★ ★ 1/2
Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton and Scott Glenn. Written by Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy and Robert Ludlum. Directed by Tony Gilroy. Produced by Patrick Crowley, Jennifer Cox, Frank Marshall, Henry Morrison, Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner.
Quite a bit of negativity has surrounded this movie, with fans upset over the replacement of the original director and introduction of a new character. While it clearly contributed, it isn't nearly as responsible for this disappointing installment as the problematic script. Completely opposite from its predecessors, The Bourne Legacy can be described as a rehash that lacks both detail and action sequences, making it hard to believe it was even written by the same screenwriter.
Opening with a couple ridiculous scenes of Aaron Cross (Renner) travelling through snowy Alaskan mountains, wrestling wolves and jumping from rock to rock, the movie starts off feeling extremely cheesy...and it only gets worse. When they decide to kill Alcom (the CIA's sister program to Treadstone), which he belongs to, Cross has to fight for his life, and together with Dr. Marta Shearing (Weisz), outrun the agents that are after them. And honestly, there's not much more to the movie than this. A lot of scenes are wasted on questioning the morality of the entire program and pointing out the inhumanity of it all, which incidentally was covered in The Bourne Supremacy. Too many scenes of people having obvious conversations bog this movie down and take precedence over the action when we could've inferred a lot of what is blatantly pointed out in the dialogue.
Renner is competent, though I'm not sure if it's his fault or the screenplay's, but Aaron Cross doesn't appear to be as highly skilled and efficient as Jason Bourne, nor is he believable as a someone with the emotional numbness required to be in a program like this – not only was he questioning the morality of the program while he was still in it, he had the nerve to actually verbalize this to his superiors with a chip on his shoulder as though he wouldn't be flagged as a risk from the get-go. So while the gritty, shaky style of the previous Bourne films was missed, it was hardly the film's biggest problem – which can be boiled down to lazy writing and less than impressive choreography. —Rebecca Hillary