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REVIEW: The Bourne Legacy Blows Us Away

REVIEW: The Bourne Legacy Blows Us Away

By Tim Wainwright

Masterminds, do not be afraid: the latest movie in the ass-kicking Bourne franchise doesn't let fans down!

Directed by Tony Gilroy, the narrative architect of the first three films, The Bourne Legacy stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, a member of the same pyramid scheme of experimental covert ops initiatives that produced Jason Bourne. In Legacy, it’s simply known as “The Program.” And due to the work of Matt Damon in the previous films, there’s starting to be a lot of scrutiny from pesky “civilian” types—you know, a free press, elected representatives, that kind of thing. The orders come straight from Homeland Security—time to shut The Program down for a while. And we all know there’s only one way to shut down a little-known government program: KILL. EVERYONE.

Unfortunately for the government, Aaron Cross never got that memo. He evades the drones sent to blow his outpost up in an intense series of scenes involving explosions, satellites, sniper rifles, and freaking WOLVES that’s worth the price of admission alone. He could just fall off the grid at this point, but there’s a catch: the Program scientists were giving him pills to improve his fitness and I.Q., and unless he gets another dose soon he’ll revert back to the mental weakling he used to be. He teams up with fellow survivor Dr. Marta Shearing (played by Rachel Weisz) and tries to track down the medicine, all while avoiding operatives of the world’s finest intelligence organization who just happen to be bent on his destruction.

In the immortal words of Keanu Reeves: “Whoa.”

The acting is great. Jeremy Renner proves he can handle more than supporting roles. While most of us have probably seen him alongside bigger stars in The Avengers, Mission: Impossible, or The Town, after this movie we’ll be seeing him as leading man more often. He looks like a real human being as opposed to a Hollywood super stud, which helps him play those good-guy-with-a-bad-boy-streak characters. Edward Norton is very Edward Norton (“freaking brilliant” if you check Webster’s Dictionary) as a Homeland Security official. He isn’t just your typical “sinister-conspiracy-government-guy,” but something better and more ambiguous: a guy who will “do the morally indefensible, but completely necessary.” Rachel Weisz is solid as a Doctor in seriously over her head.

Gilroy does a great job carrying on the spirit of the first three movies. Like Jason Bourne, the first way the audience meets Aaron Cross is underwater, although this time the swimming is deliberate instead of desperate. Gilroy makes other sneaky references to the spy: a brief mention of an incident with some Soviets to let us know that our hero is still doing his thang, a flash of his mug shot on a CIA screen. Great stuff.

And the other little touches that made the first three movies are here as well. Those extra finishing moves that are just a hair more brutal than they would be in any other PG-13 action movie, or the masterful shots of Cross using some improvised weapon to ruthlessly dispatch a foe. Some of the cat and mouse shootout scenes literally had us on the edge of our seats!

The score also needs to be mentioned. There is an awesome sound effect that keeps recurring during the tenser scenes, a kind of rattling wind chime effect played in slow motion, like someone tapping a xylophone while keeping a hand over the end of it, producing a duller “clunk” sound instead of an echoing ring. Whatever the hell it is, it really helps push those scenes to the next level. So mad props to composer James Howard for that one!

All in allt he Mindhut verdict is see this. If only to see what Jeremy Renner does to those wolves!

Tags: movies, reviews, jeremy renner, the bourne legacy, cia, matt damon

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About the Author
Tim Wainwright

Tim Wainwright writes about monsters, sexual ethics, and public sector employee pension reform--and sometimes other things. You can follow him on twitter @Tim_Wainwright , because he has a strange desire to have people read the things he writes. He is growing to accept the fact that people will always call him "bud", and that he will never pull off the cowboy hat look.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.