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Movie review: The Bourne Legacy

Unsettling legacy

by Latoya Burnham

I’m not sure if I’m disappointed, expectant or just plain mad at this point about the newest installation of the Bourne files. What I am though is unsettled.

I had really high hopes for The Bourne Legacy, and now after sitting down through all 135 minutes of it, I feel like I am back at the beginning like in The Bourne Identity. Now this is not to say that the film was bad, because indeed I enjoyed the entire unfolding of those 135 minutes – I guess I’m just trying to say that it left me unsatisfied and still wriggling in my seat thinking about what will happen next.

In short, the Bourne saga continues.

This fourth instalment to the more than $1billion grossing that was the first three films saw the introduction of a new character Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner); and while I would have loved to see Matt Damon return as the elusive and deadly Jason Bourne, I accepted that Renner had earned enough acting cred to want to see what he would do with the role. He did not disappoint.

As Aaron Cross, another participant in the growing web that is the genetically engineered assassins that began with Jason Bourne, Renner gave us just as much action as Bourne did, though in the latter part of the movie. Just like we have come to expect with Bourne films, once the action starts, there is no stopping it; and just like The Bourne Identity, this one took it’s time unfolding the basis for this new project of assassins.


In fact, unlike Jason Bourne, the men introduced here were a bit more inhuman than before, having gone under several genetic programmes to enhance abilities, introduce new skills and intelligence, and ream out some of the challenges that would have been seen when Bourne went off the grid.

By now if you don’t know that I am forever a Bourne groupie, perhaps I should make the disclaimer and also state that I am always looking forward to new twists and turns to this story. This is perhaps one of the principal reasons that The Bourne Legacy left me a little unsettled. I, perhaps like all Bourne fans, am so used to the heavy action in each instalment of the film that I forgot that we were introducing a new action character. So when the film opened, I was looking for something along the lines of The Bourne Supremacy or even The Bourne Ultimatum, where it continued from where it left off and launched right into the action.

This one though took us back to the beginning in a fashion and started setting the scene for this new hero – and for what it was, I accept that the writers and directors did a good job. We also saw new characters in Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), the geneticist; retired Colonel Eric Byer (Edward Norton), the man on Cross’ heels and retired Admiral Mark Turso (Stacy Keach), the orchestrator of the new hunt.

Beyond The Mummy movies, I never quite pictured Weisz in high action flicks, but in this she did good. In fact, in one particular motorbike chase scene, she had the cinema screaming and bawling when she took out their pursuer in one swift, quick-thinking move. I also loved the fact that she was vulnerable throughout the movie and they allowed her to show it. But at the same time, she was not the pathetic “damsel in distress” I hate to see women portrayed as in movies. She was vulnerable, yes, but even in that space of fear, she was able to think clearly enough to still function effectively.

I also liked that we saw some of the old faces, like Dr. Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney), Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) and even Noah Vosen (David Strathairn).

All The Bourne Legacy did was make me crave another Bourne movie, which I suppose at the end of the day is what will make the big bucks at the box office, and essentially is the point.

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