By: Akram Shaban
The Bourne Legacy takes place during the events of The Bourne Ultimatum. It stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross. Edward Norton, Oscar Isaac, and Corey Stoll (antagonist from Ant-Man) also show up. In my review of The Bourne Supremacy, I claimed that if the movie series remained consistent, it couldn’t fail. Let’s see if The Bourne Legacy is indeed legendary.
Because this movie takes place at the same time as its predecessor, a lot of its plot is directly influenced by the events of the other. Norton’s character, Eric Byer, heads a branch of the CIA called Outcome. It’s a special ops program designed to basically engineer and program human beings. But Bourne’s actions from the previous film risk causing the secrets of the CIA to be exposed. So Byer decides to shut down the program. This includes killing off all the agents.
That’s where Aaron Cross comes in. He’s a part of the program. But while all this is going on, he is in Alaska going through a rigorous training exercise as punishment for previous actions. He’s a trouble maker, but that trait is what saves his life. While the other agents are killed off by being drugged, he’s serendipitously too far away. So Byer orders a drone strike to kill him. But of course, Cross is smart and aware and manages to get away.
As stated before, the Jason Bourne trilogy hinges on the ability to deliver suspenseful, action scenes. This includes plenty of car chases, foot chases, hand to hand combat, some gun fights, and a bunch of explosions. If you pay attention, you’d realize that there isn’t a whole lot of dialogue in these movies. In the opening scenes, there is zero dialogue. They are movies that show, with some exposition here and there.
The best scenes for me are the ones at the beginning, with Aaron Cross all alone in the mountains of Alaska. He is shown trying to maneuver and use his survival skills to get to his destination. At one point he’s scaring off a pack of wolves with fire. And at a later point, he actually wrestles a wolf. It is a display of raw strength and endurance and easily sets up what is to come in the remaining couple of hours.
Edward Norton delivers a good performance as a CIA head. It’s no American History X or Fight Club method acting levels, but his witty remarks bring something interesting to the script. It seems like Norton has a sort of trademark when it comes to cranky and snarky remarks. “Consider yourself informed”, he says to one of the other CIA guys, after revealing some pretty big news to him. That’s what we’ve come to expect from the actor, and he doesn’t disappoint.
Another thing to congratulate this movie on is its ability to refrain from including forced, and obligatory romance. While you expect that Cross and Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) will fall in love, it’s only hinted at best. We’re shown some hand holding and prolonged gazes. But there are no Casino Royale level in-your-face shower scenes. It’s very appropriate too. Cross is pretty much dying throughout the movie. He needs to get to his objective before he runs out of time. So there’s little room for anything else at that point.
The Bourne Legacy is a great filler for the fans while they anticipate the next installment starring Matt Damon. I think Jeremy Renner and Edward Norton do a great a job portraying a familiar tone and style, which we all know and love. I really do hope to see them return in some capacity in the upcoming Jason Bourne.
The Bourne Legacy earns a B- (7.0/10) from The Film Lawyers.