Aaron Cross’s Biker Jacket in The Bourne Legacy
Jeremy Renner as Kenneth J. Kitsom, aka Aaron Cross, U.S. Department of Defense agent who does not have amnesia
Maryland and the Philippines, February 2005
Film: The Bourne Legacy
Release Date: August 10, 2012
Director: Tony Gilroy
Costume Designer: Shay Cunliffe
People anticipated the release of The Bourne Legacy with nervous excitement. Most people I knew were very satisfied with the initial Bourne trilogy, ranking it among the better movie trilogies out there. People always ask for more until they actually get it. Case in point: Star Wars, Episode I.
However, Jeremy Renner surprised many by capably filling the gigantic shoes of taking on the role of Not Matt Damon. Like Damon was in 2002, Renner is a very likable and capable actor who is getting into the meatier parts of his career, from superhero movies (The Avengers) to crime drama (The Town). Furthermore, he doesn’t have a pre-Argo Ben Affleck dragging him down!*
Thus, The Bourne Legacy was a worthwhile follow-up in a good franchise, wisely not trying to Bond-ize the series. The story is cleverly continued by overlapping the new story of Aaron Cross with the familiar story of Jason Bourne. Also, we have the only appropriate title in the series since the first installment as we are truly seeing the effects of Bourne’s legacy. I don’t recall any sort of supremacy or ultimatum in the second or third movies, so points to this one for having a title that actually makes sense.
* I have to specify pre-Argo because Argo was pretty goddamn awesome.
What’d He Wear?
Like his predecessor, Jeremy Renner’s protagonist wears one main outfit during the film, with some variation depending on extreme climates (Bourne in India, Cross in Alaska) and differing tasks. Perhaps trying to tell the audience something about CIA agents, the filmmakers also choose for Aaron Cross a dark jacket, neutral t-shirt, and dark jeans, paired with boots.
The film’s costume designer, Shay Cunliffe, is quoted with saying that Cross’s attire needs to be multi-functional. He needs “to be able to put it on, live in it, and do everything [he] needs to do.” (Thanks to “The Superbite” for the quote and a great page about Cross’s jacket.)
The staple item of Cross’s character, which he takes with him from Maryland to Manila, is a black jacket. At first, I thought this was a leather biker’s jacket, especially given the extended stunt on the motorcycle. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one, nor was I too foolish for my mistake. Rather than the cool-looking but stifling leather, Aaron Cross wears a wax cotton jacket, notably a Belstaff H Racer Cardigan Jacket, made by the British brand Belstaff. Belstaff is known for their all-weather motorcyclist’s jackets and this, a wax cotton biker’s jacket, is the perfect example. After all, wouldn’t leather be a bit restricting for all of the running, jumping, fighting, and additional badassery that is required of a Bourne movie hero?
The jacket was so popular after the film that Belstaff quickly reissued it, but other retailers that jumped on the boom after the movie came out are also still selling versions, including Accent Clothing in the UK.
Cross’s Belstaff jacket acknowledges the new direction of the series. Whereas Bourne’s attire was slightly more traditional, albeit still cool, Cross’s jacket is a very modern-styled garment with its slim fit and short length while still not as tight as the oft-criticized (unfairly, IMO) costumes in Skyfall.
As mentioned, the black-on-black Belstaff jacket is lightweight – moreso than it looks – due its waterproof and “rubberized” wax cotton material, layered with an internal jersey lining on the collars, cuffs, and waistband. Unlike the smoother lines of Bourne’s jackets, there are seams aplenty here, down the arms, on the yokes, and down the center of his back.
Although atypical for a biker’s jacket, it does have the articulated sleeves to enhance riding posture with aerators under the pits to add breathability without sacrificing wind protection. The sleeves fasten at the cuffs with snaps, identical to the snap tabs that offer an adjustable fit at the waist.
