Posted November 19, 2012 by Alex Moss Editor in B
 
 

The Bourne Legacy DVD


Given the immense success of

the Bourne franchise, no studio worth their salt would let such a money spinning
machine go based simply on the refusal of the franchise’s star returning for a
fourth helping.
So with the departure of Matt Damon, and Bourne director Peter Greengrass, Universal had to come
up with something new. A
Bond-style reincarnation seemed out of the question so enter original Bourne Identity screenwriter Tony Gilroy to bring Robert Ludlum’s Bourne back, albeit in
a new guise. Suffice to say that,
while the ingredients are the same, this is a different flavour of Bourne than
we’ve seen before.

 

Set
around the time of The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Legacy sees the CIA having
to close down a similar super solider programme to the one Jason Bourne was
part of. Except these deep cover
operatives are chemically dependent to give them that cutting edge in the
field. The good news is it means
CIA spook Eric Bryer (Edward Norton)
simply needs to give these agents a new drug and they’ll blindly obey orders
and swallow poison, hence cleaning up the mess. But one operative, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), is on a training exercise and survives the attempts
on his life. On the run, and
needing his meds to survive, he tracks down Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a target herself, to
help him find the drugs to keep him alive. So off they jet on a globe trotting adventure with all sorts
of sinister looking assassins hot on their heels.

 

From
the opening moments of The Bourne Legacy, in which Jeremy Renner is battling
wolves a la Liam Neeson in The Grey, you sense that this adventure
is dispelling with some of the more down and dirty antics of the original
films. Legacy is more comic book
in its inspiration as opposed to grounded reality. It might seem like a bad thing but it becomes clear that,
while the execution has shifted, the tone is the same. Gone is the shaky camera action of
Greengrass, with Gilroy shooting affairs in a style that offers more flair and,
perhaps more importantly, a better insight into everything that’s happening in
the set pieces.

 

The
action is still snappy, kinetic and exhilarating in its brutality. Watching Cross dispense villainous CIA
operatives in a run-down house using all manner of McIyver like trickery is a
delight. But this is not to say
the action has moved away from that of the original trilogy. Indeed the climatic chase through the
streets of Manila feels a little too familiar to Bourne’s chase across the
rooftops of Morocco.

 

But
the key difference here is Renner’s casting. No stranger to action fair having appeared in the likes of The Hurt Locker, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and of course Avengers Assemble, his CV certainly
reads better than Matt Damon’s did when he took on the role of Bourne. Renner imbues Aaron Cross with a more
humane outlook than Bourne. He’s
less clinical and hostile at the world.
There is warmth to Renner that Damon only ever showed in the fleetingly
quiet moments as Bourne. If
anything he’s more appealing from the outset. Yes we came to love Jason Bourne but it took a while to do
so. Renner on the other hand is
likable early doors; an early interaction with Oscar Isaac’s testy operative allows him to try and form a bond
with his potential adversary where Bourne would have probably snapped his neck
and asked questions later. Rachel
Weisz meanwhile is asked to do little more than spout science mumbo-jumbo, none
of which makes much sense, and look terrified as Renner runs, jumps, guns and
punches his way to her aid. Only
in the very final scene is any hint of romance suggested between the pair
which, when it comes, you feel slightly cheated out of what could have
otherwise been. Special mention
should also go to Edward Norton who is on wonderfully snide form, with his
greying hair and cutting way of barking orders to his subordinates, he’s a
typical Bourne villain; always looking to cover his own back and happy to watch
others fall by the wayside if it means him staying clean.

 

If
The Bourne Legacy does suffer from anything it’s the crippling desire to try
and launch a new franchise. So
anxious is Gilroy to set-up a bigger story to carry over into the next
potential films that he neglects to instil any concrete story or genuine
character development here.
So for all the excitement and hard-hitting action the climax leaves you
hanging. Not wanting more but
asking; now what? As such The
Bourne Legacy is essentially a two-hour plus chase movie.

 

Proof that you can carry on a franchise without the title character, The
Bourne Legacy is a fun action movie that would be so much more if it weren’t
for a muddled narrative that never quite allows you full access to the world
the characters inhabit. With any
luck the inevitable sequel will see Jason Bourne and Aaron Cross team up to
take on all the evildoers of the US secret service.

 


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com