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In theaters, Jeremy Renner (“The Avengers”) takes over the “Bourne” franchise in “The Bourne Legacy.”
The franchise began with a trilogy of films staring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a mind-manipulated assassin who suddenly realizes who he is and what he’s done. Bourne decides he wants out. The trilogy then follows his attempt to escape the assassin life and expose the people who made him that way. Plus, there’s a lot of running and chasing.
The highly popular series now is in the process of a reboot with a new top-secret science project and a new agent on the run.
The previous films built off a secret government project creating super agents by messing with their minds, creating Bourne. This time around, Renner’s character, Aaron Cross, is enhanced by gene-altering medications created from viruses.
Renner is believable, but his motivation is different, driving the film in a different direction from the other movies. Unlike Bourne, Cross isn’t obsessed with getting out and taking down the organization that made him the way he is. Instead, he races against the clock to make sure he keeps his super abilities.
While the previous “Bourne” films are adrenaline shots of one chase after another, this film builds slowly. The setting is during “The Bourne Ultimatum” with hints back to that film as it fits into Cross’ timeline.
It feels more like a connecter film linking the first “Bourne” trilogy to a new series. It ends without resolutions of issues brought up during the movie.
All Bourne’s work exposing the agency responsible for his dilemma is turned upside down, basically rendering the previous three films pointless. We also don’t see a desire in Cross’ character to make right what has been wronged by himself or the agency that created him. Maybe that all will be saved for a sequel, but the film seemed to leave these things unsettled.
Part of the charm of the “Bourne” series was the inner turmoil of the main character dealing with his actions during his agency career and a desire to take down the agency responsible for his torment. I didn’t get that kind of feel from this installment.
“The Bourne Legacy” does continue using high-quality actors, adding Rachel Weisz (“Dream House”) and Edward Norton (“Moonrise Kingdom”) this time around. Previous “Bourne” stars include Scott Glenn, Albert Finney, David Strathairn and Joan Allen also make appearances.
The fourth installment of the “Bourne” saga is interesting enough to want to see what happens in upcoming movies, but I expected more.
It has less action, less emotion, less purpose and a lot less Bourne, but has potential to improve.