So when Matt Damon decided to step away from the Bourne franchise, the studio decided to create a new character and a new actor to fill the void. Enter Jeremy Renner, fresh off the massive blockbuster The Avengers, and the studio was hoping to cash in on his new found fame to bring in the audience. Yes, I know that The Bourne Legacy was filmed before The Avengers hit the screen; doesn’t mean that my previous statement isn’t what the studio was thinking. Anyways, I didn’t get around to seeing this movie in theaters and only picked it up so as to complete the series. The question is, how good of an impulse buy did I make with this movie.
The plot: At a Department of Defense Special Operations Group training site in Alaska, Aaron Cross emerges from a frozen lake with a dead drop container that was left as part of his training mission. Meanwhile, CIA Director Ezra Kramer goes to visit Retired Navy Admiral Mark Turso, telling him about the situation with Simon Ross and his looking into Jason Bourne, Treadstone, and Blackbriar. When Turso chastises Kramer for his handling of Bourne and the Black Ops programs, Kramer says that maybe he should let Colonel Eric Byer know what is going on but Turso tells him that he is in enough trouble and to let him contact Byer. Later that night/early morning, Turso meets up with Byer as he goes for an early morning jog in the rain. Back in Alaska, Cross spends the night fending off a pack of wolves and when day breaks, he begins making his way across the mountains. In Washington DC, Byer heads to the National Research Assay Group, which he oversees and Turso runs, and gets his team to go over everything possible related to Treadstone, Blackbriar, and their own operation; Outcome. Meanwhile, at Sterisyn-Morlanta, a biogenetics company that does support for Outcome, Dr. Marta Shearing approaches an Outcome operative, called # 6, and tells him they need a full panel work on him since he had been out in the field for so long. Meanwhile, Byer’s team discovers a video of Dr. Albert Hirsch of Treadstone socializing with Dr. Dan Hillcott, Outcomes Director of Medical Research, and as Byer shows the video to Turso and Terrence Ward, he tells them that their best course of action to ensure that they don’t get linked to the mess that Treadstone is finding themselves in with Bourne, is to go ahead and burn everything surrounding the Outcome program and start up the beta programs. Back in Alaska, Cross opens a pill kit he carries and noticing he only has one blue and one green pill left, he hides them in his boot as he heads to cabin, firing his gun several times to alert anyone there of his approach. He is met by Operative # 3, who is surprised to learn that Cross had gone over the mountain, shaving his time by 2 days, and invites him into the cabin. #3 tells him to go ahead and get his blood work started but Cross tells him that he lost his chems and needs replacements and #3 is reluctant to help him. While all this is going on, Ross is assassinated by Paz, and when Bourne shows up in New York City, CIA Agent Tom Cronin, Pamela Landy’s assistant, calls Byer to let him know. Byer goes through with hsi plan to begin eliminating the Outcome agents, sending their handler’s yellow pills to give the agents, who tell the agents that they are new chems, but when the agents take them, they are shown to be poisoned. In Alaska, Cross and #3 are at the cabin and Cross hears a drone approaching but, believing that something is wrong, he decides to leave the cabin just as the drone fires a missile and blows the cabin up, killing #3. Cross then makes a run for it as the drone’s pilots notice that Cross’s signal is still active and circle the drone around for another pass. Cross uses a pot to mask the signal coming from the tracing beacon implanted in his thigh, then uses his rifle to shoot down the drone as they try locate him. Cross heads back to the wreckage of the cabin and tries to find #3’s stash of chems but finds that they have all been obliterated. Meanwhile, Byer learns that Cross is still alive and he heads to the drone control room to ensure that the kill Cross with their next drone. In Alaska, Cross removes the tracker from his thigh, then lures in one of the wolves that had been following him, snaring it in a trap, then feeds the tracker to the wolf before chasing it off. As the second drone reaches the area, it fires a missile at the wolf, thinking it is Cross, and as they confirm the target is dead, Byer thinks back to one of his first meeting with Cross when he recruited him to Outcome. Later, Byer and Turso are talking with Ward about Pamela Landy’s upcoming Senate hearing and they tell him that they are not concerned about Landy’s testimony as they will make it seem like she is a traitor. In Sterisyn-Morlanta, Dr. Donald Foite makes his way into the research lab for the chems, locking and disabling the doors as he enters the lab, then he begins to kill everyone inside the lab, with Dr. Shearing being the last one alive. As security makes it in there and fires on him, he appears unfazed by the bullets and turns the gun on himself. As Cross makes his way to DC, Shearing is questioned by the police about the shooting incident before heading to her home. The next day, she is interviewed by some federal agents, who want to make sure she is cleared and has not broken her confidentiality agreement. When she says she hasn’t told anyone what she was working on, the two agents questioning her grab her and attempt to force her to shoot herself. Suddenly, Cross shows up and kills them, then asks Shearing if she has any chems there but she tells him know. When a 5th member of the assassin group radios in for a sit-rep, Cross pretends to be one of the team and says that Shearing is dead, then proceeds to pour kerosene inside the house and set it on fire before leaving with Shearing. As they are driving, Cross asks her where he can get some meds and they begin arguing over their situation. When Cross reveals that he is taking green and blue pills, Shearing