By Jessica Delfanti | August 10, 2012
Director: Tony Gilroy
Writers: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Zeljko Ivanek, Louis Ozawa Changchien
The action genre has, in recent years, stretched beyond its car-chase-and-explosions cliche to include marvelous effects, heavily layered storylines, and well cast actors. Yet, rarely does one have a chance to see something as simply satisfying as Tony Gilroy’s reboot/trilogy continuation The Bourne Legacy.
The Bourne Legacy launches from the events that surrounded Jason Bourne to focus on an endearing new character, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner). Cross, a subject to behavioral modification trials, must go on the lamb when his program is terminated. Aided by the lovely scientist Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), Cross must travel the world and battle against fearsome foes like the cutthroat bureaucrat Eric Byer (Edward Norton) and vicious assassin LARX (Louis Ozawa Changchien).
Admittedly, plot wise, The Bourne Legacy brings little, if anything, to the previous three Bourne installments. The hint at conspiracy is present, as well as the desperate evasion of foreign police. It is difficult to discern if this low quality story is a necessary flaw in the first of a trilogy, or simply deemed irrelevant by the filmmakers.
Regardless of the lack of narrative, the film remarkably manages to deliver a tantalizing and exciting series of action scenes. The result is a general sense of apathy toward the overarching story, tempered with a keen interest in seeing Cross overcome whatever his immediate obstacle may be. This, in fact, makes for a far more engaging action film, as the audience is constantly maintained in the present, hanging on every shot, slide, and turn.
In addition, the casting makes up for a great part of what the script lacks: Renner is swiftly becoming one of the most exciting actors on the big screen. He holds a specific kind of every-man charisma that makes his Cross feel grittier and more tangible than Matt Damon’s Bourne ever did. He is a pleasure to watch, maintaining interest both in heavily dramatic scenes that display his acting ability and action-oriented scenes with no dialogue.
Complaints about the film will surely circle the lack of real climax and an ending that feels hollow and incomplete. To that, Gilroy can only answer with one thing: complete the story with the next Cross movie.