Renner plays Aaron Cross
The Bourne Legacy is a 2012 American action-thriller film directed by Tony Gilroy, and is the fourth installment in the series of films adapted from the Jason Bourne novels originated by Robert Ludlum and continued by Eric Van Lustbader, being preceded by The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). The film centers on black ops agent Aaron Cross (portrayed by Jeremy Renner), an original character. In addition to Renner, the film stars Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton.
The titular character Jason Bourne does not appear in The Bourne Legacy, as actor Matt Damon chose not to return for the fourth film, due to Paul Greengrass not directing. Bourne is shown in pictures and mentioned by name several times throughout the film. Tony Gilroy, co-screenwriter of the first three films, sought to continue the story of the film series without changing its key events, and parts of The Bourne Legacy take place at the same time as the previous film, The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Aaron Cross is a member of a black ops program called Operation Outcome whose subjects are genetically enhanced. He must run for his life once former CIA Treadstone agent Jason Bourne's actions lead to the public exposure of Operation Treadstone and its successor Operation Blackbriar.
Filming was primarily in New York City, with some scenes shot in the Philippines, South Korea, and Canada. Released on August 10, 2012, the film received generally favorable reviews and grossed $276 million at the box office. It was followed in 2016 by Jason Bourne, with Damon reprising his role.
Six weeks after Jason Bourne's escape from Moscow in The Bourne Supremacy, Aaron Cross, an operative belonging to a Department of Defense black ops program called Operation Outcome, is assigned to Alaska for a training exercise. He is forced to survive weather extremes and traverse rugged terrain to arrive at a remote cabin as punishment for missing training and going off the grid for four days. The cabin is operated by an exiled Outcome operative, Number Three, who informs Cross that he has broken the mission record by two days. As an Outcome operative, Cross uses experimental pills known as "chems" which enhance the physical and mental abilities of their users.
Retired Air Force colonel Eric Byer is tasked with containing the fallout from the exposure of the Treadstone and Blackbriar programs. He discovers a potentially scandalous video on the Internet showing a meeting between Treadstone and Outcome medical directors Albert Hirsch and Dan Hillcott. To prevent the Senate investigators from learning about Outcome, Byer orders everyone associated with the program to be killed, seeing the sacrifice as acceptable to protect next-generation "beta programs", including the supersoldier program LARX.
Byer deploys a drone to eliminate Cross and Number Three in Alaska. Number 3 is vaporized by a missile fired from the drone while Cross manages to evade the drone and force-feeds his radio-frequency identification to a wolf which is then blown up by another missile fired by the drone, tricking Byer into believing Cross is dead. At Sterisyn-Morlanta, a biogenetics company supporting Outcome, researcher Dr. Donald Foite shoots and kills all but one of his colleagues in the research laboratory. After being cornered by guards, Foite turns his gun on himself, leaving biochemist Dr. Marta Shearing as the sole survivor. Other Outcome agents are eliminated when their handlers give them poisoned yellow pills disguised as new chems.
Four "D-Trac" assassins disguised as federal agents visit Shearing at her country house. When she states her belief of Foite having been chemically brainwashed into becoming an emotionless killer, the assassins attempt to fake her suicide, but are killed by Cross. Shearing reveals that Cross has been genetically modified by a tailored virus to retain the physical benefits permanently without needing the green chems anymore. He still requires regular doses of blue chems to maintain his intelligence, but he is running out. Cross confides to her that he is Private First Class Kenneth J. Kitsom, reportedly killed by an improvised explosive device in the Iraq War, and that his recruiter added twelve points to his IQ, enabling Cross to meet the United States Army's requirements. Without his enhanced intelligence, Cross believes they stand no chance of survival. Cross and Shearing travel to Manila, where the chems are manufactured, to try to infect him with another virus that will make his intelligence permanent.
Cross and Shearing bluff their way into the Morlanta Pacific pharmaceutical factory and Shearing injects Cross with the live virus stems. Byer alerts factory security, but they evade capture. Byer then orders LARX-03, a chemically-brainwashed supersoldier, to track and kill them. As Cross is struck by flu-like symptoms induced by the
virus, he hallucinates about his Outcome training. When police surround their shelter Shearing returns from buying medicine and sees the police closing on Cross. She screams a warning to Cross who then evades the police and subsequently intervenes in her capture by the police, and they steal a motorbike. After a lengthy chase through the streets and marketplaces of Manila, they lose the police and kill LARX-03. Shearing persuades a Filipino boatman to help them escape by sea.
