Review: Bourne Legacy
- Starring: Jeremy Renner (The Town), Rachel Weisz (The Mummy), Edward Norton (Fight Club), and more.
- Directed by: Tony Gilroy
- Synopsis: “ [Gilroy] expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. For The Bourne Legacy, Renner joins fellow series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles.”
- Rated: Rated PG-13 action, violence, and brief language
Bourne Legacy attempts to bring back the Robert Ludlam legacy to the screen with a spinoff film that does not quite hit the mark. Seeming to take place during the events of the last Bourne film (Bourne Ultimatum), Bourne Legacy begins rather cryptic and confusing as this secret spy film begins to take form. It keeps you guessing (not necessarily in a good way) as to what in the world is going on throughout the first 30-40 minutes of the film.
Tying itself to the original series with mentions of Treadstone (along with other classified programs), Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne, and photos/clips/scenes of characters from the previous three, Bourne Legacy is like its predecessors in name alone. While I try to look at this film as its own, the marketing campaign and synopsis alone forces one to look at this in comparison to the previous three…and it pales in comparison.
The performances are not awful…but they are not applause-worthy either. The forgettable performances and storyline just disappoint. Renner as Aaron Cross carries the film via his actions as opposed to his words. Rachel Weisz stars as a scientist who must have been an amazing track star in a previous life seeing as she is able to keep up with the genetically enhanced agent as they run from their pursuers. Ed Norton’s performance is nothing greater than any of his previous ones, but is satisfactory. And the rest of the cast and crew seem almost inconsequential yet necessary as the film trudges through setting the stage for an action packed climax.
The film frustrated me for several reasons:
1. It stated “There never was just one.” (alluding to the type of operative that Jason Bourne was)…so I expected more of the exact same things. There was very little that resembled Bourne with the exception of a few intuitive innovations and choreographed fight scenes (of which there were less). The hand to hand scenes are far less memorable than Jason Bourne’s. (Come on, everyone remembers him fighting the guards in the embassy, scaling the walls to escape, looking at the program directors through a scope while on the phone with them at the same time, or the newspaper in the toaster to initiate a gasleak explosion, etc [and most of that was TEN years ago]…if we could be so lucky as to have something as memorable in a film with the name BOURNE in it!)
Granted, there are a few good fight scenes, but they come and go so quickly that they end up forgettable. The only memorable fight sequence is a high-speed motorcycle chase that lasts longer than expected.
3. It took forever to get started. The film sacrifices helpful background connections to Bourne and character development for Agent Cross and switches that out for muddled references, useless characters, and unresolved plots and sequences which add very little to the film.
4. Lack of a good villain. Is it Treadstone? Is it Blackbriar? Is it Ed Norton’s character? Is it the hyped up, super agent, motorcycle-chasing villain who, through his entire ~20 mins on-screen (coincidentally the most exciting/suspenseful part of the film), has absolutely no lines of dialogue in the film? Is it the CIA? Is it the team of engineering scientists? Someone tell me.
5. Forgettable performances and storyline…oh, wait…I already said that. Sorry. I forgot.
All that being said, it still is not a BAD movie. It’s just a bad Bourne movie. It would have served itself a lot better if it had just been named “The Cross Series: Crosshairs”, then the sequel could be “Crossroads” with the finale of the trilogy to be called “Crossfire”! See? You like that! Gilroy should have hired me.
I jest, but seriously the biggest crutch for this film was connecting it to the Bourne series from the beginning. I wanted this film to be better and be Bourne-esque. It’s fun during the motorcycle chase scene at the end, but that’s really about it. The tease of the name caused the biggest letdown overall in that it lays more of the groundwork for following films instead of being its own movie. Lower your expectations and you will enjoy it…possibly…more than likely.
Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars for Bourne Legacy
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
-T, The Focused Filmographer