Further up the sleeves – or at least just the left sleeve – the Belstaff logo stands out proudly. Some may argue product placement, but I say it’s realism; how many of you take the time to cover up any potential logos on your clothing before going out for a bit of world-saving?
Although never used by Cross as he never wears the jacket closed up to the neck, the jersey-lined collar offers additional wind protection, further enhanced with a buckle-fastened archival throat latch, which fastens through a 1-eyelet silver clasp.
The jacket, as a biker jacket should, also has plenty of pockets. There is a slant chest pocket on the left side that closes with a zip, meant to carry – according to Belstaff – “personal essentials”. The zip pockets on the hips are vertical to keep the modern slim silhouette streamlined.
According to the Belstaff site, the H Racer Cardigan Jacket currently retails for $695. Some may consider this a lot to spend on a jacket, but it is actually comparatively low in the men’s designer outerwear market. Additionally, if you’re going to have one good all-purpose jacket, it’s worth the minor investment for quality.
Like Bourne, Cross layers his shirts to be climate-appropriate. When running through the woods of Maryland in February, Cross wears a dark gray thermal long-sleeve t-shirt with a thermal grid pattern and rib knit cuffs for warmth.
After traveling to Manila, the capital of the Philippines, Cross is now in a much warmer climate. It may be February, but the daily mean temperature in Manila in February is still 81°F. The average low? Just over 69°F. This is when it’s a good time to not be wearing a leather jacket. Or a thermal long-sleeve t-shirt.
Cross quickly ditches the thermal and runs around the Philippines in a much more comfortable light gray short-sleeve cotton t-shirt. It’s definitely a t-shirt, as we see both in the film and on the DVD cover art, but one stunt reveals that Renner actually wears a sleeveless shirt in some scenes. Even though they were filming in January, the weather was so warm that they needed to switch out his t-shirt. Of course, it doesn’t help that they stuck poor Renner in a jacket, jeans, and heavy boots with a black backpack on.
Cross also changes his pants from the Maryland scenes to the Philippines. In Maryland, after his quick change in the woods, Cross wears a pair of comfortable black cargo pants with large snap-fastened pocket flaps on the rear pockets and the box-pleated side cargo pockets. These trousers also have belt loops, but Cross wears them with no belt.
Once he gets to Manila, after changing out of his suit, Cross wears a pair of Paige Denim’s Normandie slim straight leg denim jeans in a very dark blue “Manchester” wash. The jeans have a distinctive white stitching and the usual 5-pocket setup with large rear patch pockets. The Manchester wash doesn’t appear to be available from Paige anymore, but there is still a variety of Normandie style slim jeans on their site in the $169 to $229 range. There are some very good-looking styles in practical blue denim, as well as more… unique styles ranging from mustard to camouflage to hot pink.
For his international adventures, Cross sports a pair of blackened gore-tex Timberland Chocorua Trail hiking boots with rubber soles. They have four eyelets for laces and two adjustable hook and loop straps to keep them tightly fit on Cross’s feet. The boots are built with premium leather uppers and a contoured EVA footbed with an antimicrobial cover to stifle foot odors. These boots are still available on the Timberland website for $140, but only in brown. Older pairs in black – like Cross’s – can be picked up on other sites like Amazon for a few bucks less. Let’s go ahead and say he wears a pair of black socks with these. I don’t think we see his socks, but black makes sense, right? Okay, we’re going with that.
While we’re on the subject of undergarments (which socks kind of are), Cross flashes a pair of white boxer briefs with a black elastic waistband while rolling across the roofs of Manila. I can’t make out the logo on the waistband, but someone with eagle eyes (or a computer hooked up to a Blu-Ray player) might have more success.
Cross takes Dr. Marta to the airport for their flight to Manila wearing a new and decidedly un-Bourne-like layer, a simple but cool Steve McQueen-style khaki balmacaan-style raincoat. The raincoat is single-breasted with a large shirt-style collar, button-tab cuffs, and a horizontal seam across the upper back. We don’t see the raincoat before or after the airport scenes, but it adds a neat dimension to an already cool look.
