Some fans were skeptical about the fourth film in the Bourne series, The Bourne Legacy, as it didn’t feature Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Instead it starred Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, another in a line of men recruited into the clandestine program that began with Jason. The Bourne Legacy is rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences.
The program called Outcome has evolved into biological engineering to create men with exceptional skills. Aaron is in training in the frigid wilds of the Arctic when he realizes he needs more of the pills he is being given as part of the program. When a drone attempts to kill him, he makes his way back to Virginia to the clinic that has always provided him with the drugs.
Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) is a physician dedicated to science, and when a coworker goes ballistic, she is drawn into the chaos. Aaron finds her and the two flee together, being tracked and pursued by the usual types of characters. Eric Byer (Edward Norton) wants to find both of them as they are attempting to shut down the operation by killing anyone who knows about it.
Aaron is a bit different from Bourne in that he has come to rely on the drug to sustain his superior physical and intellectual powers. Bourne was the first and they didn’t give him the pills. His intelligence would then appear to be innate. References are made to Bourne in this film, and Aaron becomes aware of his existence while holed up in a cabin in the woods with another operative. Aaron’s curiosity serves him well; always asking questions, he sets a good example in questioning authority.
Marta shows herself to be a compassionate woman, ultimately helping Aaron get the care he needs to thrive once again. Their globetrotting is exciting to watch, and the fight scenes and hot pursuit up and down narrow alleyways in Manila and on the streets leading to the sea are phenomenal.
I found it disturbing to watch Aaron and Marta referred to as targets, and equally disturbing to hear an assassin referred to as an asset. When someone dehumanizes, it is easier to kill, and that’s part of the training in the program.
Biological engineering is not some science fiction idea; it’s now reality what with GMOs and manipulation of genomes becoming all too commonplace. Tracking and surveillance of citizens is chilling to watch and again a reality. That’s why strong safeguards must be in place to protect average people.
Who knows what the military does to those select few who join elite forces. Do you really think that Navy Seals or other soldiers are just exceptional? With athletes taking steroids and other drugs to improve performance, I wouldn’t doubt that soldiers are given those types of drugs too, as a common practice.
I highly recommend this fourth Bourne film. Matt Damon as Jason Bourne will be back tomorrow! And I’ll be back in a couple of days with my review of it.