Can you imagine anyone making a James Bond movie without a James Bond? I know that the 1960s spoof Casino Royale boasted over 700 007s, but now we've gone where no spy movie franchise has gone before: doing without the key character.

The Bourne Legacy is the fourth Bourne movie, and although you get to see the odd photograph and mention of Matt Damon's Jason Bourne, there's simply no sign of the man himself.

So far, so bad. But the good news is that Jeremy Renner is pretty impressive as new lead spy guy Aaron Cross, and pretty soon you'll have forgotten what's-his-name. At least they can't be accused of deceiving viewers or fans of the series: the film is called The Bourne Legacy rather than, say, Bourne Again or New Bourne. Perhaps Bourne Free might have given the game away a little easier.

Anyway. The film kicks off with some interesting shots of Renner freezing his Bournes off in Alaska, but a rather tedious set-up then fills the screen for about the next 90 minutes before we get into the action. And pretty damn fine it is - when it gets going.

After being nearly blown to oblivion, it dawns on Cross that he's a dead man running. He soon discovers that he's victim of the movie franchise's third outing, The Bourne Ultimatum, in which sinister CIA operations, including experiments creating a team of super-agents, risked being exposed.

As a result, intelligence chief Eric Byer (Edward Norton) decides to shut it down and kill anyone involved, including Cross, and a scientist called Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz). Indeed, perhaps the best scene is played out in her house as she gets a visit from the CIA and all sorts of fun ensues.

Of course it's all pretty daft, but if you want action, chases, gun fights, fist fights, things crashing into each other, roof-top chasing and loud explosions, this is perfect for you.

As for Renner, the guy seems made for this sort of stuff and is extremely convincing as the spy who wouldn't die. Already, there's talk of Matt Damon returning to the fold for the next instalment, teaming up with Renner. Already I can see the TV series potential...

John Byrne