Adding to the cool factor is a pair of Ray-Ban RB 2140 Wayfarers, worn by Cross during the final chase. These are the genuine Ray-Ban sunglasses made iconic in the ’80s and undergoing a revival now. Cross’s are a set of RB2140-02s with black plastic frames and G-15® XLT Polarized lenses. If you want a pair, and I know you do, you can head to the Ray-Ban site and pick up yours today for $200.
Or, if you’re a lucky bastard like me, you’ll find a pair and not have to pay a dime for them. It was a particularly cold February day in 2010, a few days after the legendary “snowmageddon” that stranded many Pittsburghers in their homes for days on end. I was in my marketing classroom, having just heard a presentation about the new Consol Energy Center which was six months away from opening. The lecture ended and I was lingering, flirting with who-knows-who, when I noticed a pair of sunglasses on a neighboring desk. My first thought was, “Hey, cool, sunglasses!” My second thought was, “Holy shit, these are Ray-Bans.” I still have them three years later. The poor sucker who lost them never had a chance.
Finally, Cross wears the accessory that no modern spy movie is complete without – a wristwatch. Cross’s is a black IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition TOP GUN, #IW 379901, with a black ceramic 46 mm case and matte gray titanium crown, buttons, and rear cover. It’s a beautiful watch and you can spend 12,700 beautiful dollars to obtain it.
Go Big or Go Home
Although he has cool accessories with his watch and sunglasses, the rest of Aaron’s inventory is pretty simple. His laptop is a standard black Toshiba, he uses a red Sharpie, and – in the most anti-Bond fashion – his camera is a disposable Kodak FunSaver Flash. This rings pretty true for the film’s supposed setting of 2005, when digital cameras were just emerging onto the marketplace and the quickest way for a guy on the lam to snap a photo was with a disposable camera. I myself went through probably twenty disposable cameras during the summer of 2005 alone. Cross also carries a silver Zippo, utilizing it to move the film into its second act.
Also, unlike Bourne who seemed to have bottomless pockets for his equipment much like a video game character, Cross carries a large backpack around Manila, ostensibly filled with his belongings. Hopefully for Jeremy Renner, it wasn’t actually full in real life.
This is a badass Jason Bourne-style action movie, so there are gonna be plenty of guns. In this movie, Aaron Cross handles a Nemesis Arms Vanquish sniper rifle, a SIG-Sauer P229, a Glock 19, a Beretta 92FS, and a Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver – the first notable revolver in the Bourne series. He may use all of these guns, but right now I’ll focus on one we haven’t seen before on this blog, the SIG-Sauer P229.
SIG-Sauer seems to be the CIA’s manufacturer of choice in the Bourne series; Jason kept a SIG Pro in his Swiss safety deposit box and carried a P225 throughout The Bourne Supremacy, The Professor used a SIG SG 550 rifle to take out his targets, and Paz armed himself with a SIG SG 552 and a P229 in the last installment of the original trilogy. In The Bourne Legacy, Cross packs the P229 when he heads into battle in Dr. Shearing’s Maryland country home. He eventually gets his hands on Dr. Dowd’s Glock 19 and carries both akimbo, but it is the P229 that is Cross’s weapon of choice.
The SIG-Sauer P229, which you can still check out on SIG-Sauer’s online catalog, was introduced in 1991 as a compact version of the P226. Two years earlier, SIG-Sauer had developed the P228 for the same purpose, but the P228 was already nearly obsolete as it would chamber only 9×19 mm Parabellum. The P229, on the other hand, was made to handle the higher velocity .357 SIG and .40 S&W rounds also offered in the larger P226 due to the heavier CNC Machined steel slide unavailable on the P228. Once the P229 was also offered in 9×19 mm, the P228 sadly bowed out of production after a short but glamorous life as the “M11” in U.S. government service.
