Jeremy Renner as Kenneth J. Kitsom, aka Aaron Cross, U.S. Department of Defense agent-in-training
Alaska, January 2005
Film: The Bourne Legacy
Release Date: August 10, 2012
Director: Tony Gilroy
Costume Designer: Shay Cunliffe
The Bourne Legacy, a risky film in itself for continuing a near-perfect modern trilogy, cleverly chose to run a parallel story to that of its titular character. Overlapping the events of The Bourne Supremacy‘s final act and The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy begins with DOD agent Aaron Cross (formerly Kenneth J. Kitsom) on a training exercise in Alaska.
(“Alaska” is portrayed in the film by The Fortress, a mounted in the Canadian Rockies just west of Calgary in Canada that rises to an elevation of 9,800 feet.)
Cross’ assignment tests his endurance and skill as he is faced with the extremity of Alaska’s chilly climate and rugged terrain. Eventually finding his way to another agent in Cross’ Operation Outcome unit, Cross is told that he has broken the mission record by two days. Unlike Bourne, who was rigorously trained to the breaking point, Cross’ skill comes from the performance-enhancing “chems” he has been given to make him a super-agent.
Much like the earlier films in the series, the plot revolves around CIA trying to wipe out its most talented – and thus most internally dangerous – operatives. In this case, a drone is sent after Cross and his contact. Though the contact is killed, Cross cleverly manages to misdirect the drone’s fire by feeding his tracking device to a wolf. When the wolf is obliterated by a drone’s Hellfire missile, Cross knows he is in danger and heads back to the continental U.S. to solve the problem.
What’d He Wear?
Similarly to the first installment in the Bourne series, our protagonist’s first outer layer is a red winter jacket. Appropriately enough, red tends to signify danger in the Bourne films, and Aaron Cross is a simply a pawn in a bigger, drone-centric game while he shoots around Alaska in his red jacket.
The jacket in question here receives much more prominence and, as an actual item of Cross’ clothing rather than something borrowed, is a much more efficient outerwear garment than the down jacket sported by Jason Bourne in Switzerland.
Cross wears a red lightweight and waterproof outdoor jacket from Arc’teryx’s Alpha SV (Severe Weather) series. It is still available from both Amazon and Arc’teryx’s site for $675 and has actually won several awards, including the ISPO Outdoor Award, the Backpacker Magazine‘s Lifetime Award, Outdoor Gear Lab Editor’s Choice Award, and mention on Forbes.com’s Top 5 New Winter Gear Pieces in 2013. Arc’teryx has also developed a woman’s version of the Alpha SV, but Cross naturally wears the men’s jacket.
Constructed from durable and waterproof N80p-GORE-TEX® Pro 3L (three-layered) fabric, the Alpha SV jacket was designed specifically for climbers in “severe alpine environments”. According to Arc’teryx:
The Alpha SV first appeared in 1998 to address the needs of alpinists for a lightweight, streamlined, waterproof jacket that could work with a harness. Hard-wearing, stripped down and unlike anything else at the time, the Alpha SV quickly became an iconic Arc’teryx piece and revolutionized the outdoor apparel industry.
Arc’teryx designed their jacket to fit as comfortably as possible for the sort of outdoorsmen who would be traversing a freezing mountainside in the middle of winter. The zippers, hood, and jacket itself were all treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) to keep the wearer dry and warm despite extreme snow, rain, or wind outside. Despite these measures, the jacket is still very breathable and wearable with its 1.6 mm micro-seam allowance to keep it lightweight.
The jacket has three external pockets and two internal pockets, all designed to be accessible and durable. There are two bellowed “crossover” chest pockets on the front as well as a sleeve pocket on the left bicep. Inside, there are two laminated pockets. Arc’teryx is sure to note that despite the heavy water resilience of the pockets, they themselves are not waterproof and wearers should not keep “items in your pockets that may be damaged by moisture”.
The external zippers on the front and pockets are Arcteryx’s trademarked WaterTight™ zippers designed to seal out the window and weather with “zipper garages” providing additional protection from wet weather. The corded zipper pulls were designed to be easily accessible with one hand and quietly opened, especially useful for a government assassin like Cross trying to evade detection. (Of course, the color isn’t ideal for evading detection.)
Arc’teryx also trademarked the jacket’s hood, its “helmet compatible Stormhood™” which was designed to keep the wearer warm and dry. It has a laminated brim and hood adjusters that cinch tightly and securely to offer “full coverage without restricting movement or visibility”, another plus for someone like Cross who finds himself the target of government drones. The tall collar of the jacket enhances the hood’s “full coverage” and has a laminated chin guard for additional protection.