is shocked that he is still taking greens as he had been virally modified so that the effects of the green pills were permanently in his system, meaning he did not have to take them any more. When he asks if the same could be done for the blue pills, she says yes but they would have to travel to the other side of the world to do it, as that is where the facility is. Meanwhile, Byer, Turso, and Ward are trying to figure out what happened at Shearing’s house as they come up with a cover story to use for Shearing’s death/disappearance. Later that night, Cross and Shearing are talking and Shearing asks why it is so important for him to get more of the blue pills. Cross shows her a file online that is his death certificate, saying he was “killed in a roadside bomb” in order to take part of Outcome and he needs the blue pills, which raise the user’s intelligence, in order to keep them both alive and because his recruitment officer lied about his IQ and wrote it down as high enough to meet the army’s minimal requirement and he doesn’t want to revert back to how he was. Cross makes some fake passports for both of them, and as they wait to board the plane for the Phillipines, Cross sees a news report that Dr. Hirsch had died from a heart attack before his scheduled testimony at the Senate hearing while Shearing sees the news report that Byer’s team cooked up about her printed in the paper. Cross and Shearing manage to make it to Manila and head to Sterisyn-Morlanta’s plant there so that Shearing can give Cross the viral package to permanently alter his brain. Meanwhile, Byre’s team has managed to track Shearing and as they try to figure out who is helping her, they discover it is Cross. Byre clears out all the unnecessary people from the room, leaving himself, Truso, Ward, and two other and they realize that Shearing had gone there to inject Cross with the viral stems so he no longer needs the chems. They contact building security there but Cross is able to take them out, then he and Shearing escape. Realizing they have a limited window to deal with them, Byre orders LARX-03 to be activated, shocking Turso as he didn’t know that the proposed “super soldier” program was up and running. Cross and Shearing are walking the streets of Manila when Cross begins to suffer flu-like symptoms from the viral stems, and starts having flashbacks to when he first joined Outcome. Shearing rents a room to tend to him and he tells her that he has money and spare passports in his jacket, wanting her to run if things get bad. Shearing goes to get Cross some medicine while the police and LARX-03 both head for their last known location. As Shearing is paying for the medicine, she notices the police surrounding the building and she screams out a warning to Cross, telling him to run before running herself with the police in pursuit. Cross manages to escape onto the roof and make his way across the rooftops following after Shearing, eventually rescuing her from one of the cops that manages to catch her. As they continue walking and trying to evade the police, Cross spots LARX-03 following them and he quickly steals a motorcycle to try and escape. The police chase after him, as does LARX-03 in a stolen police car. Cross manages to evade the police but LARX-03, stealing a police motorcycle after his car is totaled, continues chasing after them. Cross and LARX-03 both shoot at and wound each other but they keep going until Shearing is able to cause LARX-03 to crash into a pillar. Cross loses control of his motorcycle due to his blood loss and as he and Shearing slide to a stop by the docks, Shearing begs a boatman to help them. In DC, Byer and his team are getting video of the room Cross and Shearing stayed in, where they see Cross’s pill case hanging from the mirror, with the words “No More” written on the glass. Meanwhile, Noah Vosen is testifying to the Senate Committee, where he lies and says that Blackbriar was created with the sole purpose of tracking down a rogue agent, Jason Bourne, and he doesn’t know why Landy chose to ally herself with him. As Landy is leaving the hearing, she is besieged by reporters asking for her thoughts but she refuses to respond. Meanwhile, Cross and Shearing are on the boatman’s boat, sailing towards some islands where they hope they can disappear together.
The Bourne Legacy met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “It isn’t quite as compelling as the earlier trilogy, but The Bourne Legacy proves the franchise has stories left to tell — and benefits from Jeremy Renner’s magnetic work in the starring role.” When Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) explains the origins of viral engineering, she refers to a 1985 incident at a U.S. Army base named Fort Detrick. Fort Detrick is an actual U.S. Army base and, during the early Cold War, was the home of the U.S.’s biological weapons program until then President Nixon closed down the program in 1969.The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $276.1 million off of a $125 million budget.
I have to say, as far as spin-off/sequels go, this one falls a little flat. The The acting was ok but honestly, Jeremy Renner (Cross) and Edward Norton (Byre) both seemed to be pretty boring in their portrayal of their respective characters, while Rachel Weisz (Shearing) just didn’t seem to really to be too into her character. The story was really odd, with the main plot basically focusing on a DOD operation that was running somewhat parallel to Treadstone/Blackbriar, but the whole bits where they tried to fit it in with what was happening during the last movie just made it feel too forced. I think it would have been better to just have it be it’s own movie and not try to force in the tie in with the original Bourne trilogy. The action scenes were pretty good and probably the best part of the movie but they couldn’t really help the lackluster plot and uninspired acting in the movie. Soo much potential but it simply got wasted away with this movie.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5