MOVIE REVIEW: Explanations almost overwhelm action in ‘Bourne Legacy’

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

The premise behind “The Bourne Legacy” makes good sense, but the movie would’ve been better if the filmmakers had spent less time explaining that premise.
This is the fourth in the “The Bourne Identity” series based on the books by Robert Ludlum. Matt Damon became a bankable action star thanks to the first three films, and now Jeremy Renner steps into his genetically enhanced, secret-agent shoes.
Renner plays Aaron Cross, a super warrior modified by the government to be a resourceful and ruthless killing machine. In “The Bourne Legacy,” Cross and his fellow agents require medication to keep them at their destructive bests.
The problem is Bourne, who worked with Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) to expose the program that makes the super agents possible.
Eric Byer (Edward Norton) is called in to burn the program to the ground, which means just about everyone associated with it needs to be killed. That puts Cross in the cross hairs, but we wouldn’t have a very good movie if the government’s first murder attempt succeeded.
Cross needs his medication, so he tracks down Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), one of the government scientists who helped manage Cross’ physical and mental changes. She’s on the government’s hit list, too.
“The Bourne Legacy” takes plenty of time explaining all of that. Much of the information is useful, but some gets in the way of the action.
We’re used to seeing Bourne come up with clever and brutal ways to accomplish his objectives. There’s some of that here, but I wanted more creatively destructive moments.
It’s easy to pull for Cross and Shearing, as they avoid one deathtrap after another. There are engaging moments and interesting revelations throughout the film, and the last 30 minutes are an adrenaline-fueled ride.
The earlier “Bourne” films set a standard for action, and “Legacy” falls just short of the mark. On the plus side, I suspect the team can do better next time.
I give “The Bourne Legacy” a B minus.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

Kelli Karlson, Wizard 106.7. She gives “The Bourne Legacy” a B plus. “I loved it. It was a little lengthy, but I had a great time.”