Back in New York, Blackbriar supervisor Noah Vosen lies to the Senate, stating that Blackbriar was created solely to track down Jason Bourne, and that Deputy Director Pamela Landy committed treason by assisting Bourne and trying to sell Treadstone secrets to the press.
Jeremy Renner as Private First Class Kenneth James Kitsom / Aaron Cross
Rachel Weisz as Dr. Marta Shearing
Edward Norton as Colonel Eric Byer
Stacey Keach as Mark Turso
Dennis Boutsikaris as Terrence Ward
Oscar Isaac as Outcome #3
Joan Allen as CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy
Albert Finney as Dr. Albert Hirsch
David Strathairn as Noah Vosen
Scott Glenn as CIA Director Ezra Kramer
Donna Murphy as Dita Mandy
Michael Chernus as Arthur Ingram
Corey Stoll as Zev Vendel
Željko Ivanek as Dr. Donald Foite
Shane Jacobson as Mackie
Elizabeth Marvel as Dr. Connie Dowd
John Douglas Thompson as Lieutenant General Don Paulsen
Louis Ozawa Changchien as LARX #3
David Wilson Barnes as Drone Spec
Neil Brooks Cunningham as Dr. Dan Hillcott
Corey Johnson as Ray Wills
Michael Berresse as Leonard
John Arcilla as Joseph
Lou Veloso as Captain
Karen Pittman as Landy Reporter
Universal Pictures originally intended The Bourne Ultimatum to be the final film in the series, but development of another film was under way by October 2008. George Nolfi, who co-wrote The Bourne Ultimatum, was to write the script of a fourth film, not to be based on any of the novels by Robert Ludlum. Joshua Zetumer had been hired to write a parallel
script - a draft which could be combined with another (Nolfi's, in this
instance) - by August 2009 since Nolfi would be directing The Adjustment Bureau that September. Matt Damon stated in November 2009 that no script had been approved and that he hoped that a film would begin shooting in mid-2011. The next month, he said that he would not do another Bourne film without Paul Greengrass, who announced in late November that he had decided not to return as director. In January 2010, Damon said that there would "probably be a prequel of some kind with another actor and another director before we do another one just because I think we're probably another five years away from doing it."
However, it was reported in June 2010 that Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote each of the three previous Bourne films, would be writing a script with his brother, screenwriter Dan Gilroy, for a fourth Bourne film to be released sometime in 2012. That October, Universal set the release date for The Bourne Legacy for August 10, 2012, Tony Gilroy was confirmed as the director of the film, and it was also announced that Jason Bourne will not be appearing in The Bourne Legacy.
Gilroy said he did not get involved with the project "until the rules were that Matt [Damon] was gone, Matt and Paul [Greengrass] were gone, there was no Jason Bourne. That was the given when I had the first conversation about this. So it was very important to me, extremely important to me, that everything that had happened before be well preserved and be enhanced if possible by what we're doing now." He also said, "you could never replace Matt [Damon] as Jason Bourne. This isn't James Bond. You can't do a prequel. You can't do any of those kinds of things, because there was never any cynicism attached to the franchise, and that was the one thing they had to hang on to."
Gilroy "never had any intention of ever coming back to this realm at
all - much less write it, much less direct it. Then I started a really casual conversation about what we could do in a post-Jason Bourne setting. I was only supposed to come in for two weeks, but the character we came up with, Aaron Cross, was so compelling." After watching The Bourne Ultimatum again, Gilroy called his brother, screenwriter Dan Gilroy, and said, "'The only thing you could do is sort of pull back the curtain and say there's a much bigger conspiracy.' So we had to deal with what happened in Ultimatum as the starting point of this film. Ultimatum plays in the shadows of Legacy for the first 15 minutes
- they overlap."
In speaking about the film's storyline, Gilroy drew a distinction between the fictional programs in the Bourne film series:
On a practical level, the Treadstone program was about assassination. They're basically assassins. They live in the world
- you can see Clive Owen [in The Bourne Identity] as a piano teacher, they have
covers - but they're essentially assassins. There was nothing that would be described as espionage, [they're] basically a kill squad. The Outcome program that Aaron [played by Jeremy Renner] is part of, [Oscar Isaac's character] is one of them too... The conceit is that [Edward Norton's character] is the mastermind of this entire franchise. We're stepping back a little bit in time here, he's been a developer, he's been at the nexus of the corporate military and intelligence communities. There's a very large corporate element, pharmaceutical corporate element...
