Though this year’s entry in Universal Pictures’ international espionage saga, “The Bourne Legacy,” breaks its formula by introducing audiences to a new operative (Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross), there are a handful of things you can count on based on his predecessors past adventures. A revelatory cliffhanger and intense action sequences are obligatory elements of the blockbuster franchise, and the structure of the story is as reliable. That’s not a bad thing, either. Each film in the series also contains an epic car chase and ferocious fight scene, the likes of which are usually the topic of much discussion long after the credits roll.
Suffice to say, “Legacy’s” writer/director Tony Gilroy, the narrative architect of the three previous films, is going to stick to a script that’s been working well for 10 years. And in celebrating the release of the latest installment in the franchise, which is sure to introduce Renner to the painful side of being an action star, we thought that it would be a good time to look back at the “Bourne” series’ baddest brawls (there have been so many, after all).
Film: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) – “Bourne vs. Desh”
Easily Bourne’s best fight sequence. Not only does it begin with Damon “apartment hopping” through Tangiers and subsequently crashing through a glass window into harms way, but it is also the most lethal of his mono a mono duels, with the equally deadly Desh dishing as much pain as he receives. They toss each other from one side of the room to the other, bust through home furnishings and beat each other bloody in true bad ass form until Bourne chokes the life out of him in the newly “remodeled” bathroom.
Film: The Bourne Identity (2002) – “Pen vs. Knife”
The fight that started it all, this lighting round of martial arts mayhem brought new meaning to the idea of the pen being mightier than the sword. Our mysterious hero first disarms his machine-gun wielding opponent, then proceeds to dismantle him piece by piece with surgical precision using little more than a common writing instrument. The repeated stabs are quite affecting and the battle as a whole sets the brutal tone for subsequent films.
Film: The Bourne Supremacy (2004) – “Fighting Close and Dirty”
Often overlooked because of the sensational stunt choreography involved in the aforementioned fights, Supremacy’s centerpiece battle is no less violent than the others. Marton Csokas (“The Lord of the Rings”, “Aeon Flux”) is the unfortunate recipient of the bruisings this time, but he gives Bourne a run for his money in spite of his hands being bonded. Once he releases himself and dons a butcher knife (the choice weapon of many cinematic killers), Bourne goes all MacGyver again using a thick magazine to thwart his foe. It all comes down to a strangling match … a particularly personal way of disposing of an enemy.
Film: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) – “Bourne at Waterloo”
Skilled in all forms of hand to hand combat, Jason Bourne is capable of causing devastation to more than one assailant at a time. Here, within the walls of London’s busy Waterloo Station, he delivers that reality to a handful of CIA operatives in the harshest way imaginable. Taking out four men at once without missing a beat, the sequence shows how systematic his skills really are.
Film: The Bourne Supremacy (2004) – “Car Chase with Kirill”
Not all of Bourne’s baddest brawls were fought with his fists. In each film he took to a particular city’s streets to duke it out with either nameless figures of authority or major villains (Karl Urban’s Kirill in this case) behind the wheel in spectacular car chases that would make “The French Connection” proud. Kirill pursues Bourne through the streets of Moscow — the former in a G-Wagon, the latter in a taxi cab — and pummel each other and all of the commuters who happen to be on the road as well resulting in an epic crash.
Film: The Bourne Legacy (2012) – “Motorcycle Race through Manila”
Now for a Bonus clip! Check out this chase scene from “The Bourne Legacy,” in which Aaron Cross and Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) race through the streets of Manila, and make sure you catch the film in theaters today!