The Bourne films have to date been a pleasing mix of crunching hand-to-hand action, chases and general other spy-em-up thrills.
So here we are with part four, with a new lead character – Jeremy ‘Hawkeye from Avengers’ Renner’s Aaron Cross – taking over from Matt Damon’s iconic Jason Bourne.
Why is Aaron so erm, cross? Well, he’s part of the super spy programme which is being wiped from the records by the CIA under orders from retired colonel Eric Byer to keep the nasty truth from probing investigators.
Cue visceral and white-knuckle scenes of tension as Cross tries to evade his former bosses and travels around the world in a bid to make his super-enhanced powers permanent.
There is stacks of dialogue and lots of confusing plotlines converge, and there are some nods and mentions of Jason Bourne, who is apparently still running about in the US even if we never get to see him this time.
Tony Gilroy, who takes over director’s duties from Paul Greengrass, tries to keep the plot moving along at a frenetic pace but simply doesn’t have enough action scenes to make that happen.
Gilroy does his best but for every bit of exciting gunplay or fisticuffs we get two dull office scenes, where Norton and crew talk tactics and generally worry about which agents are still active.
The Bourne Legacy does at least ‘feel’ like a Bourne movie, albeit a minor one featuring more than its share of cliches.
Renner, who was great in The Hurt Locker, is a fine leading agent, bringing enough charisma tinged with humour and the requisite swagger to make him a believable human walking weapon.
He’s a nice contrast to the fairly straight-laced Jason Bourne, whiled Rachel Weisz looks good at 42 and brings some love interest as brainy Dr. Marta Shearing – the only woman in the world who can get Cross to his necessary medications.
It’s a shame that The Bourne Legacy isn’t at least half an hour shorter because it is never a good sign when you find your mind wandering due to what seems like endless tech and espionage babble from suited bores.
The one stand out scene comes when an ‘even more super spy’ is dispatched to take out Cross and a massive chase tears across Manila.
So the franchise is semi successfully ‘Bourne again’ and, if they can hold back on the endless exposition, a fifth chapter might be on the cards to deliver a more satisfying menu of thrills.