The Bourne Legacy

PhotobucketThe Bourne Legacy picks up where the last episode left off. Jason Bourne and Pamela Landy have just exposed both Operation Treadstone and Blackbriar to the public. The CIA has now ordered all of their black ops programs to be scrapped. This includes eliminating all agents in similar programs like Operation Outcome of which Aaron Cross is a member. Apparently we’ve come to accept that the U.S. government will go to any lengths to keep its ugly secrets from getting out. If that means murdering the dedicated agents it helped train, then so be it. That speaks volumes over the distrustful view that U.S. citizens have over their own government. But that’s a discussion for a political forum. This is a movie review.

Overall The Bourne Legacy isn’t really up to the standard of the other three in the series, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an entertaining thriller. Paul Greengrass has decided to leave as director and with his departure, Matt Damon as well. Tony Gilroy, the constant screenwriter of the tetralogy, steps into the directors chair. (Yes I had to look that word up) Tony Gilroy falls short of Greengrass’ assured direction, save for one key area. Paul Greengrass’ hyperactive jerky camera work is thankfully absent. Gilroy’s steady cinematography is much appreciated when trying to follow hand to hand combat. There are several fight/chase scenes and they’re so much more exciting when you can actually see what’s happening.

First the good. Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz are welcome additions to the cast. Renner assumes the lead role of Aaron Cross and he brings a humanity to the part. He may not be as charismatic as Matt Damon, but what he lacks in personality he makes up for in empathy. His protagonist is more man than machine. The supporting cast is quite important this time around. Both Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton have sizable roles that are just as intrinsic to the story as Renner’s. Rachel Weisz in particular is one of the best things about the film. She plays Dr. Marta Shearing, a doctor who is developing a medication given to the secret operatives to make them stronger and smarter. Part of the legacy of actresses like Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton is that we usually get heroines that are superhuman in strength and devoid of weaknesses like emotion. Rachel Weisz is so refreshing in that she is allowed to express fear and vulnerability. She even screams in one scene. Alright so it’s a warning scream. Granted she remains extremely capable. There are instances where she displays feats 99% of the human population couldn’t do. However there’s that 1% where she still appears human and that makes her endearing.

Storywise, The Bourne Legacy is the least captivating entry of the franchise thus far. It’s also got sort of a generic non ending that feels as if nothing has been resolved. The story is left wide open. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Damon returns in The Bourne Betrayal. Dueling agents perhaps? While the plot lacks a certain oomph, it’s not horrible. While I was watching, I was entertained. It’s just that when I sit and think about it, the whole production seems rather underwhelming. I am a fan of the series, plus I do like Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz and for those reasons, I’ll give this a pass. The excellent action sequences peppered throughout go a long way in making this watchable. Go in with low expectations and you should be entertained.

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30 Responses to “The Bourne Legacy”

  1. martin250 Says:

    the steady camerawork sounds like a big plus already. i still enjoyed the last two Bourne movies but i don’t think it was because of its jerky camera effects. well maybe except for the car chase at the end of Supremacy. it was somewhat effective there. nice review mark

    • martin250 Says:

      just to clarify the above, i don’t think the jerky camera effects were crucial to the success of the last two bourne movies.

    • Oh I absolutely love the Bourne series. If taken as a trilogy, it’s one of the most solid out there.

      • although some of my observations differ from yours, i enjoyed your review more after seeing this film the other day. i thought the ff:

        a)it lives up to the standard . although it is no longer about the excitement of watching an Amnesiac survive in dangerous situations, it carries the same level of tension for a fictional spy thriller. the addition of genetic modification to the plot was an excellent idea!

        b)Rachel Weisz gave a terrific performance.

        c) this was slightly more captivating than Supremacy.

        d) i prefer Tony Gilroy’s style with the steady camera work.

    • My take on The Bourne series was they kept getting better until they got to this installment (Legacy). Therefore Ultimatum (#3) was better than Supremacy (#2) which was in turn better than Identity (#1). I guess we’ve come to expect a high caliber film from this franchise and this really didn’t live up to the hype IMO.

  2. I unfortunately don’t remember the other 3 “Borne” movies, but I’m sure I liked them. This was very good. I was along for the ride. Jeremy Renner fit the role perfectly. Action scenes were very exciting.

    • My recollection was that the Bourne series just kept getting better. The Bourne Ultimatum, which was the last one to come out before this, was really outstanding. It set the bar really high. I had lowered expectations however since Greengrass and Damon weren’t returning so I was prepared for this.

  3. Great review Mark. Maybe it’s not as great as the original franchise, but it’s still a very fun and intense ride, that offers some new characters I’d be interested in seeing more. Although, only time will tell on how that all plays out.

  4. Good review, new word learned with tetralogy so that’s always fun :)

    I felt like everything about this movie from the characters to the jerky cinematography was all one level below all of the previous Bourne movies, which is still good but the Bourne label deserves more than a “just good” to merit continuation, I just never felt that here. Honestly the main thing that held it back from my point of view was the story line, the quest for maintaining his high intelligence (not to mention his life) just wasn’t as compelling as Jason Bourne’s search for the mysteries of his past.

