Twenty or so minutes into this tangential top-heavy sequel to the Bourne trilogy, new superspy Aaron Cross finds he's being fed to the wolves.

Clever secret agent that he is, he feeds the wolf right back. The poor creature suffers badly from having a lupine metaphor coming back to bite him.

That takes place in Alaska, where the opening shot of Cross (Jeremy Renner) looks much like the last shot we saw of Jason Bourne.

That's the first of many overlaps between the terrific The Bourne Ultimatum and this. The return of the formerly amnesiac Jason Bourne and its potential fallout has resulted in Cross and his fellow spooks from another top secret experimental programme being marked for termination.


So while Legacy has a new character in its sights - and a new director with Tony Gilroy, a writer on the earlier trilogy - it's more a sideways somersault than a great leap forward.

The solid Renner makes an engaging figure as Cross, a man, who, unlike Bourne, knows what he signed up for and needs to maintain his biologically enhanced status to survive while protecting scientist Rachel Weisz from the secret project's savage shutdown.

You'll certainly need to have seen the previous Bourne movies to know what's going on here. And even then, you you might not be any the wiser. Vast tracts of this dense, over-long thriller are taken up with spy-management gobbledygook with occasional forays into genetic-modification gibberish.

Which does make some of the participants sound like particularly clever boffins - especially Edward Norton as the guy wanting Cross off the agency payroll.

Somewhere in all that verbiage is a debate about the moral compromises and lethal decisions security agencies have to make in the name of national security, which might be interesting, again, if this movie felt like it was set in the real world.

But for all that talk, it dissipates tension rather than builds it. It does have some moderately exciting action but other than the aforementioned subzero wildlife encounter and a seemingly endless motorbike chase through Manila, this is nothing its predecessors haven't already done before, and better.

The Bourne Legacy
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
Director: Tony Gilroy
Rating: M (violence)
Running time: 135 mins
Stars: 3/5
Verdict: Re-Bourne a retread

- TimeOut