The Bourne Legacy


The Bourne franchise continues without Matt Damon

28 Weeks Later. Predator 2. xXx: State Of The Union. Just a few of the pictures that have tried to perpetuate a franchise without their original stars on board.

To their number we can now add The Bourne Legacy, a continuation of the Robert Ludlum-inspired spy series without Matt Damon’s amnesiac assassin as its focal point.

To some it will be like Hamlet without Hamlet. Yet while Tony Gilroy’s fourquel never feels particularly vital, it’s certainly not the cynical cash-grab we might’ve feared.

For one thing it has Jeremy Renner, capably inheriting Damon’s mantle as another secret agent who finds himself at odds with his shadowy superiors.

Introduced as a full-bearded mountain man on a training outing in Alaska, Renner’s Aaron Cross soon proves himself to be a force to be reckoned with whether dealing with freezing water, snarling wolves or an automated drone plane.

He’s also no slouch on a motorbike, a climactic chase through the streets of Manila giving second unit director Dan Bradley (a Bourne veteran) another chance to run riot in a teeming urban environment.

This thrilling set-piece isn’t the only Bourne signifier. Like Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass before him, Gilroy juxtaposes action in the field with testy scenes at Espionage HQ, here with Ed Norton and Stacy Keach as government suits battling to contain the “infection” that Jason Bourne’s exploits have let loose.

Fleeting cameos from Scott Glenn, David Strathairn and Albert Finney further assist the movie’s aim to be a logical extension of a pre-established universe. The result is it’s surprisingly easy to see Legacy as a parallel adventure, allied to yet not reliant on what’s gone before.

But for all Renner’s swagger and physical dexterity, his hounded hero simply isn’t as compelling a protagonist as Damon’s Jason.

Robbed of his memory and sense of self, the latter’s quest to uncover his nature gave the original trilogy an almost existential element as Bourne strived to reconcile the man he was with who he hoped to be.

Aaron’s problem is more pedestrian: a chemical dependency on the ‘meds’ that make him quicker, stronger and brainier.

Teaming up with Rachel Weisz’s lab technician, Renner effectively conveys sweaty desperation as he races to get the pills on which his life depends.

Yet because he’s essentially a junkie after a fix, he’s a hard man to warm to in a film that, without a human connection, feels noticeably cold to the touch.


Assured if not inspired, Legacy keeps the Bourne engine ticking over without reaching top gear. The action’s accomplished and Renner’s fine. Without Matt Damon, however, it feels like a placeholder.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • ChrisWootton

      Aug 10th 2012, 9:03

      I didn't see any of that from Damon's performances as Bourne. Apart from some great set pieces I always thought they were a bit over rated as movies. This looks good though.

      Alert a moderator

    • muddybloke

      Aug 10th 2012, 10:30


      Saw preview of this the other night. Really enjoyed it. Liked how it linked to the other Bourne's, and was just a good old fashioned thrill ride without too much dumbing down.

      Alert a moderator

    • Hadouken76

      Aug 17th 2012, 20:11


      Saw it today. It starts off well enough, nice build up to.. nothing. The characters have a tendency to explain the plot every 5 minutes using baffling scientific jargon and theres very little action.

      Alert a moderator

    • whysoserious416

      Aug 18th 2012, 10:34

      I just saw it and being a fan of the first three bourne movies, I was kind of dissapointed. Matt Damon was what made the Bourne series and without him, it's kind of like the new spiderman movie. Even with all the action, it's not the same...

      Alert a moderator

    • garycurtis

      Aug 19th 2012, 19:27


      Just seen this film. I am a massive massive fan of the Bourne films and I did hold slight worries about this. It starts off well, the parts in Alaska are really nicely done and I liked the details of the shady CIA dealings. But the problem is I know Jason Bourne, I watched him learn about himself and past as at the same time he did. He was a human against the system. There is little or no background to this new character or any connection between the Rachel Weisz character. The chase at the end was actually boring. It feels like a photocopy version of the real thing sadly.

      Alert a moderator

    • nicksmith51

      Aug 24th 2012, 11:51


      Went to see this film recently.It's terrible.The problem is the talking in between the action is just nonsense and it goes on forever.In the other films it meant something because it was part of what Jason Bourne was trying to find out and you cared.I couldn't have cared less about Jeremy Renner.Come back Matt Damon....oh and with a better story and action.

      Alert a moderator

    • FBSDuiker

      Sep 4th 2012, 12:23

      I didn't like it. I haven't seen the first three Bourne films in a long time so I don't know if that has anything to do with it, but there was a lot of talking and a lot of names that I didn't understand, that I felt like was there because the movie tried to be smarter that it actually was. And although I like these actors, there was absolutely no chemistry between Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner.

      Alert a moderator

Most Popular