Jeremy Renner finally gets his due. After performing consistently over the years and then standing next to Tom Cruise in 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol', he finally manages to land a central protagonist and that too in a series as strong as 'Bourne'. He had huge shoes to fill, what with Matt Damon being the face of the series for three films in succession.
However to Jeremy's credit, he doesn't make one miss his far more established colleague as he plays the part of the agent to perfection and only makes one look forward to what Bourne has to offer in films to come.
This time around the story is about Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) who finds himself in the middle of a biological experiment. As it turns out, there are changes in plans higher up the authorities, what with an order being passed for the agents to be killed. The man driving this mission is Eric Byer (Edward Norton) and Aaron finds himself on the run.
The only person who can save him and reverse the experiment is the scientist Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) but she too finds herself trapped amidst all the gun fire and mayhem.
Though the storyline is as simple as this, the initial few minutes of the film are way too stretched, what with the narrative being not just slow but also confusing. As is the legacy with Bourne series, this one too jumps countries and cities at will and it is tough to comprehend what is happening on screen and for what specific purpose.
Norton calling the shots, Jeremy trapped in the middle of nowhere, Board room meetings bearing tense atmosphere; well, you are interested to know more but still aren't as intrigued by the affair as normally is with the Bourne films.
However just about the time when audience would have perhaps lost patience, a brilliant sequence featuring an air attack ensues from where the story takes a point of no return. 100 minutes that follow are sheer adrenalin rush as it the story of green and blue pills (which fill up the first 20-25 minutes) starts becoming clearer. One action sequence follows another and by the time a scientist turns insane in a lab and starts killing his colleagues, you know that there is much beneath the surface.
(Spoilers ahead) This means whether it is the shootout that takes place at Rachel's house, the escape that follows, the revelation made by Rachel, the decision to take a flight to Manila, the plot that is hatched thereafter, the cat and mouse game played with the intelligence, the sequence at the airport, entry into the factory at Manila - there are various twists and turns that make you follow Jeremy's journey and stay hooked to the proceedings.
What is surprising though is to see the passive role being played by Ed Norton. Generally he is a major character in his films and especially when it comes to a dramatic thriller like this, one expected him to have a much pivotal role to play.
Here his presence is felt right through the proceedings but you do feel that he has been largely undermined. In comparison Rachel, after a compelling act in author backed 'The Whistleblower', is much more important to the plot than just being Jeremy's partner in the run.
However the part which makes 'The Bourne Legacy' a definite must watch is the last 20 minutes when an action packed chase ensues on Manila by-lanes and roads. It begins with parkour where an assassin from Bangkok chases Jeremy and Rachel and later action moves to the road with some brilliant bike stints filling the screens.
Special mention for the way scenes are shot and cut as there is something happening every second, hence leading to 'cant-take-your-eyes-off-screen' impact being created. In fact this is where you end up exclaiming that this is a film that definitely deserves a big screen watch.
Of course some may argue at this point that the film become much more like a regular thriller or a spy drama than a quintessential Bourne film that intrigues at every juncture.
However if one keeps aside the fact that it is a Bourne film and instead looks at it as thriller which keeps you at the edge of the seat, 'The Bourne Legacy' has ample moments that one remembers long after the film is through.
Go for it!