The Bourne Legacy – Review by Susan Granger

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Can a Bourne action-adventure succeed without Jason Bourne? That’s the hope behind this continuation of the popular espionage series – minus Matt Damon. After the franchise, including “The Bourne Identity,” “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum,” grossed nearly $1 billion worldwide, the filmmakers, including director Paul Greengrass, simply ran out of story ideas. But why stop milking the cash cow?

So writer/director Tony Gilroy (“Michael Clayton”), who wrote scripts for all three previous films, concocts a different device. Collaborating with his brother Dan, he expands the Bourne mythos that was originally created by best-selling author Robert Ludlum back in the 1980s. His new protagonist is Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker,” “The Town,” “The Avengers”), who joins a highly secretive national-security program.

It helps to be acquainted with the Bourne background, including Bourne’s attempts at making public the covert Treadstone and Blackbriar operations. As a result of his most recent debacle, retired military officials (Edward Norton, Stacy Keach) decide to terminate a third program, called Operation Outcome, which went a step further than its predecessors by attempting to pharmacologically enhance its field agents. Aaron Cross is one of those operatives who are being hunted, as is Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a neuroscientist who helped administer the experimental drugs and goes on the run with him. Cross’s mission is to make his ‘super soldier’ enrichments permanent so he can end his reliance on obtaining meds.

Problem is: this is such an obvious ploy to revive the Bourne-again legend which began when Jason Bourne woke up with amnesia and was forced to find out who’s trying to kill him and why. Although he’s also a government target, the character of Aaron Cross simply lacks the same emotional resonance, although Joan Allen, Albert Finney, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprising their supporting roles.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Bourne Legacy” is a black-ops 6 – with several other Ludlum adaptations in development, including “The Janson Directive,” “The Parcifal Mosaic,” “The Osterman Weekend” and “The Matarese Circle”

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.