“BOURNE LEGACY” A WORTHY INHERITANCE
With a little bit of brains and tons of crisply played action, “The Bourne Legacy” with Jeremy Renner creating a new renegade agent to replace Jason Bourne easily tops the post-Batman box office derby -- the movie to see after you’ve seen “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Here’s the thing, all you conspiracy watchers, director and captain-at-large Tony Gilroy doesn’t give Renner that much to do on his first enlistment. The first two-thirds of “Legacy” roar and tumble like a chemically enhanced nightmare set among the world’s most sophisticated slum cities before pudgy-faced Renner gets too involved.
Most of the “plot” up to this point involves various ultra-top secret government agencies pumping up gallons of their own competitive testosterone just trying to locate the elusive Jason Bourne. We never do get to see Bourne. Maybe he’ll be back in “Bourne Legacy II.”
Instead, leaping in as the movie’s raison d’etre is Renner playing the drug-addicted and sweaty blue collar agent-on-the-run Aaron Cross, our government’s unwilling inheritor of the aforementioned legacy.
By the time Cross does get truly involved, his prowess has been inflated to such intensity we don’t care about his schlumpy screen presence.
This new secret government agent is a long way from being the Yankees’ own James Bond, though. Not only does he lack the traditionally lean All-American man-of-action look, he’s got no troublemaker edge to him.
Or think of it this way, Renner looks like a fairly fit weekend warrior in the Army Reserve when what we expect is an elite beret-wearing commando from the U.S.Army’s special forces, albeit in civvies.
Most of the screen time goes to a snarling Ed Norton, anyway. He enjoys chewing up the screen while spewing anger all over his quivering colleagues.
Using quick edits and jumping all over the globe from sprawling cities to isolated outposts, Gilroy stirs up a heady brew of Matrix-like conspiracies poisoning inter-agency rivalries of Machiavellian complexity.
Just trying to keep up with what’s going on requires extreme concentration , but it can be just as much fun to settle back and feel overwhelmed – just like Aaron Cross. From here, it looks absolutely certain that he will be back in the next episode.
The final scene of “Bourne Legacy” has Cross and U.S. government scientist Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) adrift on a raft, safe enough but with no idea where they are going.