The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton

Dir. Tony Gilroy

The Bourne Legacy aggravated me. I normally like Jeremy Renner, but he was let down in this film by a script that was trying too hard to capture the muck and phlegm of top level national security lingo. Within numerous darkened rooms surrounded by computer screens and equipment, everyone talked in acronyms, codes, synonyms, abbreviations. . . It was all ‘Get DIA topcom on a secnet before the whole PIV goes topred.’


We all know from Edward Snowden’s revelations and leaks that these thrusting spooks spend all day playing computer games, spying on UNICEF and listening to Angela Merkel order bread from Aldi in Berlin. In the Bourne Legacy these people are portrayed as rock hard, no-nonsense, sharp talkers, ties loosened, shirt sleeves rolled up, when in reality they’re probably lazy creeps with too much time and computers that never crash.

From what I could gather Renner (playing a character called Aaron Cross) was being chased in order to shut him up/kill him/stop him from doing something which was never quite clear. He was caught up in several operations and programmes with names like Threadbare and Lardarse, or something like that. Pictures of Matt Damon kept popping up as if the security services were after Renner in order to ask him where he buried the body of the original actor. I’m sure Damon has made other films since the first three Bourne sagas, so there was a lot of needless energy expenditure.

bourneWe also see the obligatory hectic car chase, the compulsory rooftop chase on foot, the spy satellites that can track everybody on earth except real killers and Edward Norton snorting and grumbling as various fat/old/incompetent/unshaven halfwits shout obvious platitudes. He won’t get away this time (he does), we got him covered (they haven’t), if this gets out the shit’ll hit the fan (it doesn’t). Whatever it is.

Rachel Weisz runs around a lot, there’s a man who can’t empathise with the people he’s supposed to kill, which I suppose can be an advantage if you’re a killer. And there are police cars which are always faster than the cars they’re chasing and yet never quite catch them.

In short, the Bourne Legacy is a load of old bollocks. Which is a shame because the first three films were starting to lay some ground rules that were so good other spy thrillers were starting to catch up on them; and there is the debate that suggests they caused a boost to a Bond franchise that was starting to show it’s age.

But let’s not kid ourselves. The world of spying isn’t like this. If it was people wouldn’t be murdered on the streets of Woolwich. But when the security services are more interested in looking for bad lads in Sim City and G20 summits what do you expect? The Bourne Legacy is a bad case of wishful thinking and spook narcissism.

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