Promoted as a sequel but “The Bourne Legacy” actually feels more like a spin-off. I really enjoyed the “Bourne Trilogy” with Matt Damon in the lead role. The first three movies were smart, exciting and action-driven which made full use of the character created by Robert Ludlum. This new movie takes place about the same time as the events of “Bourne Ultimatum” and has a new character in the lead played by Jeremy Renner.
In this sequel, Jason Bourne may not be around, but the shadow of the character and the events in the third film feels to have a major influence on the life of Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner). Cross is another super-agent of the same kind who takes experimental green-blue enhancement pills that give him an edge. When the covert operation ends up terminated and with his supply getting dangerously low, Aaron must find a way to find more before his mind and body shuts down. Cross makes his way to the home of a scientist named Martha Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who herself has been made a target because of the cover-ups being instigated by a team led by Eric Byer (Edward Norton). The two make their way to the Philippines, being hunted all the way in a desperate effort to stabilize Aaron’s condition.
The screenplay written by Tony Gilroy and Dan Gilroy appears to have been inspired by the events of “Ultimatum” and while competent in some ways as it was able to hide some lacking plot developments and twists, it feels more of an effort for “histrionics” rather than something that presents a gripping story. Tony Gilroy directs and being a co-writer of the previous “Bourne” films stays within the franchise’s parameters and lacks a little something, it was missing what made Doug Liman’s “Bourne Identity” methodical and exciting, and Andrew Greengrass’ “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” an effective expansion of the story established in the first movie.
“Legacy” has a simple plot consists of government cover-ups and subterfuge. It is takes its focus on Aaron whose project that spawned him had been terminated, leaving him with nowhere else to go. There are some legitimate cool scenes, some credible set ups for the action sequences, and had potentially smart plot dynamics. However, the film was horribly paced, and being the longest film in the “Bourne” franchise, it had too simple a plot to drag around its feet. The film got a little too ‘talkie’ for my tastes, Gilroy’s action sequences which were meant to be the film’s strongest points were too few and far in between. Gilroy appeared to be more comfortable in trying to generate tension through dialogue, but then with the limitations on the script, it takes a little too much time getting ‘talkie’ and going back to the details of “Ultimatum”. I am all for slow build-up, but the scenes with someone maneuvering the hunt became a little too tedious. Norton and company spent a little too much time on-screen discussing things that could have easily been expressed through some tight maneuvering around the same scenes.
This new sequel (or spin off) was built for flamboyance and yes, Renner may arguably be a more fitting ‘action hero’ than Matt Damon. Damon’s “Jason Bourne” was more of on the subtle and yet, smoother super-agent kind, while Renner has the look, the tools to be the raw, edgy, no-nonsense type. Renner was more at his best with his roles in “The Hurt Locker” and “MI-4: Ghost Protocol”, but in this film, despite the script’s limitations, proved to be a worthy action hero. The set pieces were good, and the film’s major action sequence made a strong showing in the final act. I thought the film really came alive when there was action. Renner was capable in taking the spotlight and he also managed to form a chemistry with Weisz. Despite the limitations to her character, I thought she proved essential in the film. I also had some minor moments of laughter when I heard my native language used in a movie that used no subtitles to communicate what the Filipinos were saying. It was good to see my native land get some very needed investments.
“The Bourne Legacy” is easily the weakest movie in the “Bourne” franchise, and could have benefited a lot if it was shorter. The film had a long runtime at 2 hours and 15 minutes, with such a straight-forward script, the devices and plot developments weren’t that strong to really hold up in an action movie. It also ends abruptly with a weak closure that it was perhaps a hint of another potential sequel(?). Like The Amazing Spider-Man” earlier this summer and the Spanish horror sequel “[REC] 3“, this new “Bourne” is alright, but it was made with ‘business’ in mind, meant to capitalize on the popularity of a franchise which had already been given a satisfying closure and does nothing to improve on the story. It was completely unnecessary; simply made to generate more dollars than driven by an urge to tell a compelling story.
Star Rating: The Bourne Legacy is a competent and satisfying spy action thriller, although I suspect it will be problematic for those unfamiliar with the first three Bourne films. This fourth chapter isn’t quite the start of a new trilogy, as some of the ads have suggested; the events of the previous installment, The Bourne Ultimatum, are heavily referenced, as are bits and pieces running through all the films, most notably the Treadstone and Blackbriar … more
Slooooooooooooow to start and leave audience with no idea what exactly is happening. One could guess but it didn't make it fun for viewers. Can skip 1st hour if you are busy! Worse, without Matt Damon, I doubt I'll be going for a sequel if they are planning for one!
Has Matt Damon given up the Bourne movies? He excelled as Jason Bourne and is a hard act to follow. Bourne Legacy is less of a sequel, and more of a spin off. Certainly elements of it work very well. Jeremy Renner brings his own brand of intensity to the role, and I like Rachel Weisz as the doctor with whom he goes on the run. I loved the way the scene in her house unfolded with all its twists and turns. Renner plays a character not named Bourne, but … more