The Ninjabot

Jeremy Renner Takes the Reins in The Bourne Legacy

Posted on August 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm by Amanda Andonian

The Bourne Legacy opened yesterday, and while I’m sure it will make a ton of money just on the reputation of its forefathers, I didn’t see people going to the theater in droves to catch this newest installment of the Bourne series. Rest assured, though, that if you’re a fan of Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne, then you’ll most definitely be on-board for Jeremy Renner, who steps into the role of Aaron Cross—another special operative whose circumstances change as a direct result of the events from the previous three movies.

In addition to Jeremy Renner, this all-star cast is headed by Rachel Weisz (The Fountain, Constantine, The Mummy) as Dr. Marta Shearing, Edward Norton (Fight Club, The Incredible Hulk) as Col. Eric Byer, and Stacy Keach (Two and a Half Men, Prison Break) as Adm. Mark Turso. I love this supporting cast, especially Norton, who manages to be menacing and earnest at the same time, making me feel as though his character isn’t such a bad guy after all. Norton and Keach are trying to contain the firestorm that’s about to descend on Washington because of Jason Bourne’s activities in The Bourne Ultimatum, and part of that process includes terminating all projects that were even tangentially related to Treadstone—the top secret initiative that bred Bourne in the first place.

I’m sure you can guess where this is going. Genetically engineered super agent is minding his own business, twitchy government big wigs lose their cool, and it all devolves into a fight for their lives. Oh, and of course there’s a girl to save. That girl is Weisz, whose involvement in the program as a scientist makes her a target after she survives a botched attempt by Norton and Keach’s people to eliminate her. Renner comes to the rescue, and the two are soon on the run.

The action is pretty superb; there probably isn’t a single wasted second in this movie, which is incredible given its 2 hour and 15 minute run-time. Although I could feel the length of the movie, it didn’t seem slow or dragging to me, probably because Renner and Weisz are constantly on the move, which is then juxtaposed with Norton and Keach’s efforts to catch up with them. You definitely get a sense of there being very high stakes involved (even if you’re not entirely sure what those stakes are), and so watching the two sides try and stay ahead of the other was engrossing and entertaining.

The Macguffin in this film, though, isn’t just trying to stay alive and keeping one step ahead of the enemy; it’s also Renner’s desire to get his hands on more of the medication he’d been taking as a subject in the program. He helps Weisz because she’s the only person he knows in connection with the project, and convinces her that she needs to help him too if they’re both going to survive. Predictably, the two bond over the dangerous circumstances, but the movie doesn’t go overboard with their relationship, which I appreciated. So, if you were hoping to see Weisz without her shirt on, you’re out of luck.

We do get several eye-fulls of Renner, though, but I’m certainly not going to complain about that! I’ve been a fan of his ever since his brief stint as a cop in The Unusuals (which was cancelled far too soon in my opinion). If you ever doubted that Renner could carry this role, rest assured that he was the right choice to inherit it. He not only wears the mantle of an action star well, but he also has the same charm and charisma that Damon brought to Jason Bourne. I would contend that he’s even more entertaining to watch than Damon. Renner is definitely on his way to being the next big action star, especially after The Avengers and the latest Mission Impossible.

I also have to give a shout out to Zeljko Ivanek (Heroes, 24, True Blood) who really brought a lot to his brief time in the screen as a seemingly innocuous and throw-away character at the beginning of the film. He’s always had a way of making me feel creeped out in his previous roles on Heroes, 24, and True Blood; and he definitely doesn’t disappoint in this movie, even though his role is relatively small.

In short, The Bourne Legacy is a fun, action-packed return to the Bourne universe, and it actually made me interested in seeing more. No doubt that’s exactly Universal’s plan since they rebooted the franchise in the first place. If you’re a fan of the previous movies, you’ll probably enjoy this one as well, even if you are attached to Matt Damon’s origination of the role.

    • Sidney

      Saw it today, loved it! Missed Damon, but Renner is awesome. It would be great to have them both… A girl can dream can't she.

      • Yeah, it would be awesome of Damon made an appearance in the next one (and I'm sure there will be a next one). Just the thought makes me giddy!

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