If you haven’t seen the previous entries in the Bourne film series, don’t see The Bourne Legacy. If you have….

Well, don’t see The Bourne Legacy.

If you’re new to the franchise, well, suffice to say the film is pretty incomprehensible. Without a working knowledge of Treadstone et al, or at least an awareness of their existence, this film is a confusing mush of exposition and jargon. Even as a fan of the original series, I found it extremely hard to keep up, and newbies would find it hard to tell what was intended to be explained later in Legacy, and what we were assumed to know from previous films.

If you have seen the previous films, well, let’s just say that will negatively influence your opinion of Legacy .Unlike the frenetic earlier entries, this film takes a good half hour before a single frame of action occurs (save some mountain climbing), and seems full of missed opportunities. Once it does get underway, it’s a reasonably enjoyable romp, but nothing special; Taylor Lautner’s Abduction is more innovative. In particular, it’s depressing how these sort of films now seem obliged to include some kind of ‘par kour on corrugated rooftops’ sequence, even after it was so superbly parodied in Johnny English: Reborn.

As the film reaches its conclusion, the plot fizzles out; the super-bad amoral agent sent to attack our heroes is kicked off his bike by Rachel Weisz, denying the audience the super-assassin fistfight that would have been a great setpiece. So much is unresolved; Jeremy Renner never confronts (or even meets) Edward Norton’s antagonist, and the implied past between them is not expanded upon. Just as things seem to be approaching an exciting climax, the film ends without any cathartic release. Weisz and Renner have just outrun their CIA overlords for the time being, but seem to be treating it as a fun holiday. No doubt this is to leave plans open for a sequel, but it felt more like someone just got bored writing the script and went home. Can’t blame them, really.

So, to sum up; if you like the Bourne films, this is disappointing. If you don’t know them, it’s unforgiving. But that’s not to say that this film’s for nobody; I’m not that harsh. If you actively dislike the Bourne franchise, and wish to masochistically attack your own memories of it, then, well this is the film for you. Five stars.

For everybody else, though…