While updating its milestone Alpha SV jacket, Arc’teryx focused on enhancing the fit for active men on the climb. One frequent complaint about winter jackets is that the heavy insulation restricts arm movement. The Alpha SV was redesigned to address that problem with a reduced chest circumference and closer fit, offering “more efficient arm movement” with articulated re-patterning through the jacket, particularly the elbows, for “unrestricted mobility”. The underarms are gusseted with zips to allow easier breathing through one of man’s sweatiest areas.
The sleeves have elasticized and laminated die-cut velcro cuffs. The waistline is also elasticized with an adjustable drawcord. The hem was designed with Arc’teryx’s lightweight and removable Harness HemLock™ inserts to keep the jacket in place while wearing a climbing harness, as jackets are prone to ride up otherwise.
Once it becomes necessary, Cross is able to wear his jacket inside out with the dark gray lining on the outside when he needs to be more discreet than a bright red jacket would allow.
At first, I wondered if this was a dark gray down jacket layered underneath the red Arc’teryx; however, scenes of Cross wearing the dark gray jacket after escaping the ill-fated cabin show the same features and pockets as the red jacket but with a red lining and red-trimmed hood.
Despite that, Cross does appear to layer a black down jacket under his red Arc’teryx, best seen when he first arrives at the cabin and talks to Outcome 3 with his outer jacket unzipped.
The sequence in Alaska features Cross’ outerwear – particularly his jacket – far more than the rest of his attire, but it appears he took a page out of the Bourne handbook and wore all black underneath.
He wears a black thermal long-sleeve quarter-zip shirt on his chest with elasticized sleeves that roll up easily onto his bicep to allow himself to inject a shot when necessary. Some long-sleeve shirts are too close-fitting throughout the sleeves to allow this sort of thing. This was also notably seen in Thunderball when Sean Connery’s Bond rolls up the sleeves of a black long-sleeve polo while stalking through Shrublands at night. In both instances, the sleeve rolled up easily onto the bicep without bunching too much or unrolling itself during the scene.
According to some speculation (and MC Toys’ action figure of Cross), Cross’ dark gray snow pants are Helly Hansen’s Verglas Randonee, a highly-rated model currently priced at $240 on Helly Hansen’s site described as: “A light and comfortable shell pant for backcountry adventurers. 3/4 side zips and bottom reinforcement per specification of our mountain guide friends.” While lined for comfort, the shell pants are not insulated to keep them lightweight and comfortable for an active climber. Like the Arc’teryx jacket, they’ve also been DWR treated to repel water in this extreme weather environment… and they’re available on Amazon.
The two-ply fabric Verglas pants have an adjustable velcro waist with belt loops and double buttons. There are plenty of pockets through the articulated legs, including side “handwarmer” pockets with YKK® zippers and a slash pocket on the right thigh. A quarter-length YKK® Aquaguard® zipper extends down each side to the ballistic nylon reinforced bottoms, which close with a snap over the zipped legs.
Though he wears blackened Timberland Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex hiking boots through the rest of the film, I believe the pair worn in the Alaska sequence is The North Face’s Slot GTX winter boot – also in black – constructed from Nubeck leather and Gore-Tex.
According to BackCountry.com: “The Winter Grip outsole’s secret weapon is its temperature-sensitive lugs that sharpen the colder it gets. Hunker down or push on to base camp knowing that The North Face Men’s Slot GTX Winter Boot’s PrimaLoft insulation and EVA midsole will make your feet forget it’s even winter.”
Although he’s got the revolutionary protective hood on his jacket, Cross wisely protects his head further with a plain black winter trek knit cap.
Update! Awesome commenter Lars Brenna has informed me that the hat was made by OR (Outdoor Research). OR’s Wind Blocker Alpine Knit Hat looks like a good deal to me!
Cross’ black gloves are a blend of fabric and synthetic material with removable finger tips.
He wears his watch, a black IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition TOP GUN #IW 379901, on top of the gloves so he doesn’t have to expose his skin to check the time. With its black ceramic 46 mm case and matte gray titanium crown, buttons, and rear cover, it’s a durable watch that ably withstands the extreme temperatures of Cross’ Alaskan plight. If you’re in the mood, you can shell out $9,900 on Amazon for your own. It’s a steal at that price, as it’s been known to run up to $12,000.