Although a large part of the film was set in and around Washington, DC, the real DC appears only in aerial establishing shots. Most of the film was shot over 12 weeks at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, New York, including all interior DC scenes. The old house in Hudson, New York, used as Shearing's house was unable to accommodate the weight of equipment and crew, so it was used only for exterior shots, and all interior scenes were filmed on a Kaufman Astoria soundstage. The scenes set in the "SteriPacific" factory in Manila were actually filmed in the New York Times printing plant in Queens.
Several scenes were shot overseas, mostly in Manila and in the Paradise bay of El Nido, Palawan, in the Philippines. Several train scenes at Garak Market station on Seoul Subway Line 3 and nearby areas in Seocho-daero 77-Gil (1308 Seocho 4-dong), Seocho-gu, and Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea, were used in some scenes. The Kananaskis Country region of Alberta, Canada, was used for the scenes set in Alaska.
Gilroy said, "there are three deleted scenes - we just mixed them and color corrected them [...] but what I like about it is all three scenes happen in the movie. One of them's referred to and they're completely legitimate parts of our story, they absolutely happen in our film, we just didn't have time to show them to you so there's nothing off to the side. I think they'll be on the straight-up DVD."
The film portrays Cross and Shearing as travelling non-stop from New York JFK Airport to Manila on board a fictional American Airlines Boeing 747-400, a model of 747 that American Airlines has never operated. Further, no commercial airline operated nonstop passenger service from JFK to Manila until October 29, 2018. American Airlines was actively involved in the production of the film, and contributed its own airline employees and a Boeing 777-200 for the interior terminal and cabin shots at Terminal 8 of JFK International Airport. The airline also heavily co-marketed the film throughout post-production.
In its opening weekend, The Bourne Legacy grossed about $38.7 million in the United States and Canada and debuted at #1 of the box office charts, surpassing Universal's expectation of $35 million. It grossed $46.6 million worldwide in its first weekend. The film sold roughly 400,000 more tickets on its opening weekend than the first film in the series, The Bourne Identity. Studio research reported that audiences were evenly mixed among the sexes. The film grossed $113.2 million in North America and $162.9 million in foreign countries, bringing the film's worldwide total to $276.1 million.
n Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 55% based on 233 reviews, with an average rating of 5.80/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It isn't quite as compelling as the earlier trilogy, but The Bourne Legacy proves the franchise has stories left to
tell - and benefits from Jeremy Renner's magnetic work in the starring role." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 61 out of 100 based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A−, commenting that "Gilroy, who as a screenwriter has shaped the movie saga from the beginning, trades the wired rhythms established in the past two episodes by Paul Greengrass for something more realistic and closer to the ground. The change is refreshing. Jason Bourne's legacy is in good hands." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2˝ stars out of 4, writing: "The Bourne Legacy is always gripping in the moment. The problem is in getting the moments to add up. I freely confess that for at least the first 30 minutes I had no clear idea of why anything was happening. The dialogue is concise, the cinematography is arresting and the plot is a murky muddle."
Peter Debruge of Variety wrote that "the combination of Robert Elswit's elegant widescreen lensing and the measured editing by Tony Gilroy's brother John may be easier to absorb than Greengrass' hyperkinetic docu-based style, but the pic's convoluted script ensures that auds will emerge no less overwhelmed." Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice also wrote a scathing review of the film, saying: "The Bourne films have more than just overstayed their welcome and outlasted the Ludlum books
- they've been Van Halenized, with an abrupt change of frontman and a resulting dip in personality."
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, called the film "an exemplary espionage thriller that has a strong sense of what it wants to accomplish and how best to get there." He especially commended Gilroy's work on the film: "Gilroy knows the underpinnings of this world inside out and appreciates how essential it is to maintain and extend the house style of cool and credible intelligence that marked the previous films." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter commented on his review that "the series' legacy is lessened by this capable but uninspired fourth episode."
Damon plays Jason Bourne
the Jason Bourne stories, there is no explanation as to how
the 'Treadstone' subjects are biologically
enhanced. This film tries to explain how the subjects
DNA is changed using a virus. Robert
Ludlum was not part of the development of this movie.
- The Mummy,' the technology that could allow scientists to
regenerate a living person from DNA,
is explained in some part, such that a suitably qualified
expert in that subject might reasonably conduct a successful
experiment in a country where cloning is not prohibited.