What do you do when the star of your successful film franchise no longer wants to make further installments? These days, the answer is simple. Reboot! Hence, THE BOURNE LEGACY, sans Matt Damon. The move away from the original plot of the series is justified by suggesting that Jason Bourne was never the only one of his kind. In fact, there are a handful of other super human types out there, walking amongst us and infiltrating some of the most guarded places on the planet. We meet one of these genetically enhanced individuals while he is training in Alaska. From under the icy water, he emerges half clothed, as if being born before our eyes. And with that, Bourne is reborn, or so director, Tony Gilroy, would hope.
THE BOURNE LEGACY gets off to a pretty slow start while the new face of the series, Jeremy Renner, as Aaron Cross, takes on the elements in Alaska. While he braves snow flurries and hungry wolves in a training exercise, Gilroy establishes that all this action is taking place at the same time as Jason Bourne’s last escapade, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, is coming to a close. Bourne’s antics have forced the government to not only abandon the program that made him, but rather abolish it altogether. This amounts to a lot of secret meetings led by Edward Norton (with one of the most ridiculous haircuts I’ve ever seen) that are meant to situate the viewer but only really serve to expose how convoluted the whole Bourne affair has gotten. It’s also rather tedious as well. It isn’t until Aaron realizes he is being hunted by his own creators that the actual action gets started.
Considering THE BOURNE LEGACY is a reboot, Gilroy relies far too heavily on past installments to establish the current premise. Renner holds his own as the new man on the lamb (as does the always impressive Rachel Weisz, as Renner’s love interest) but Gilroy doesn’t give him very much to handle unfortunately. The action sequences are fewer than you would expect and ultimately lead absolutely nowhere. Yes, the point is to have Aaron get away from his hunters but when Bourne got away, he did so with purpose. He was part of a bigger plan and his interaction with the other side was always engaging and twisted. Aaron is just running away and, while his attempts to flee do at times reach the thrilling heights we have grown to expect from the Bourne pictures, I’m not sure this is the legacy Jason Bourne would have wanted to pass on.