Now for some fiction. The Bourne Legacy released in 2012 is primarily about the attempt of the Government Security agencies to shut their stable door after Matt Damon as Bourne, escapes the effort to terminate him aided by a member of the Security services who realised that a rogue and unauthorised programme had been put into effect called Treadmill in which selected individuals were psychologically and physically transferred to carry out operations, often illegal and involving the unauthorized assassination. The film is about the decision to stop other successor programmes to Treadmill and eliminate existing operatives.
I enjoyed the film with two qualifications. The opening of the film will leave anyone who has not seen the first three films in the series extremely bewildered, despite some flashbacks to the films and secondly the long chase at the end of the film is ludicrous although I accept the public appetite for such sequence appears unabated.
The first adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s series The Bourne Identity 2002 introduces us to the likeable Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) who comes to realise that for a number of years he has been leading the life of International assassin for a project code name Treadstone, secretly funded and operated with the USA Secret Service. The self discovering makes him realise he participated in a failed assassination as well as successful assassinations and has been the subject of a covert transformation having been identified and recruited from the USA military.
He begins a search which take him to Paris and meeting with a project Assistant unaware of the nature of its activities and the two join up and go on the run after becoming aware that they are being hunted. I have previously mentioned arising from the Henley senior management course that in relation to companies the value, deployment and elimination of “creative” was discussed at some length but in the context of research and development teams. However the same issues arise in relation to the recruitment, deployment and elimination of “creatives” acting on behalf of the state. I recently reviewed the radio adaptation of the latest le Carré A Delicate Truth which is another version of the cover up required when a mission goes wrong. In The Bourne Identity the two manage to escape the three Assassins deployed to eliminate as the project is shut down.
Two years later the Bourne Supremacy was released. The couple have spent two years leading an idyllic life in Goa when the past catches up with them. An International search for Bourne take places after his finger prints are identified in the murder of CIA agents and the disappearance of large funds. He is being framed by a Russian agent again related to past events and the agent locates Bourne and sets out to kill him but kills the woman believing he has killed Bourne. Bourne travels to Europe to find out the why and the who. The film introduces a character who is to play an important role in this and the subsequent film The Bourne Ultimatum, Joan Allen as Pamela Landy deputy Director of the CIA who is persuaded that Bourne is responsible for the death of the agents and needs to be eliminated. However her inquiries takes her to Operation Treadstone and to finding out about Bourne and also his former Identity. She also begins to uncover the role of fellow Deputy Director Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) in the creation and closing down of Treadmill.
Bourne had killed a Russian politician and his wife but left the daughter. The politician had been at the point of exposing the name fo the CIA agent involved in the theft of $20 million of CIA money. Bourne goes to Russia to explain what happened to the now grown up daughter and there is a hectic chase involving the Russian who framed him who he gets the better of. Back in the USA Bourne is cleared of the murders of the USA agents and the Deputy Director Landy reveals his background.
What I thought was the final film The Bourne Ultimatum he learns that a new generation Treadstone has been created through a Guardian newspaper journalist who has uncovered the story and who in turn is assassinated. It is the new other Deputy Director who controls Treadstone II who is behind the elimination of the newspaper man and the latest attempted killing of Bourne but again he has an ally in Deputy Direct Pamela Landy
The media get hold of the existence of the two clandestine operations leading to the prosecution of top CIA people involved and Bourne escaping believed dead once more. Albert Finney plays the psychiatrist who managed the Treadstone project.
I can therefore now come to the Bourne Legacy which begins with the decision to close down the latest black ops programme where the operatives have enhanced physical and mental abilities from chemical tabs one coloured blue and one yellow and without which they not only lose their abilities but their lives. Because of the publicity the US Senate is conducting investigations involving senior CIA Directors and the existence of a photograph on You Tube providing evidence which could lead to the downfall of the latest black ops unit the decision is taken to close it down and kill the operatives and the members of the scientific team responsible for creating and developing the chemical agents. In two instances this involves substituting one of the tabs with a lethal substance. A leading member of the scientist Lab group dramatically starts to kill all his fellow unit members before turning the gun on himself but one person escapes Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weiz).
In Alaska operative 5 Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renmer) is undergoing a challenging survival mission in which he has to recover an object at the bottom of an icy lake waters and then return to the Training HQ which is manned by operative three. He makes it home two days early by climbing a mountain creating a new record and this saves him because he has time to recover and detects the arrival of some form of aircraft ( a drone) and leaves the training centre to an nearby observation staging to witness a rocket from the drone destroying the building and killing number three. The explosion also destroys his supply of drugs required for performance and survival. Realising he is under attack by his own side he removes the tracking implant and uses a wolf that has been tracking him as a decoy so he is believed killed but Escapes.
Understandably Dr Shearing is upset and bewildered by the killing of her associates and decides to leave her isolated property which she is doing up to visit her sister in Canada. This prompts the arrival of a supposed help team but who are there to present her death as a suicide and somehow involved/responsible for what happened at the unit laboratory. Fortunately arriving the same is Ross who saves her from the assassination team, killing them and then setting fire to the property as a means to escape and draw in the emergency and local police services to aid their departure.
The problem is while Shearing has been involved in monitoring the operatives and the development of the enhancement she does not hold a stock. However she explains that they have progressed their knowledge to eliminate the need for ongoing use of one enhancement and she believes she can eliminate the other thus he will retain his power without ill effects and without the need to have a further supply. However to do this they must travel to the manufacturing laboratory in Manila. While they are escaping and travelling to the Philippines those mastermind the closure and cover up have worked out that Dr Shearing has not died in the fire and that she must have had help. Eventually they work out she is on her way to the Philippines with Cross. The two are nearly caught at the factory but managed to escape and this enables the Dr to fix Cross although when he has side effects she goes out to get medication to help his recovery. She returns to find that the local police have located their whereabouts and she is able to warn him putting herself at risk.
The USA team have employed their latest enhanced operative to eliminate the couple and a substantial chunk of the film is taken up with the chase on foot and on motorbikes. The couple beat the man who appears invincible and are helped by a local who turns out to be a fisherman with his boat and the couple are then sailing away intending to just disappear. Meanwhile back in the USA the Senate hearing after taking place. This is not the last film as seven books 2004 to 2012 by Eric van Lustbeder so far who took over the writing of the story line !!!!!!