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The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy

A continuation of the Rodbert Ludlum-inspired universe first seen in The Bourne Identity; The Bourne Legacy stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, another member of the top secret government project known as TREADSTONE. Not a reboot of the original trilogy of films, this film references the events of the earlier films heavily. Flashy and action-packed, Renner carries the film, despite the now-leaden, predictable and boring premise.

I'm a bad person.

Things don't go *BOOM* in space (there being no atmosphere to carry the sound) and government intelligence agencies are not marvels of hypercompetency (mere competence being rarely found).

Ignoring all that, The Bourne Legacy is a fun, action-packed thriller with some fun moments. Aaron Cross is another member of the TREADSTONE project. TREADSTONE (if you haven't seen the earlier films) is a project requiring agents to take special medication that gives them quasi-superhuman qualities. They don't fly around or punch holes in walls, but they have a laser-like focus and increased stamina, etc.

Cross (Renner) is finishing up a training exercise in Alaska that requires him to swim without a wetsuit. After drying off, he begins his hike back through the wilderness -- fighting off wolves, jumping off cliffs and finally defeating predator drones with a rifle. Yeah, that last bit happens because the bureaucrats back in Washington get spooked about something politically and a middle management agent (Ed Norton) decides to erase all traces of project TREADSTONE.

That of course means killing everyone related to the program, including all TREADSTONE agents. Cross survives by digging a tracking chip out of his hip (first he put a tin foil plate over it to block the signal) with thankfully no Rambo grunting, and then putting it inside a wolf, so that the wolf is destroyed by the Predator missile instead of him.

Believable? Nah, but it's fun.

Cross makes it back to the states and then manages to hook up with one of the scientists (Rachel Weiss) who engineered his pills, as his supply is running out. In order to get him more pills, they fly to the Philippines. Intercut this with Norton and other spooks in a room yelling things at subordinates and generally tracking the protagonists' every movement through the aforementioned unbelievable hypercompetency.

Weiss' scientist explains that the abilities that the pills provide can be 'viraled out' -- that is, made a permanent part of his genetic structure -- and they manage to do this in the depths of a Filippino pill factory. This all leads to a wild chase through Manila City ... and then it just ends.

Yeah, it just ends. Cross escapes with a love interest and that's the end of the film. Nothing is really explained about the 'viraling out' process (though I guessed it's a viral replacement therapy). In the end, this was an exciting film. The action was what we have come to expect from the franchise -- lots of in-close combat. The chases through the streets of Manila were great and very realistically portrayed.

But there was nothing truly new about this installment in the Bourne franchise besides Renner as the new lead character. The formula is essentially the same, with no real new information about the secret program -- which is a shame.

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