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Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz (‘The Constant Gardener’, ‘The Mummy’) stars alongside Jeremy Renner in the new film ‘The Bourne Legacy’ as Dr. Marta Shearing, a research scientist with top-security clearance and a high-paying job in the Maryland laboratory of corporate pharma-giant Candent. It’s the groundbreaking science developed in her lab that’s responsible for Outcome, a division similar to Treadstone, and her job includes monitoring the Outcome agents on the rare occasion that they pass through the area.
She knows Aaron Cross (Renner) as she knows the rest of them: as a number, as a clinical subject, as a guinea-pig. She’s ignored the ethical conflict of her work, but when the entire program needs to be terminated and it’s her life in jeopardy, she’s forced to confront the morality of her choices as she fights to stay alive.
Colonel Byer (Edward Norton) has built his NRAG network at the Beltway nexus of the intelligence, military and corporate communities. Stacy Keach (‘W.’, ‘American History X’) plays ret. Admiral Mark Turso, Byer’s chief advisor and link to the Pentagon. Dennis Boutsikaris plays Terrence Ward, the CEO of The Candent Group, the big-pharma giant working beyond the cutting-edge of science and medical ethics under the banner of national security.
The appetite for enhanced warriors—a very real military/intel dream over the last 60 years—has finally met the moment where breakthroughs in biochemistry and genomics are making things possible. We learn very early in ‘The Bourne Legacy’ that Treadstone was but one of Byer’s early programs and, as the film progresses, we discover that even Outcome has been upgraded. But just as each of these programs carries the promise of more perfect agents, so do they each present their own unique bugs and flaws.
Aaron Cross’s physical enhancements will feel familiar to fans of Jason Bourne. His cognitive lift, however, makes for a more adaptive and provocative skillset. It also holds a great danger: The Outcome agents have proven difficult to control, and Cross, once cut free of the leash, makes for an even more dangerous threat to his creators.
Oscar Isaac (‘Drive’, ‘Robin Hood’) plays Outcome #3, and in his handful of scenes in ‘The Bourne Legacy’, Isaac has a chance to explore with Renner these tensions with the clear, raw perspective of two men who’ve signed up for more than they bargained for.
With ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ playing in the background of the first two reels, ‘The Bourne Legacy’ has the opportunity to follow through on the storylines left hanging in the previous films. The story invites several franchise veterans to reprise their roles from earlier ‘Bourne’ chapters.
They include five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney (‘Erin Brockovich’, ‘Big Fish’) as Dr. Albert Hirsch, the medical director behind Treadstone, and Joan Allen (‘The Notebook’, ‘Nixon’) as Pam Landy, the CIA’s internal investigator whose relationship with Bourne has erupted in ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’. David Strathairn (‘Good Night and Good Luck.’, ‘L.A. Confidential’) returns as Noah Vosen, head of the black-ops security program Blackbriar, and Scott Glenn (‘Training Day’, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’) appears as Ezra Kramer, the director of the CIA. They too will find their previous positions shattered as Cross defies the odds and refuses to be terminated.