Legacy limps along
IN AN early scene of The Bourne Legacy, a backroom analyst hurriedly steps out of a meeting to phone his superiors.
‘‘ We’ve just had word Jason Bourne is back and on the loose in Manhattan!’’ is the general gist of the call.
At the other end of the line, everyone is going for gold in Olympic frowning, or fairly pooing themselves.
This is the first of many just- hang- on- aminute- there moments due for delivery throughout The Bourne Legacy.
For we’ve had word for quite some time that Jason Bourne was not showing up for the next movie.
Nevertheless, The Bourne Legacy desperately invokes the memory of the world’s favourite amnesiac fugitive.
So what will you be getting in place of Matt Damon in The Bourne Legacy? Jeremy Renner.
Almost won a Best Actor Oscar for The Hurt Locker.
Hasn’t really set the world on fire since but, what’s more, Renner ( pictured) does not exude that emphatic, look- at- me star quality needed to quell any rightful doubts one might have about The Bourne Legacy.
Particularly once you get to grips with the dud character he is playing here: Aaron Cross, a long- lost Operation Treadstone stablemate of, umm, what was that guy’s name again? Yeah, Jason Bourne.
Aaron eludes easy classification as hero or anti- hero. Which never augurs well for the adrenalin levels of an action picture. You cannot exactly side against the guy. Like all Treadstone operatives still out in the field, Cross is always itching for more of the classified medication that makes him a super- spy.
Then again, you cannot really side with the guy. Particularly in the scene where he appears to badly maim and/ or kill some lowly paid guards at a Filipino pill factory. ( Or the scene afterwards, where Cross comprehensively concusses our very own Kenny. Bizarrely, the factory head of security is played by Shane Jacobson.)
The problems blighting The Bourne Legacy are not confined to its enigmatic lead character. The screenplay is a shocker. The first act runs almost 40 minutes, with the sole pay- off being we get to see Cross wrestle a wolf.
The poor beast is hit by a heat- seeking missile before the bout is complete, which is no one’s idea of a fair fight.
The second act is not much of an improvement.
Cross needs his ‘‘ chems’’ and he needs them now. So he looks up Dr Martha Shearing, a former Treadstone scientist played by Rachel Weisz ( inset with Renner). The pair are narratively shackled together for the rest of the picture.
Weisz brings her best work from The Mummy, yelling out stuff like ‘‘ he’s got a gun!’’ at the right moments, and switching emotional states from extreme panic to complete calm in mere seconds.