Running on empty

Undated Film Still Handout from The Bourne Legacy. Pictured: (l-r) Jeremy Renner and Edward Norton. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/UPI Media. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.
Undated Film Still Handout from The Bourne Legacy. Pictured: (l-r) Jeremy Renner and Edward Norton. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/UPI Media. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

The Bourne Legacy (12A)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach.

Director: Tony Gilroy.

Running time: 135 mins

Given that Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass decided to bid adieu to the massively successful Bourne franchise after The Bourne Ultimatum, the question on everyone’s lips was could the espionage series continue?

The money men, they said yes, and so here we have The Bourne Legacy, directed by Tony Gilroy (who wrote the three previous Bourne films and co-wrote this with his brother Dan).

Damon has been replaced by Jeremy Renner, the two-time Oscar nominee for The Hurt Locker and The Town, in the lead role.

Only he doesn’t play Jason Bourne — as Renner has been very keen to stress from the moment his name was attached, despite the rest of the script being shrouded in secrecy.

Renner plays super-soldier/spy Aaron Cross, who unlike Bourne is fully aware of who he is and what’s required of him.

We meet him as he embarks on a solo training mission in the snowy Alaskan wilderness. This agent can brave freezing waters bare-chested and fight wolves with his bare hands.

But to be able to do this he has to pop a couple of pills a day, one to enhance his brain, and another his brawn.

In an inspired move, the beginning of the film overlaps with the final chapter of The Bourne Ultimatum and the moment Bourne goes public about the government’s intelligence programmes.

At this point, Cross’s own clandestine organisation, known as Outcome, is deemed ‘infected’ and everybody associated with it has to be extinguished.

Most of them successfully are, besides Cross and Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a genetic scientist who was involved with the development of the drugs.

All the while, the audience becomes privy to the fact Bourne’s world was only a small part of a much larger, darker universe.

Despite little back story, Renner gives a strong performance and is a competent, if less charismatic, successor to Damon.

But unfortunately there’s little chemistry between him and his leading lady, to the point that you’re left feeling indifferent as to whether they make it to the credits.

Norton is reassuringly confident in a complex role and the film retains the sharp editing, impressive stunts and general all-round hoopla that we’ve come to expect from the franchise, but at times you find your mind wandering.

Rating: 3/5