So what happens when Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass decide that they no longer want to be a part of the super successful franchise known as Bourne?

Do the producers say fine and walk away from their billion dollar cash cow or find another way to keep it going? Silly question, right?

Which brings us to "The Bourne Legacy," written and directed by Tony Gilroy (writer of the previous Bourne films) and starring Jeremy Renner as the new super spy who the evil CIA wants to kill.  Sound familiar?  Of course it does, and that's the problem.

You've seen this same plot before...many, many times before.

When the film opens, we meet super soldier Aaron Cross (Jeremey Renner) in the wilds of Alaska, completing a solo training mission.  We know he's a super soldier because he can swim in freezing cold water and punch out a big grey wolf with his bare hands.  (Liam Neeson sure could have used his help in "The Grey.")

But before you start envying Cross's super powers, you might want to know that in order for him to stay...super, he needs a daily dose of pills - one blue to keep his brain enhanced and one green to keep his biceps from deflating. And his supply of drugs is rapidly dwindling.

Too make matters worse, the CIA wants Aaron dead.

It seems their little secret program, Outcome, which was designed to create super soldiers, has become infected by the arrival of Jason Bourne in New York City.  The guy in charge of Outcome, Eric Byers (Edward Norton), decides that it's best to kill everyone associated with this claudestine operation.


The CIA being the CIA has no trouble knocking off all of Outcome's participants, except of course for Aaron and Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a genetic scientist who worked on developing the drugs that turned these everyday dudes into supermen.  One notable scene is when Dr. Marta gets a visit from some not so friendly peeps at her home. 

Naturally, how could you have an action film without the male and female leads hooking up?  So of course, soldier meets doctor and together they evade the CIA, while at the same time figure out a way for Aaron to keep his super powers.

The film does have some exciting moments.  There are plenty of car chases, fight scenes, gun battles and crazy stunts involving leaping and jumping, but in the end "The Bourne Legacy" lacks originality. Except for the brief glimpse we get into Renner's backstory, interesting character development is also absent.

The last 45 minutes of the film is filled with an extremely long motorcycle chase and an ending that is flat and exists only to let the audience know there will be a sequel.  

I give "The Bourne Legacy," which opens in theatres Friday, Aug. 10 only 2 bagels out of 5, and John's score was even less than mine.  Check out our video to see us toast our two year anniversary on YOUTUBE.

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By Joan Alperin Schwartz