Except for a few still photographs and some mentions of his name, the character Jason Bourne is AWOL in "The Bourne Legacy," the fourth in the Robert Ludlum-inspired franchise and the first without star Matt Damon. The beauty of director Tony Gilroy's riveting thriller, and Jeremy Renner's compelling lead performance, is that you scarcely miss him.
Treadstone, the shadowy black-ops CIA program that made Jason Bourne a human-killing machine, is in the crosshairs at the beginning of Gilroy's script (which he wrote with his brother Dan). Disgraced CIA master Pam Landy (Joan Allen) is about to go public, and other CIA brass are in a panic. The solution, says CIA operative Eric Byer (Edward Norton), is to liquidate the program which means killing the other operatives (or "outcomes," as they're called) who received the same training and viral genetic enhancement as Bourne.