ALMOST $1 billion at the worldwide box office ensured we were going to get another instalment in the Jason Bourne franchise, even though his mystery was unravelled five years ago.
With Matt Damon out of the picture, room was left for a new quick-as-a-flash, bone-crushing hero – a role that fits Jeremy Renner like a glove.
Like Damon, Renner had proven his acting chops in the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, and cemented action hero capabilities in The Avengers and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
Now all we need is a way to bring the franchise back to the screen.
Taking a leaf from the Prometheus book (strands of DNA linking it to the original franchise), writers and director Dan and Tony Gilroy have singled out another participant of a shady government project that exists in the same universe as Bourne.
What we now find out is that while the hunt for Bourne was ratcheted up during The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), attempts were made to shut another project down – forcing black ops member Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) to go on the lam.
Getting off to a slow and shaky start, we meet Cross in the Alaskan wilderness, going about his business as part of a training exercise.
Before giving a solid reason why we should empathise with Cross, he is marked for death and on the run to stay alive.
He tracks down lab techie Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) but she has just witnessed a work-mate shoot and kill several colleagues, and narrowly escaped herself.
Something is definitely not right here.
Tension is seriously lacking in the first 20 minutes, but the film is given a much needed shot of adrenalin when the two leads finally meet.
What brings this screaming home is the smashing bursts of action and the overlong yet thrilling climactic sequence.
This Bourne entry won’t eclipse the last three, but it is a worthy entry.
THE BOURNE LEGACY (M)
3 1/2 stars
Directed by: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Jeremy Renner,
Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
Reviewed by: Julian Wright.