The Bourne Legacy - DVD Review

'Gilroy literally stops the movement of the film so that the characters can have a discussion about 'blues' and 'greens' and 'yellows' and other flavours of Skittle'

There's clearly a hole at the heart of The Bourne Legacy, a Matt Damon-shaped void which the producers and directors had several problematic options to choose from in order to patch it up. Apply a sticking plaster, paper over it, ignore it all together or work around it?

Eventually it rather looks like director Tony Gilroy opted for pretty much all of those. Damon's Jason Bourne isn't here but paradoxically, he is also a constant presence. Gone but not forgotten, even from the title, which seems an unfair slight on new hero Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner). It would perhaps have been difficult to achieve but rather than this approach of trying everything, The Bourne Legacy may well have been better hardly mentioning the eponymous ex-hero of the tale. Move on. Nothing to see here.

If it had have done that then Renner's go at moving the whole thing forward could have had much more of a chance to fly. As it is, it still performs remarkably well, emerging from the weight of Damon and his hero with a few critical scratches but nothing to put it down for the count. The wise storytelling decision to have Cross pretty much on his own for the entire first hour of the film may be Legacy's smartest move. Renner gets time to grow and to establish himself. He is, of course, very much like Jason Bourne, but with an added snark and a humanity it took Damon's character at least most of the first film to find. The choice to portray him as a bit of a Treadstone rebel from the off is a good one. It's tense, well-paced and scripted and a very enjoyable watch.

Things slow noticeably after the house scene where Cross meets new franchise partner-in-crime, Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz). Already much over-referenced, the film threatens to become obsessed with Cross' 'chems'. At one point just after they have met, Gilroy literally stops the movement of the film (Cross pulls the car they are travelling in over to the side of the road), so that the characters can have a discussion about 'blues' and 'greens' and 'yellows' and other flavours of Skittle. It's silly, not in-keeping with an Action-Thriller and completely incidental.

Eventually, we start moving again, and the film finds a good final third in Manila, although this Legacy's one-man killing machine set on targeting Cross (Louis Ozawa Changchien) is not a patch on Clive Owen or Karl Urban. Still, the first three films set the benchmark very high, and the fact that this doesn't quite reach up there doesn't mean that it is a bad film. It's a perfectly enjoyable ride, and Renner is an able substitute for Damon, if not quite a 100% match. The addition of heavyweights Weisz and a superb Ed Norton are very welcome.

The Bourne Legacy is out on UK DVD and Blu-ray from Monday 3rd December 2012.


  1. Good review. I am a big fan of the franchise. Looks like I'll enjoy this one then! Thanks.

    1. Yup, not as good as the last two but still perfectly decent. Enjoy!