The Bourne Legacy is a movie about nothing—a series of disconnected scenes, which, although good, fail to tell any meaningful story. And that’s about it, really. The Bourne style is there, the Bourne name is there, but the substance is all gone.
The original Bourne trilogy told the story of an amnesiac man, haunted by his past, trying to figure out who he had been and who he was—to start a new life for himself and bring down those who had tried to turn him into an emotionless, conscious-less weapon. The Bourne Legacy tells the story of a man who is trying to find a few pills so he can maintain his steroid-enhanced physical and mental abilities. Hardly a riveting premise, still ess so because we never really learn much about our protagonist, Aaron Cross—he’s almost as faceless as the men hunting him, just another agent in an absurdly long line of agents. The Bourne Identiy and Ultimatum gave us the CIa programs Treadstone and Blackbriar (Treadstone without the Inconsistency). This film gives us Outlook (Blackbriar without the inconsistency), Larx (Outcome without the conscience), and others I can’t even remember, so many that it all becomes absurd, ludicrous and laughable. Just how many ominous assassin programs does the CIA need? Surely one or two would be enough.
He never tries to take down the corrupt CIA operative hunting him. Maybe that was being saved for the sequel, but after a plot this devoid of any sort of emotional backbone—do we really want a sequel at all?
The movie’s action scenes are strong enough, for the most part, though without a plot to back them up, they end up feeling empty of any real tension. The movie’s climactic chase scene is stolen directly from the Bourne Ultimatum—a scene in which cops chase a woman and are chased by our hero as he leaps across rooftops or drives through the streets on a motorcycle, and is in turn chased by another agent. Apparently the franchise is just out of ideas. The only really memorable action scene is a fight inside a doctor’s hilltop house, which, unfortunately, is all too brief.
Though moments of the film stand out—a doctor brutally murdering his cowering co-workers, in the most suspenseful moment of the film, Arron Cross arguing with a CIA doctor about the ehtics of her work—they just don’t add up. A film might have been pulled together here, if the Bourne Leagcy hadn’t wasted its first fifteen minutes retreading the same ground over and over. The editing in this opening segment is frantic and distracting—we go from a one-minute shot of Cross climbing a mountain, then got a one-minute scene of CIA agents discussing how they need to shut down their programs, then back and forth, each scene about a minute long. It feels rushed and needlessly bloated at the same time. Perhaps the same could be said of the entire movie. We run from place to place, but when we stop and take a step back to look at the bigger picture—we realize the bigger picture doesn’t exist. There is only a man hunting for pills, being hunted by the people he used to work for. That’s it. And it’s not nearly enough.