  5. I’m not too sure about this one. Paul Greengrass directed both Supremacy and Ultimatum, and he finished the trilogy (so I thought) off PHENOMENALLY. I was just as disappointed as you were when both he and Damon left, and I was even confused when I heard that Bourne was only given mention here, not even seen. I guess it’s possible to make the case that it makes the movie that much more interesting, but the reviews have significantly dropped since the last three. On Rotten Tomatoes, Identity and Supremacy were both up in the 80%s, then the awesome Ultimatum shot up to somewhere in the 90%s (93%, I think?). Last I checked, Legacy was at 51%. But after reading your review, I guess it isn’t all too bad. Maybe I should give it a shot. Nice review, Mark.

    P.S.: I was surprised you didn’t know the word “tetralogy”, no offense. It’s usually employed as “tetralogy”, but sometimes differently, i.e. “The Alien Quadrilogy”.

    • The Bourne movies don’t really require the same actor in the lead. It’s kind of a James Bond thing. As long as the script is good, I’m there for the ride. Legacy isn’t great but it’s definitely worth seeing.

  6. We either need Damon and Greengrass back or a better script with more action in my opinion. This Bourne movie doesn’t compete with the first three and is a big swing and miss when compared to them. Hopefully they’ll bounce back in the next one.

  7. Hey there, I’ve just passed you on the Liebster Blog Award:

    http://themoviefreakblog.com/2012/08/11/liebster-blog-award

    • Thank you! 3 people told me that. Wow. Does that mean I have 3 sets of questions to answer? Oh dear I better get started…lol

      • That means you only have to post once, except answering every set of questions. It took me around an hour, but the questions are the easiest by far. I’m looking forward to what you write.

  8. I completely agree with your rating & even your feelings on the whole film. Though my reasons for not loving the latest Bourne installment are a bit more succinct. After watching the Bourne Ultimatum, I was dying to find out more about the relationship between Jason Bourne(Matt Damon) & Nicky Parsons(Julia Stiles). A lot was implied & it was sheer torture for me to wait for the next film. Finding out Matt wouldn’t be in it made my heart sink, because I knew I wouldn’t be finding out anytime soon. Oh well, hopefully the next one will bring Matt/Jason back. Just to be clear, I’m a big fan of Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz & Edward Norton & I did enjoy this film, only not as much as I would’ve enjoyed getting some answers. At least I think so? Great review as always Mark :)

    • I’m slightly ashamed that I can’t even remember where The Bourne Ultimatum left off, so that wasn’t an issue for me. I can appreciate your disappointment however. That’s a valid frustration.

  9. Planning on seeing this later today, simply because I liked the other ones and I want to see how this one plays out. Good review.

    Your’s is one of five blogs that I have just nominated for the Liebster Blog Award! Congrats! Check out my post for more info: http://cinematrain.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/the-liebster-award/

  10. Have to say on the whole we agree on this movie. Enjoyed it more than I expected to, and it fits the category of ‘better than it has any right to be’. Although it’s probably the weakest of the Bourne movies, that doesn’t make it a failure, as the other three are VERY hard to live up to. It’s impressive that Gilroy takes the story off in it’s own new direction whilst still keeping the wheels moving in the world of Bourne. Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon declined to return as they couldn’t see a reason for the character to return, and if anything Legacy sets up threads that may just give Damon that reason. For that alone it deserves praise.

    My review: http://wp.me/p1LZxf-LD

    • The generic and abrupt ending was a disappointment. It didn’t even feel finished. At least what came before was decent enough so I gave this a pass.

      • Yeah, i got the feeling that there was a longer script with Cross then going after the organisation realising that they weren’t going to be safe until he did – i suspect if that’s the case it was taken off as the script was already around the 2 hour mark then and Gilroy decided there was more material than for just one movie. I suspect if this is successful enough, Universal intend this to be another trilogy, and I wouldn’t mind that, but it would be nice to see Matt Damon return in some capacity other than a photo on a news report.

  11. Great review, Mark! I especially loved how you described Weisz’s character and her portrayal.

  12. Fine review as always. I suppose the reason I enjoyed the movie was in part due to the fact that I had forgotten Ultimatum and thus watched this as a separate movie. I think the main problem with this movie is the word “Bourne” in the title. Also the studios clearly want this to be the US answer to Bond, therefore I’m sure we will be treated to different styles and interpretations along the way. Also one should view this as the 1st part of a series. This is a risky albeit arrogant move by the studio, as they assume the movie will be a success; so they better deliver the goods.
    Performances are solid, direction is good, action sequences are adrenaline fuelled alas the story and editing may slightly let the side down but this is still a pleasant ride, admittedly it is the sort of ride that does not warrant a height restriction.
    Hope this is still in the top 5 when we next record.

    • Yes the line separating James Bond and Jason Bourne becomes more and more blurred with each new film. Obviously Bond came first, but it goes both ways. 2008’s Quantum of Solace was more Bourne in style than Bond.

      Legacy will probably remain in the Top 5 on the UK chart, which seems to be more stable. Nothing lasts more than 4 weeks on The U.S. chart. Even TDKR dropped out out the top 5 this past weekend. Thanks for commenting my friend!

  13. Okay I realize I’ve stated that I plan on seeing this when it comes to DVD. But it feels like forever since I’ve been to the movie theater, and my mother suddenly has a desire to take me to see a movie. She’s very, very, VERY picky about movies, and since she enjoyed The Bourne Identity, we’re going to see this one today. Stay tuned.

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