The Bourne Legacy (2012) Directed by Toby Gilroy
“Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg.”
If there is one thing shadowy government agencies hate, its rogue agents, and when the rogue is actually a genetically enhanced spy like Jason Bourne, their hatred is genetically enhanced as well. Now, the entire Outcome project is threatening to be exposed, and that leaves Retired Col. Eric Byer, USAF (Edward Norton) one option; burn it to the ground.
The problem with burning a program that involves genetically altered humans dependant on the program drugs is that the people themselves are the most damning evidence. But in the shadowy world of Treadstone and Blackbriar, you don’t exactly let things like morality stand in the way.
The other problem with disposing of super spies is you have invested millions of dollars in training is that they are damned hard to kill. Case in point, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner); when he started running low on meds, he started hiking over the Rockies in Winter for the nearest stash. And that probably saved him. High in a secluded cabin with another Outcome agent (Oscar Isaac) (the only other he has ever met) Cross’ training saves him from becoming a victim on the drone strike. He even creatively manages to create the illusion he is dead as well. And that gives him room to make his next move.
Meanwhile, in the continuing purge, Dr. Donald Foite (Zeljko Ivanek) goes into work, disables all the door handles to the outcome lab, and then proceeds to shoot people. Remember, they are working on chemical behavioral control. The only person to survive his rampage by a combination of smarts and luck is Dr. Marita Shearing (Rachel Weisz). As the only surviving creator of the drugs, that’s Aaron’s next target.
That’s a good thing for Dr. Shearing, since Aaron need her alive, and her employers want her dead. The question is, can Dr. Shearing actually do anything to keep Aaron from slipping off his meds? She is a research scientist, not a manufacturer. But, she does know where they are made.
The Bourne Legacy (which jokingly was referred to as the Bourne Redundancy back while they were making the Matt Damon movies…his story arc had three chapters, and no more) is a rip roaring action spy thriller. Jeremy Renner has proven himself as an action hero, most recently as Hawkeye in The Avengers. Here, he delivers the goods as top gun, and I have to say, he does not disappoint. Whether it is in unarmed (him) combat with three other (armed) assailants, and this happens more than once, to parkouring his way over the rooftops of Manila with an assassin in hot pursuit, he delivers.
There is one extended scene, on motorcycles, where the terror on Aaron and Marita’s faces is so real, so raw, it is Oscar worthy. The reason it is so believable is because it is real. Rachel Weisz was genuinely terrified. There was no acting. What she did not know is that Jeremy Renner was just as scared, because he was responsible for her life as well as his own, and movie set or not, if you come off a bike going fifty miles an hour, well, you might not be back for the sequel.
And of course, the other side of the coin is just as real, if a little less intense; Edward Norton, Stacey Keech (as Retired Adm. Mark Turso, USN) and Donna Murphy (as Dita Mandy) are wonderful as cold blooded reptilian spymasters, devoid of compassion, morality, or common human decency. So are their minions, and this is a good thing, because no matter what you do to them, the audience doesn’t feel bad about it. It’s like using lawyers instead of lab rats. (I know, old joke. All you lawyers can send your hate mail to the usual address.)
There is no message in The Bourne Legacy, no hidden truth, no social commentary. It’s just a rip roaring action film meant to separate you from a few bucks and to get you to buy popcorn. And I have to tell you, it does the job very, very well. And something else this film does; it opens the door form more Bourne movies; there were 9 agents; Jason and Aaron are two, there are four that we see eliminated, but that leaves three more out there, apparently KIA. If this movie teaches us anything, it’s that an Outcome agent should never be marked down as dead until you are holding their severed head in your hand. Even then, it might bite. Next up, Heirs of the Bourne Legacy.
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Movie Mood: Action Movie
Viewing Method: Sneak Preview at My Local Theater
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.