Saturday, September 01, 2012
The Bourne Legacy
I don't know if Tony Gilroy meant to build an implicit critique of the way America does its business into The Bourne Legacy; what is the film's "Outcome" program but an attempt to easily mass produce more Jason Bournes through pills? In any event, Gilroy's conception almost requires Cross to be something of a blank slate; an important plot point that goes by quickly is that Cross was only accepted into the army because a recruiter lied about his I.Q. Jeremy Renner happens to be good at playing men who don't think too hard about what they're capable of though, and he gives Cross some welcome notes of curiosity and decency. By the time Cross and Shearing are running from another government assassin (part of the next wave of souped-up hit men) Renner has done more than enough to establish Cross as someone worth saving. There are stretches of necessary procedure and exposition in the film, mostly involving the tracking of Cross and Shearing. On their end, Norton and Keach (along with Donna Murphy and Corey Stoll) find something harried and specific in their characters that turns what could have been a series of slam-on-the-breaks info dumps into scenes about urgently trying to stick a finger in a dam.
The climactic action scene in The Bourne Legacy is a chase through a Manila shanty town that's pulled off with skill if not with the flair Paul Greengrass brought to last two Bourne movies. We always know where the characters are in relation to each other and where they're going; that doesn't seem like too much to ask, does it? Who knows if the Aaron Cross character will be brought back, but he really doesn't need to be and that's part of the point. There is only one Jason Bourne, and he is still out there swimming.