostly incomprehensible. The second half has the obligatory frenetic chase in an exotic location. This time the location is Manila in the Philippines. The chase, mostly on motor cycles, is suitably dexterous and dangerous. It also is absurd.

The film is aimed at action lovers and on that level it is slick and satisfactory.



  1. I really quite enjoy your critiques on the films. Thank you. I must say that though I haven't seen the film yet, I do love the Bourne films but with the awareness that Matt Damon was not going to star in this one, I was less than interested. Still, a night with a DVD and the television will determine my true opinion. Thanks again for yours.

  2. I think Jeremy Renner lived up to the expectations of the franchise, though the movie did not. I think it's a different pace, because his back story was unnecessarily complicated, but Bourne 5 might fix that.

  3. Mark, the back story was complicated.