Director: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach
Aaron Cross (Renner) "Number Five" has been secluded up in the Alaskan mountains as part of a training program for Operation Outcome. He has been given a special pill regimen of a green pill and a blue pill to enhance memory and strength. Aaron comes across operative Number Three and they commune in the lodge Number Three has been living in. After Jason Bourne exposes Operation Blackbriar and the Treadstone Project, Eric Byer (Norton) is called in to cover up the CIA initiatives. While Cross is out surveying the land around the lodge, a missile is shot and blows up Number Three. It has become apparent to Cross that the members of Operation Outcome have been targeted for elimination. He dislodges the tracker that has been implanted in him and forces it into a wolf that tried to attack him.
Dr. Donald Foite (Zeljko Ivanek) has been brain washed to kill his fellow scientists at Outcome who have been making the green and blue pills. The lone survivor of the rampage is Dr. Marta Shearing (Weisz) who hides until Dr. Foite pulls the gun on himself. Later at home, Dr. Marta is attacked again by the same CIA agents that were in charge of the rampage. Aaron Cross mysteriously shows up killing the agents and rescuing Dr. Marta. They escape and head to Manila, Philippines where the pills are manufactured. Byer learns of their plans and sends a team to Manila to capture them. Naturally, this leads to many more chase sequences and high brow stunts.
Tony Gilroy wrote and directed this Bourne reboot. He had previously written the other three Bourne movies, but decided to take over the director's chair after Paul Greengrass decided not to return to the series. With Matt Damon also deciding not to return, Gilroy had a couple of options if he was going to make another movie. He could recast the role of Jason Bourne, create a new spy in a new adventure, or create a new spy but incorporate him into the Jason Bourne story line. Gilroy chose the latter choice, which has its ups and downs. Jason Bourne is referenced in the movie, andmany of the supporting characters have returned like Joan Allen's Pamela Landy and David Strathairn's Noah Vosen. I think it is important to have recently watched the first trilogy before going into The Bourne Legacy. You won't fully understand the subplots or relationships if you don't remember the events from the other movies. While it is great to tie it into the series, the movie does not succeed in standing on its own. We get introduced to the new Aaron Cross character, but we do not know much about his history or how he got into the program. The majority of the movie is Aaron and Marta on the run. There is no real conclusion as it is merely set up to feel like the first movie in a brand new series. Do not be surprised if the ending comes out of nowhere.
If you can get passed the notion that there is no definitive plot structure with a beginning, middle, and end, the movie is still highly enjoyable. You might also sit through the first thirty minutes confused as to what is going on. Once Aaron and Dr. Marta are on the run, the film narrows in on the main chase and it takes off. The action sequences and chases are edge-of-your-seat. I found myself audibly gasping during the final chase. I think it was a great casting choice to have Rachel Weisz playing Marta. The Academy Award winning actress is used to appearing in heavy hitting dramas, so it is a refreshing choice on her part. She is completely believable as the scientist and tough enough for the action sequences. She is no wimpy babe running around screaming. Jeremy Renner is proving to be quite the little action star. This is his third big action movie recently following Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol and Marvel’s The Avengers. I do not know how many of his stunts he actually did, but he can sure run over rooftops, ride motorcycles, and scale down buildings like other action stars. He is more than capable of continuing this series if the studios want it. Will I go see a sequel? Yes, of course.
RATING: *** 1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)