Cross stays loyal to the Arc’teryx brand by sporting a black Arc’teryx 65 backpack. More information is available from the Arc’teryx site.
How to Get the Look
Cross dresses solely for function here, wearing some of the highest rated winter clothing available.
- Red lightweight waterproof Arc’teryx Alpha SV series Gore-Tex jacket with zip front, crossover zip chest pockets, sleeve zip pocket, and laminated-brim storm hood with chin protection
- Black hooded zip-front down jacket
- Dark gray Helly Hansen “Verglas Randonee” lightweight shell pants with adjustable velcro/snap waist, handwarmer zip pockets, thigh zip pocket, and quarter-length zipped & reinforced bottoms
- Black quarter-zip long-sleeve thermal shirt
- Black knit trek cap from Outdoor Research (OR)
- Black leather/Gore-Tex winter boots, likely The North Face’s Slot GTX
- Black winter gloves with removable finger tips
- 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
Aaron Cross’ weapon in Alaska is a customized Nemesis Arms Vanquish takedown sniper rifle. According to IMFDb:
The Nemesis Arms Vanquish (also known as the Nemesis Arms Mini-Windrunner) is a lightweight, tactical, take down rifle built from a small action version of the .50 EDM Arms Windrunner M96, which was also the base rifle used in the manufacture of the Cheyenne Tactical M-200 Intervention. The Vanquish is a multi caliber rifle, and this can be changed by simply replacing the threaded barrel (all other parts including the magazine do not need to be changed). The Vanquish has been tested by Marine Scout Snipers at the High Altitude Shooting Course where they were able to hold 3 inch groups at 600 yards and 6.5 inch groups at 905 yards.
Thus, a very practical rifle for an assassin… at least from what I know by watching movies about assassins.
The rifle hasn’t received much exposure on screen yet, having only appeared on the weapons scene a few years before The Bourne Legacy was made. It is very lightweight, weighing twelve pounds when not fitted with optics or accessories, with a 20″ match grade and fluted barrel and optional muzzle brake. The Nemesis Arms site reports that the Vanquish can be fired with .338 Federal, .308 Winchester, .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, or .243 Winchester ammunition from a 10-round detachable box magazine.
Although the Nemesis Arms Vanquish is a bolt-action weapon, the film shows Cross using it in both bolt-action and semi-automatic modes. This is a common error seen in films (and nicely lampshaded by the Nation’s Pride film-within-a-film in Inglourious Basterds) when a bolt-action rifle is shown to fire semi-automatic rounds to speed up the action. Still, a “cool shot” is almost always included of the character rapidly racking the bolt to show just that the character is a determined badass and “gun expert”.
Cross also gets his hands on Outcome 3’s sidearm, a first generation Walther P99, when fighting off a group of wolves. The P99 was developed by Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen to replace its older P5 and P88 models. After three years of design, the P99 was introduced in 1997 just in time to replace the venerable but lower-caliber PPK carried by James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Well known to 007 fans as James Bond’s handgun of choice from Tomorrow Never Dies to Casino Royale, the P99 also makes its return to the Bourne series after being featured prominently as Kirill’s weapon of choice in The Bourne Supremacy. Like Kirill’s sidearm, the two-tone P99 wielded by Cross has a black polymer frame and silver polished steel slide.
Though the P99 was initially chambered only in 9×19 mm Parabellum (with a 16-round magazine), a .40 S&W offering was soon rolled out to appeal to the American LEOs who were slowly adopting the .40-caliber round. Although the P99’s short recoil, locked breech system dates back to John Browning’s Hi-Power pistol, the weapon more resembles modern pistols like the Glock with its internal striker rather than an external hammer.
Unlike other weapons where generational changes are mostly cosmetic, it is important to differentiate between the P99’s generations. The first generation was strictly a traditional double action (DA/SA) with a decocker. Due to its lack of an external hammer, a red-painted striker tip protruding from the rear of the slide (and a loaded chamber indicator on the right side) indicates to the user when the gun is cocked.
The second generation featured many more variants: the P99 Anti-Stress (AS), which was closest to the original DA/SA generation; the P99 DAO, with a resting internal striker to keep the pistol in double-action only mode; the P99 Quick Action (QA), with a pre-loaded Glock-style internal striker; and a compact version of each of the three variants. The magazine capacities were reduced by a single round for the newer generation, carrying 15 rounds of 9×19 mm or 11 rounds of .40 S&W. The P99 remains a popular field gun due to its reliability and ease of field stripping without tools.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Buy the movie.