The P229 marked a new generation for SIG-Sauer’s prominent place in U.S. law enforcement. While the P226 and P228 had been adopted by some agencies, the P229 was meant to be an American pistol and was the first SIG to be manufactured in Exeter, NH. The U.S. Secret Service now carries P229R DAK in .357 SIG, and both the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard carry .40-caliber P229s. The P229R DAK (the R indicates an accessory rail in front of the trigger guard) uses SIG-Sauer’s Double Action Kellerman system, a DAO system with a smoother, lighter pull and two reset points.
The P229 carried by Bourne has a traditional DA/SA system, with a trigger pull of 10.0 lbs. in double action and 4.4 lbs. in single action. His is the non-rail P229, except for one brief shot when he is hiding in Marta’s closet and the pistol becomes a P229R due to a continuity error.
The P229 is 7.1 inches long, 5.4 inches high, and 1.5 inches wide. The barrel length of 3.9 inches makes it a fine weapon for both concealment and combat, especially with its relatively light 32 ounce weight when loaded with 13 rounds of 9×19 mm ammunition (or 12 rounds of .40 S&W/.357 SIG). SIG-Sauer offers the pistol for $993, a high price when there are similar pistols on the market, but SIG-Sauer has built a reputation for quality that can stand behind its price.
On film, the P229 first appeared on screen in the hands of Jonathan Pryce as the villain Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies. The P228 is still much more common in film, as it was developed earlier and is only chambered in 9×19 mm Parabellum, which is much more common in Hollywood blank ammunition arsenals.
How to Get the Look
Cross may have some expensive taste, but you can find some inexpensive (or just plain cheap) options since you don’t need the durability of a man who has to leap across roofs or get into life-or-death motorcycle chases. It might be fun to think that this is your life, but let’s be practical here.
- Black lightweight waxed cotton Belstaff H Racer Cardigan Jacket biker’s jacket with slash zip left chest pocket, vertical zip side pockets, jersey-lined collar with silver buckle-fastened throat latch, snap cuffs, and adjustable waist snaps
- Light khaki single-breasted balmacaan-style raincoat with large shirt-style collar and button-tab cuffs
- Dark gray thermal long-sleeve crew neck t-shirt
- Light gray cotton short-sleeve crew neck t-shirt
- Paige Denim’s Normandie “Manchester” dark blue jeans with white stitching
- Black cargo pants with belt loops and large flapped rear and cargo pockets
- Black gore-tex Timberland Chocorua Trail hiking boots with leather uppers, rubber soles, 4 eyelets, and 2 hook straps
- Black socks
- White boxer briefs with a black elastic waistband
- Ray-Ban RB 2140-02 Wayfarer sunglasses with black plastic frames and polarized lenses
- IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition TOP GUN (#379901), with a black ceramic 46 mm case and matte gray titanium crown, buttons, and rear cover
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Now, I’ve got a plan, and it’s just not that complicated. What I’m going to do is wait for the next person to show up to kill you. Maybe they can help me.
I love coated cotton jackets like this because they have all the cool factor of leather without the weight and are more weather proof. My favorite is a rubberized poplin field jacket that I got from Old Navy on a whim for $30.
The beauty of styles like the one above is that versions of components, with the exception of the jacket, can be found at any price point, with hardly anyone but the wearer being the wiser.
You’re absolutely right. I had mentioned durability in the post, but often very inexpensive jackets can last years if they’re still made by a quality shop. I have some Old Navy clothes that I’ve owned for at least 10 years that still fit and feel as good as they did when I first purchased them. If I can find the sort of field jacket you’re talking about, that’d check quite a number of sartorial needs off of my list with one purchase!
Honorable mention should also be given to LARX-3’s ensemble. Black polo w/ self collar, white jeans, tan, unlined Ike jacket, brown or black sneakers, aviators, and stainless diver-style watch. Classic hot weather look, socks and jacket optional.
I was wondering if there is a different equivalent to the jacket? Impossible to find now on the links you shared in the post.