Jeremy Renner is great, but unless you’ve seen the previous Bourne films you might struggle with the plot.Changing the lead actor three films into a franchise is a risky move.
The James Bond films are some of the few that get away with it and that’s mostly because it is expected.
The Bourne films have been around for only 10 years, so getting rid of Matt Damon and introducing a new main man could have been a disaster, but Jeremy Renner is great.
Considering he has no dialogue for the first 15 minutes, Renner does well getting you on his side, even though we know nothing about him except his pseudonym.
He is not there to replace Damon as Jason Bourne, but as outcome agent Aaron Cross.
It takes a while to realise this, as the film seems to start the same way the last one finished, with a body floating in the water, but once you figure out Bourne is somewhere else in this universe, you can relax.
But while Renner is great, the rest of the film is lukewarm. A sequel should be able to stand on its own, but if you haven’t seen the last Bourne movie, or even the one before that, you will struggle to understand what is happening.
The Bourne Legacy picks up where the second film left off, which is also where the third one starts. So, basically this film is happening at the same time Bourne is causing chaos in Manhattan.
If you weren’t confused by that, the constant changes of location and story focus mean you need to concentrate to keep up, so this is definitely one for the already established fans.
Bourne is starting to expose CIA Operations Treadstone and Blackbriar, so the security agency decides they need to hide all evidence, including killing off active agents in the programs.
Enter Cross, one of the physically and mentally enhanced agents, who realises what is happening and makes a run for it.
However, he is nearly out of the medication that keeps him strong and smart, so he tracks down scientist Dr Marta Shearing (Weisz) to get him more pills. Except the government is also after her, so there are a lot of car chases.
There are elements of the film that are stronger than those before it. To counteract the confusing timeline, the writers have tried to explain everything properly and have done so in a way that doesn’t leave you bored.
Gone too is the frenetic pace of the first three. Also, Australia’s Shane Jacobson has a cameo and it’s always good to hear an Aussie accent in the midst of all those Americans.
But there are downfalls. It lacks the awesomeness that made the other Bourne films so good, and throwing Weisz and Renner into a strange, almost-romantic-but-not-quite pairing doesn’t quite work.
While Damon makes no physical appearances, a good part of the film is devoted to talking about the havoc Bourne is causing offscreen, and you can’t help but think they are trying to include him any way possible to give the film a boost.
While it doesn’t have the energy of the original trilogy, the fourth instalment is good enough that a fifth is highly likely.
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