Opening 13 Sep 2012
Writing credits: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy, Robert Ludlum
Principal actors: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach
The current ten-novel series of a fictional military man, Jason Bourne, is written by two authors, Robert Ludlum and Eric Van Lustbader. The first three books known as The Bourne Trilogy were written by Ludlum beginning in 1980. His second book was written in 1986; and 1990 was the debut of Ludlum’s last book of the trilogy series. In honor of Ludlum’s work each book was transformed onto the silver screen, starring actor Matt Damon as Jason Bourne/David Webb directed by filmmakers, Doug Liman in The Bourne Identity; and Paul Greengrass in both The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum—each using the same title as Ludlum’s books.
Ludlum died in 2001 and Eric Van Lustbader picked up the torch to continue Jason Bourne’s story. Lustbader’s first novel hit the market in 2004: The Bourne Legacy. The year 2012 is not only the debut of the fourth Bourne film but the completion of Lustbader’s seventh Bourne novel: The Bourne Imperative. Though the latest Bourne film The Bourne Legacy carries the same name as Lustbader’s novel, the plot is completely different, adding intrigue to the series.
The fourth Bourne action thriller The Bourne Legacy directed by filmmaker/screenwriter Tony Gilroy creates a backstory for Jason Bourne that does not disappoint but be warned, it’s complicated. Gilroy, the co-writer on the Bourne Trilogy feature films, builds the fourth film storyline without bringing Jason Bourne into the picture. Gilroy’s creativity keeps the film’s plot moving and the brain ticking of each cinema guest who’s tracking Bourne’s narrative history. Gilroy’s intent is to have continuity from the trilogy without changing the events. This makes room for some parts of The Bourne Legacy to take place at the same time as the previous film The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). If you’re a curious Bourne novel fan, then awesome! This film is for you!
Gilroy says, “Jason Bourne will not be in this film (The Bourne Legacy), but he’s very much alive. I’m building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy… the world we are making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s return.” He continues with saying, “Everything you saw in the first three films actually happened, and everyone who got into it will be rewarded for paying attention. We’re going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas.”
The United States government recruits and trains certain stellar military men and women not only as agents in special combat ops and espionage; but, also for experimental purposes. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is one such subject chosen after falsifying information about a United States Department of Defense black ops program called Operation Outcome, in which he volunteered. The program is to physically and mentally enhance the agents’ abilities through pills referred as “chems.” The chems are routinely given to the agents before and after training exercises but the performances are monitored 24/7. Cross is on a routine training mission to survive harsh elements and rugged terrain in Alaska. Upon completion of the mission, he makes contact with a fellow op member who goes rogue from the program, is found out and is assassinated. Cross observes the attack by accident and figures something is amiss. His suspicions intensify when he is suddenly the next target to be assassinated
He is bothered with the fact that he doesn’t have enough information to answer why his life is being threatened. To find answers he begins with pursuing his superiors. He is conversing with the doctor who gives him the chems when he realizes that the answers to his questions don’t make sense but the doctor just shoves the chems at him and advises to continue on the next mission. Cross, unsatisfied with the doctors’ strange bedside manner, sets out to do his own research on the program with which he is involved. Cross hears on the national news that two other U.S. Department of Defense programs, Operation Treadstone and Operation Blackbriar, are exposed to the public for misappropriations. Cross is confused but through his research begins to unravel a timeline that connects his black op program to a larger government cover-up connected with Treadstone and Blackbriar. Convinced Cross needs to detox off of the “chems” for survival, he needs his meds doctor, Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz)—the Operation Outcome’s sole survivor geneticist who survived a deadly shooting. Cross rescues her from the situation and the two journey together to unveil Jason Bourne’s legacy and Gilroy’s plan for “…legend and an environment for a wider conspiracy to take place…” (Karen Pecota)