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Aug 10, 2012
08:49 AMTalk about Arts
Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy
There was bound to be fallout after Jason Bourne ran amok avenging his girlfriend's death and shutting down the government agencies that turned him into a cold-blooded killer. Fixers behind the scenes of this CIA blunder realized public knowledge of Operations Treadstone and Blackbriar could risk exposing the myriad other similar programs being performed by high-level security officials doing their best to keep this country safe. Purging every last remnant of American human genetic enhancement experiments would be the only way to keep plausible deniability intact if a leak of information was believed.
This is where the man behind the scripts inspired by Robert Ludlum's saga has taken the story. Tony Gilroy—with help from brother Dan—infuses his newest installment with even more Michael Clayton-esque government espionage of so-called 'cleaners' while retaining the brutally authentic action we've come to love. The Bourne Legacy becomes just what its title connotes—an evolution of the Treadstone concept surviving by any means necessary due to the hasty deeds of the men in power. Jason Bourne was the tip of the iceberg.
Similar in style to the original trilogy, the subtle differences in scope are what make the film fresh enough to not only be relevant but also successful. What took three films to expose how David Webb became Jason Bourne is distilled into one—albeit a long one at over two hours—because Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) knows exactly who his is. He willingly joined the cause, enjoys the physical and intellectual perks, and lets his snarky attitude shine through the bureaucratic nonsense of scheduled blood work.
The chicken and egg equation reverses as the government's callous attempt to protect itself turns Cross against them. He goes dark out of necessity because Retired Adm. Turso (Stacy Keach) and Retired Col. Byer (Edward Norton) want him dead. Still a cat-and-mouse game, the dynamic changes quickly once Cross makes them believe they were successful. Much of the movie therefore elevates him to the savior of Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) as Byer looks to cleanse all scientists privy to the research.The resulting film may be more conventional by pitting hero against villain with innocent in between, but a conventional Bourne is still more entertaining and intelligent than the usual actioner Hollywood churns out.
This installment's foreign adversary in Louis Ozawa Changchien's LARX #3 eventually joins the fray for an all-out extended chase through Manilla that rivals if not surpasses the brilliant race in Bourne Supremacy, but Legacy finds itself living in the gray areas of clandestine action until that point. It leads to a more cerebral start taking its time to breathe, but fear not as Gilroy's sprawling climax does its best to equal departing director Paul Greengrass' shaky-cam artistry.
Renner fills in for Matt Damon well, possessing a similar build and ability while also infusing some humor considering his character isn't still figuring out his identity. With Zeljko Ivanek and Oscar Isaac helping cultivate the air of mystery as Allen, Strathairn, and Albert Finney reprise roles to tie the films together, Legacy's birthright remains intact as a new iteration rises to Moby's consistent end credits theme.
The Bourne Legacy 8/10 | ★ ★ ★
 The narrative architect behind the "Bourne" film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: "The Bourne Legacy". The writer/director expands the "Bourne" universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (JEREMY RENNER) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. Photo Credit: Mary Cybulski Copyright: © 2012 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
 (L to R) DONNA MURPHY, EDWARD NORTON and STACY KEACH star in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: "The Bourne Legacy". Writer/director Tony Gilroy expands the "Bourne" universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. Photo Credit: Mary Cybulski Copyright: © 2012 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.