The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Director: Tony Gilroy
Writer: Tony Gilroy & Dan Gilroy
Inspired By: “Bourne Series” (Novels) By: Robert Ludlum
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Oscar Isaac, David Strathairn
Country: United States
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Time: 135 minutes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
USA Release: 8/10/2012
DVD Release (USA): 12/11/2012
After first being introduced to Jason Bourne on the big screen in “The Bourne Identity”, a decade ago, he has gone on to mesmerize us in two other brilliantly executed films. Going from just trying to figure out who his was and what he did to gathering an arsenal of intelligence to take down the very institution that started it all, Bourne has done it all. But now after five years of thinking that the Bourne series was over they have come back to make another, this time though without Jason Bourne. The biggest question that everyone has been wondering, how will the series work without the hero we have come to know and respect?.
In “The Bourne Legacy” we follow another member of Operation Outcome, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner). Who like Jason Bourne has no idea that there are others out there like him, but little does he know that not only are they out there but that they are being killed off one by one. While out on a training assignment in Alaska, he comes across another agent just known as Number Three (Oscar Isaac) just has Aaron is known in the program as “Number Five”. After being allowed to stay at the cabin along with Number Three until the blizzard passes, Aaron without warning hears a noise in the distance and after running outside to get a location on what it might be the cabin is suddenly struck and explodes. This causes Aaron to take off running, having him soon realize that someone is tracking him and trying to kill him. While this is all going on a massacre is happening at one of the Outcome research labs where Dr. Donald Foite (Zeljko Ivanek) is killing off his colleagues one-by-one leaving only Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) as it’s sole survivor. Back to Aaron, as he escapes from the forest he comes across an article about Dr. Shearing’s survival, and having known her as his doctor, sets off to see if she can help him with his medication problems.
To begin with I wasn’t too keen with the idea of a Bourne film without Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. But when I heard it was taking a different direction with a new character that Jeremy Renner was going to play I thought, “how bad can it be?”, I was so wrong. Now to be clear there are couple good things happening in this movie but like with the last film I reviewed “Total Recall” much of the problem lies with the story. To make matters worse the writer of this is the same writer that has been the one penning the stories since the beginning, Tony Gilroy. In the original three films he converted the stories by Robert Ludlum into fast, high octane rides that deliver just as much thought provoking storyline as it does action. But somewhere between “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “The Bourne Legacy” something got lost or crossed over wrong, because this story is not only boring at the best of times but it’s confusing as all get out (see summary). It’s not like it’s hard to follow or anything unless you haven’t seen any of the previous films or read any of the books. It’s the fact that certain storylines from the third film that make there way into this one are changed. Without giving anything away from either film, the third one ended a certain way, and where the fourth one begins is supposedly somewhere around the time the beginning or the middle of the third one takes place. Hopefully I’m not confusing you at this point, anyway the events that unfold at the end of the third film, I guess cease to happen because the same situation occurs in the fourth but with a different outcome, like the fourth film takes place in some kind of parallel universe, so you can see how this especially if your a fan of the previous three would bug the heck out of you.
Another reason the story fails to grab your attention, while it’s confusing you with the underlining Treadstone program and Blackbriar that by the way never really get explained just mentioned and discarded, it’s also trying to tell you two other stories all at the same time. This may be the reason that the first hour or so felt excruciatingly over long as we get bounced back between three stories that never seem to really gel together. I already mentioned one of the stories the other two that eventually become one deal with Aaron Cross and Dr. Marta Shearing, the latter of which I think was the strongest story individually. Either way though none of the stories reach anything close to what the previous three accomplished together or even individually. Throughout the entire film, I was like what is Aaron Cross fighting for (I won’t mention how lame his motivation really is, you’ll have to see the film to understand that) is it really just that one measly little thing that just turned into another disappointment for me. When I walked out of the theater I felt like no story was really told, it was just a giant scam. I believe they should have never made this film, but since it was inevitable they were really stupid to try to tie it with the third film, they should have just made it it’s own film it would have been less confusing. But now that they have I doubt that they can make a sequel from the film that didn’t really have a story. Any chance of them bring Matt Damon back for another one about Jason Bourne has just been ruined because they boxed themselves in with how the confusing story unfolded dealing with him in this.
Although there is little point in continuing on with this review, I should mention the couple and I mean that literally of good things going on in this film. Since Tony Gilroy is the writer and director and those each go hand in hand, if one suffers so does the other. That being said some of the directing isn’t too bad, having some great locations like we are use to seeing with this type of film. Along with that is the action which unfortunately doesn’t live up to any of the previous three films alone or together. There are only a few really great key action scenes like the one that features a motorcycle. Other than those few key scenes most of the action deals with a lot of running which isn’t all that interesting with a lack of plot. At this point I would begin to breakdown the actors of the film, but seeing as most of them are in it for a underwhelming fraction of the time I can simply just say this, everyone ranging from Joan Allen to Edward Norton, even the extra people who we don’t know were all wasted in this film, having a muddled plot that has no motivation to keep us engaged and messing up a great ending plot to a previous film is a waste of every actors time. The only two I will break down are Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz. These two are one of the best things going on in this, besides the fact of having very little to work with, they continue to attempt to make this as good a film as possible. The run, jump, have hand to hand combat, use guns, their brains, and in the end have a crappy ending to a film, that is unfortunately going to try and convince us it deserves a sequel which it doesn’t. I applaud their efforts and that of any actor that worked in this film, but it makes me wonder what possess them to sign on after reading that disaster of a script.
Overall “The Bourne Legacy” is a disgrace to the name Bourne and doesn’t deserve to play Moby’s song in the end credits. If you’re a fan of the Bourne series, don’t watch this…ever, just act like it doesn’t even exist, you’d be better off. With a story the makes no sense and contradicts events that take place in the previous film, by the end you’ll be wishing you never laid eyes on it. It’s over long, and boring to boot, while the performances are descent especially by it’s leads with the lack of motivation leading them the film just seems to move slower than it already is. The action will hold your attention but it feels flat in comparison to any of the action we have already seen in the series.