Here’s the thing about the Bourne Legacy: there really is no legacy. The trailer says “there was never just one,” but anyone who paid half attention in the other three “Bourne” films knew that already. But instead of being about another member/lab rat in Operation Treadway, ”Legacy” decides to invent yet another super-secret government program that needs to be shut down before it can be discovered. And here’s where it crosses the line into parody: this program uses special drugs to both physically and mentally enhance its participants, making them superhuman in their abilities and intelligence. And also, a little crazy. Kind of like the Green Goblin in the first “Spider-man” movie.
Jeremy Renner plays the agent in the middle of it all, who accidentally survives when Washington suit Edward Norton orders all the supersoldiers be immediately assassinated. He is somewhere very snowy and remote, and manages to convince the government that they’ve killed him by feeding his tracking device to a wild animal. (I was reminded of a similar scene in “Total Recall,” though, unfortunately, Renner didn’t have to pull a glowing red orb out of his nose.) He then makes his way back to the states in time to save Rachel Weisz, the hot doctor who makes his superhero drugs for him. Except they’re not actually made in her basement, they’re mass produced in a sweatshop in Manila, so they have to travel there to “lock in” his superpowers before the bad guys can stop them.
And of course, in order to stop him, the bad guys call on yet another super-soldier program, which creates even MORE powerful assassins, and sends one after Renner and Weisz. And so there’s a big messy, terribly shot action showdown involving a motorcycle chase to end the film. I’ll let you guess who wins.
I was surprised that “The Bourne Legacy” was written and directed by Tony Gilroy, who had a good deal of involvement with the past Bourne films and has more than one stylish action thriller to his name. This feels more like a knockoff or a cash grab than a continuation of a prestigious series, and I expected it to be from the hands of a hack. ”Legacy” lacks the grace, the smarts, and the overall sense of style that so distinctly marked the first three Bourne films. It’s just another forgettable action flick, and marks the Bourne films as just another franchise that didn’t know when to stop.
Verdict: Not Recommended I probably wouldn’t have had such high standards for this if the first three weren’t all so good. ”Legacy” doesn’t measure up.