Film Capsule: The Bourne Legacy

Jeremy Renner has faced quite an uphill battle in his recent bid to become Hollywood’s biggest little action hero. After garnering a Best Actor nod for his lead role in 2008’s Hurt Locker, Renner’s been forced to play back-up to the likes of Ben Affleck, Tom Cruise, and – most recently – just about every other A-list actor that appeared in The Avengers.

Perhaps the biggest bite of all is that once Renner actually did score the lead role in a big-budget film, that film just so happened to be an extension of some other A-lister’s franchise … one that was already rolling three blockbusters deep, no less.

These are difficult – if not insurmountable – odds for any Hollywood actor to overcome, especially when the franchise film he’s been cast in spends a great deal of its time paying homage to his predecessor.

In fact, the only way Jeremy Renner could possibly hope to come out of The Bourne Legacy smelling like roses would be if his Bourne film completely outdid the rest of the bunch. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is true.

The first half of The Bourne Legacy pinballs back and forth between feeling completely bogged down and altogether confused. The second half eventually transitions from super-soldier spy flick to all-out Terminator II. Somewhere in between, Stacy Keach becomes a complete eye – and ear – sore, Donna Murphy manages to look very painfully constipated, and Edward Norton goes jogging in a monsoon at 4 o’clock in the morning.

It would seem as if the end game here is to have Jason Bourne and Aaron Cross either team up or face off at some point down the line. Otherwise, the only reason for slapping the Bourne label on a film like this is to guarantee some worthwhile box office.

That would prove a cheap trick, to be sure. It might also prove the big-budget equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face (Please see Halloween III: Season of the Witch for more on this point). Either way, Jeremy Renner deserves much better than what The Bourne Legacy has laid out for him.

(The Bourne Legacy opens in theaters nationwide today.)