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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Bourne Legacy | Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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The Bourne Legacy | Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton | Review

His name is in the title, but only Jason Bourne’s photograph appears in the film.  Robert Ludlum’s protagonist has left the franchise (and a whole lot of unfinished business) behind.  Writer/director Tony Gilroy (Duplicity) expands the Bourne universe credibly, having written the screenplays for all three previous films.

Outcome agent #5 trains in Alaska under inhuman conditions that don’t seem to affect him.  Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is about to embark on a run for his elite life because someone wants him and all of the other Outcome agents dead.

That someone is government official Eric Byer, (Edward Norton) who decides to end the program beginning with the sneaky assassination of all of its agents.  Nice guy – nice try - but Cross outwits the attempt and survives.

Cross is on advanced daily regimen of classified “chems”, sometimes referred to as “blues and greens” that increase his physical and cognitive abilities.  Needing to restock his supply puts him on the trail of Outcome scientist Marta Shearling (Rachel Weisz) whose life is also in danger.  Ending the program means ending the participants, no matter what capacity they fill.

Shearling tells Cross that he has “viraled on” to the pill for enhanced strength and no longer requires it.  The pill that promotes brain power, however, is something that Cross does need.   Since Shearling has no access to the chems, the two set out on a dangerous international mission to procure a supply.

The action ramps up into high gear as the pair tries to outrun innumerable obstacles and personnel just to be able to keep drawing breath.

Jeremy Renner brings an entirely different energy with him to the role of Cross than we are used to with the more refined and sympathetic Bourne (the erstwhile Matt Damon).  There’s a more ruthless edge that removes some espionage elegance, but Renner is capably slick.

Edward Norton’s Ret. Col. Byer seems too young and inexperienced to power such a heavyweight mission.  Rachel Weisz seems perplexed for a good part of the film, perhaps to give the audience something to relate to.  The narrative can sometimes be murky, relying on backstory too heavily.

Franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles with small scenes that may or may not jog your memory as to what those roles were.

Gilroy concentrates heavily on his (and co-writer brother Dan Gilroy’s) sometimes convoluted plot while incorporating a host of characters into the mix.  Still, there’s a wolf attack, a drone attack, fight scenes, chase scenes and something explodes.

Time will tell if that’s enough to carry on this particular legacy, or if the time has come for all things Bourne to die.

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