“The Bourne Legacy”
By MICHAEL WALTERS
In some ways, “The Bourne Legacy” seems like a simpler, back to basics approach to the Bourne series. When star Matt Damon, and his director Paul Greengrass decided to sit this one out, they took the previous two installments’ frenetic hyperactive energy along with them. Director Tony Gilroy replaces it with a more straightforward style, but adds in an even more complicated plot about government conspiracies which takes about three times as many twists and turns as it needs to.
This time its Jeremy Renner providing the fists of fury as a different secret CIA agent from the same program on the run from the government that created him and then doubled crossed him. Although Matt Damon is nowhere to be found, Renner’s agent undoubtedly exists in the same world as Jason Bourne since references to Bourne are everywhere.
To handle the fallout from Bourne’s antics, shadowy CIA operative Edward Norton decides to shut down the entire program and eliminate all the remaining agents. Renner escapes and hooks up with a genetic scientist (Rachel Weisz) on a globetrotting run to find out what’s happening to him. Renner is a suitable substitute, and plays his agent as a slightly more dimwitted, but genetically modified super spy who’s not exactly up to speed on all that’s happened to him. He’s never a butt of the joke, but you can see he’s trying to figure things out even as he runs and runs and runs some more.
And while writer/director Tony Gilroy’s camera doesn’t move around as much, he’s still able to put together a thrilling motorcycle chase through the streets of manila that’s among the best sequences the series has ever come up. It’s not as dynamic as the previous Bourne movies, but it’s no slouch either. It could go down as the “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” of Bourne movies, a one shot blip in the Bourne radar, but it’s worth a look anyway.