I could re-watch the first three films in the Jason Bourne franchise until I had an identity crisis and then watch them all over again. So it was with some trepidation that I settled into my seat, clutching a bag of M&M’s for moral support, to watch the next instalment.
I have been asked not to give away plot points. So I shall evade them as Jason Bourne evaded his captors but remember he was nearly caught on a number of occasions.
In some ways the feel of “Legacy” is comfortingly familiar, intense conversations in grey offices, serious and aged men making veiled threats about unnamed projects being blown wide open, Q & As like “How did that get out?”, “I found it on youtube” etc.
Fit looking men of various nationalities performing simple tasks with ever-so-slight OCD undertones while ‘taking everything in’ with a glance at their surroundings.
Rachel Weisz gives a slightly uneven performance. Is she an untidy mess? A Professional Chemist? Or a budding survivalist?
The tone and intensity is the same as the first three Bourne movies. The film-makers have, at least, differentiated it by starting with a slow pace and building the action up to a crescendo. They did not make the mistake of trying to plug the new agent, Aaron Cross, into the same formulae of the previous three films. They even went as far as to start the story at the same point that Jason Bourne reappears in “The Bourne Ultimatum” (tackles plot point to the ground and grinds pasta into it’s eyes).
The trailer/teasers promised a cast full of the same supporting characters which, sadly, it does not deliver as much. Joan Allen, Scott Glen, David Strathairn are mere cameos replaced by a new head of operations, Eric Byer (the too like-able Edward Norton who I kept expecting to turn into the Incredible Hulk at any given moment). Even scenes in which he gives out cold termination orders I still managed to forgive him.
The plot doesn’t twist quite as much as it did with Jason Bourne. There are less believable escapes and a few more stretches of the imagination for us to navigate. If it not saved by the supporting characters it is the atmosphere and…
It is Jeremy Renner’s performance that saves an otherwise semi-carbon copy action sequel from sinking into the pool of other Bourne lookalikes. He has the presence and the charm to carry off the new agent, Aaron Cross, helped by the screenwriters his goals may be very similar to that of Jason Bourne at least his motivation and his execution differ somewhat.
If the other elements of the Bourne franchise are getting a little stale he is the injection that attempts to tighten them back up again.
Renner progressed from the lead in “The Hurt Locker”, where the limelight all fell on Director Kathryn Bigelow, then he played played third fiddle in the Avenger movies and second fiddle to Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, here he is battling the shadow of Matt Damon. He has executed all of this with a grim determination and a gritty style.
He is currently shooting a biopic of Steve McQueen, which I am looking forward to but I believe he is ready to be given a leading role haunted by no legacy other than his own presence and acting talent.