2012 already looks like its brewing up to be a tough year to make a mark with The Avengers, Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises all on the way, followed by the eagerly-anticipated The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Yet muscling in, or perhaps more stealthily shinning up the drain pipe, is a re-Bourne action franchise in the guise of The Bourne Legacy, due for release on 15 August. The first trailer has just been released courtesy of MSN, giving us our initial look at Matt Damon stand-in Jeremy Renner, who is getting a reputation as the go-to guy for fourth chapter action movie franchise reboots.
The Bourne Legacy looks set to be a follow on rather than a remake or reboot, with Renner not simply ‘taking over’ from Damon as Jason Bourne, but instead playing an entirely different character, an assassin who goes through a similar Treadstone training programme (the tagline states ‘There was never just one’).
Damon had previously declared that he would only return to the franchise if Paul Greengrass, who directed the last two installments of the then trilogy, returned. Greengrass opted not to and the new film was placed in the hands of Tony Gilroy, who wrote the first three films and has had an uneven start to his directing career with the Oscar-nominated Michael Clayton (2007) and the underwhelming Clive Owen and Julia Roberts thriller Duplicity (2009).
More controversially, Damon recently gave an interview to GQ Magazine roundly criticising Gilroy for shenanigans surrounding the last Bourne outing for which Damon claims Gilroy submitted a below-par script which need to be hastily and drastically rewritten and then went to arbitration with Gilroy claiming (unsuccessfully) a sole writing credit.
The trailer introduces us to Renner’s genetically altered super-soldier, seemingly escaping his confines and making for the snowy wastes.
Initial qualms aside, Gilroy has all the potential (and incentive) to make a good crack at it. And more promising still, Renner has proven himself in The Hurt Locker (2010) and more recently Ben Affleck’s The Town (2011) to be a highly watchable screen presence. With a supporting cast including Albert Finney, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton, this may just be one to watch.
The Bourne Legacy is released in UK cinemas on 15 August.