Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Jason Bourne was a bad man.  He could run, jump, punch, shoot, and roundhouse kick with the best of them.  But what I didn't know, and this is where this new Bourne movie comes in, 'The Bourne Legacy', was some of that stuff that Bourne was pulling off might've been with the assistance of a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) or two.  Where Jason Bourne might be when this movie starts… heaven only knows… but all that mayhem he was causing in the first three movies is about to come to roost as the clean up and the cover up is in full effect.

This cleanup / cover up mission will be spearheaded by Col. Eric Byer (Edward Norton).  Who he is he and who does he work for… again… heaven only knows… but he's one of those shady operator characters in movies that's extremely connected, pulls strings, kills people by remote control indiscriminately, seems to operate completely outside the law and has way more power than the President of the United States.  In fact I wouldn't be surprised if the President called this guy boss. 

So it turns out the whole Bourne thing was some kind of Super Soldier program that consisted of physical enhancements combined with intelligence boosting and it looks like some stuff has leaked out to the point that this program needs to be terminated.  Immediately.  Rudely.  With extreme prejudice.  And we mean everything related to this program.  The field operatives who by all accounts have been doing bang up work, reporters who may or may not know anything about this program, and scientist who are on the program must all be put to sleep.

We know already Jason Bourne won't be showing up to save the day, but we do have Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) who we meet in the middle of the world's most ridiculous training mission.  Aaron has showed up smack dab in the middle of the
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cleaning process but that boy is a quick thinker to go along with his sharp reflexes and he makes it out.  Problem being that he needs his meds because unlike Jason Bourne who was pretty sharp before he entered this mysterious program, Aaron Cross was not.  To say the least.
Aaron figures the pretty doctor who used to administer his treatments might have the stuff he needs to stay on his game, she being Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who barely survived her own close murder shave.  Aaron picks her up, with some difficulty of course as the cleanup process is still going on strong, as these two fugitives basically travel around the world to avoid detection, subsequent death, and get Aaron his desperately needed PED's.  This cat is a crackhead for this stuff, for real.  And he's gonna need that stuff because the walls are closing in and death is around every corner.  Even though we, personally speaking, think it to be all a bit unnecessary. 

On one hand we here are pleased to see the Bourne narrative go into a new direction.  Matt Damon was in three of these movies, all three excellent films to varying degrees, but how much neck snapping and fleeing for one's life can one man do before it gets a little stale?  So this time around they turn the directing reins over to Tony Gilroy, and one would imagine they are in safe hands considering he did write or co-write the first three films, and they turned him loose. 
What we got this time around was a movie that was crisp and certainly not more of the same, but also one that felt a little long and over-plotted considering how many elements were going on at the same time.  But yet… despite the wealth of characters, all of them talking a lot about an awful lot of stuff, with the eyes in the skies, and the information overload that was being delivered to us… I'm not sure this complex over plotted script ever told me what exactly was going on in this movie.

Now the basics are as plain as day.  The pretty girl and the strapping hero must survive or die.  But after the third long, drawn out chase sequence we found ourselves asking ourselves 'why do they have to die?'  I get it, the program is danger of being exposed, despite the fact they already put a bullet in the head of the one guy they thought might know something, but the people they are eliminating are some of the most loyal, hardworking folks ever who just want to murder in the name of freedom for their country.  Assassinating people like this, who will do anything you tell them to do, including our strapping hero until they tried to blow him up, is kind of dumb and counterproductive when you think about it.  One of our characters from the previous films is about to spill her beans in front of congress, but they're not worried about her.  Jason Bourne is still running around out there causing a ruckus but they don't seem to be worried about him either.  Apparently there's another Super Soldier program out there that they use to try to get rid our badass hero and the pretty doctor, but they're not worried about him either.  There's a whole disconnect there, at least from where I was sitting, about who deserves to get a government sponsored bullet in the head.

It's possible that this disconnect might've been in the previous films, but they moved so fast, especially 'The Bourne Ultimatum', that it was hard to focus on inconsistencies.  'The Bourne Legacy' was so talky and spent so much time in backroom boardrooms that you had no choice but to focus on the narrative, and it comes up short.

Regardless, the action was good when there was action, I really enjoyed the backstory given for Jeremy Renner's character, obviously Renner and Weisz are excellent actors and had no problem carrying this movie around, with other actors such as Norton, Stacy Keach, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney and more providing excellent support… but this talkative Spy Procedural either needed less talk and more action, or better talk and more action.  One or the another I'm thinking. 
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