Watch The Bourne Legacy
- 2 hr 15 min
As directed by Tony Gilroy, The Bourne Legacy is a continuation of the Bourne franchise focused on the secret government program that turned Jason Bourne into a deadly assassin. This latest installment introduces audiences to Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a member of the same program who, like Bourne, has been enhanced with various drugs to enhance his physical and cognitive abilities. Unlike Bourne, however, Cross is not on the run, at least not yet. The film begins with Cross undertaking a particularly grueling training exercise in the wilds of Alaska, demonstrating his impressive survival skills and an intense dedication to his work.
Meanwhile, the agency responsible for the program is in crisis mode. Following the events of the previous films, Bourne's actions have put the entire operation in jeopardy, and it becomes clear that the only way to salvage the program is to eliminate all of its assets, including Cross. To make matters worse, the drugs that power Cross's abilities are running out, and in order to continue functioning at his current level, he needs to secure a steady supply of medication. His search for a source takes him to Manila, where he crosses paths with the beautiful and brilliant Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a scientist who has been working on the program for years but is unaware of its nefarious goals.
Of course, the forces arrayed against Cross and Shearing are considerable, and they soon find themselves on the run from a relentless team of assassins led by Eric Byer (Edward Norton), a government official with a decidedly Machiavellian streak. The resulting chase takes the two from Manila to the States and back again, with some breathtaking set pieces along the way.
One of the most notable aspects of The Bourne Legacy is its sheer intensity. The film constantly ratchets up the tension, drawing us deeper and deeper into Cross's world of intrigue and danger. Renner is the perfect choice to play the troubled protagonist, imbuing Cross with a fascinating combination of physical toughness and emotional vulnerability. We learn just enough about his past to make him sympathetic, but not so much that we lose the sense of mystery and intrigue that makes him such a compelling character. Weisz, too, is excellent as the smart, resourceful, and ultimately terrified Dr. Shearing. She imbues the character with a real sense of bravery, even as she is forced to confront the horrifying reality of the program she has been working on.
Norton is a formidable presence as Byer, a man who is willing to do whatever it takes to preserve the program that he believes is essential to national security. He is coolly calculating, but never less than convincing, and watching him work is a delight. Much of the pleasure of The Bourne Legacy comes from the various confrontations between these three characters, as they try to outwit and overpower each other at every turn.
Another notable aspect of the film is its globe-trotting scope. Manila, in particular, is treated as a character in its own right, with its sprawling slums and bustling underground drug trade serving as a stark counterpoint to the sleek corridors of power in Washington, D.C. and the icy wilderness in which the film begins. Every location is rendered in lush detail, and even the most incidental characters feel fully fleshed out and real.
Overall, The Bourne Legacy is an intense, engaging continuation of the Bourne franchise, filled with thrilling action set pieces, fantastic performances, and a palpable sense of danger at every turn. Fans of the earlier films will find much to enjoy here, as will newcomers looking for a smart, sophisticated action movie. It's yet another triumph for Tony Gilroy, and a testament to his skills as a storyteller and filmmaker.
The Bourne Legacy is a 2012 action movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 15 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 61.