Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
You may like this if you liked: The Bourne Trilogy (2002-2007), Taken 2 (Olivier Megaton, 2012), Unknown (Juame Collet-Serra, 2011)
The Bourne Legacy focuses on Aaron Cross (Renner) who is an agent for the mysterious Outcome operation. This is an operation where using medical science and the frequent taking of certain pills can enhance the human body’s physical and mental abilities. Hang on; was that not in Captain America? Never mind, anyway after the events of The Bourne Ultimatum when information on the Treadstone and Black Briar operations were leaked to the media, those at the top decided to shut it down for good. Outcome is linked to these and so those involved decide to shut this down by changing the medication for its agents which basically kills them. Thankfully Cross was not part of this due to hanging around in a forest in the mountains for some reason sporting a very fetching beard. After someone tries to blow him up, and with his meds running low, Cross decides to return to America to figure out what the bloody hell is going on. Meanwhile, the aforementioned nasty people at the top try to cut all lose ends by having all those that work at the lab associated with Outcome shot, with only one escapee Dr. Marta Sheering (Weisz). When at home, some nasty agents are sent to kill her and then make it look like suicide. Thankfully, she was the one that treated Cross and he turns up looking for meds just in time to save her, kill the nasty agents and then blow up her house for good measure. Now the two of them must get to the bottom of this while avoiding nasty CIA agents and get Cross some new meds, which happen to only be produced in Manilla (naturally). Oh, also Ed Norton is the nasty person in charge of it all who shouts at a lot of people.
So we have Hollywood trying to keep another franchise alive by getting together some generic plot and giving it a title that ties to that franchise. Maybe this time there will be a film produced that not only works as an excellent stand alone thriller, but also compliments the franchise?
This is of course Hollywood, so of course bloody not!
I thoroughly enjoyed The Bourne Trilogy, there was enough style and substance, and a decent character driven narrative along with plenty of action to produce three very fine action thrillers. However, The Bourne Legacy has none of this as it is basically boring pointless crap. In fact, I think my plot synopsis may have made this film sound more interesting than it is. For a 135 minute film my synopsis may have covered two thirds of it. I try to avoid spoilers, but that is hard when first of all there are not any anyway, and the film just suddenly stops. When finally the action and admittedly rather shoddy plot finally get going we suddenly see the credits! It is obvious those involved want another trilogy and are thinking about the sequel already when making this boring soulless rubbish.
As for the plot, for me what made the other three good thrillers is we cared about the protagonist and saw the film from his point of view as we uncovered the truth as he did. Here we are basically following a druggie desperate for his next fix, and his identity is not a secret to him or anyone else. He signed up for this Captain America programme and knew the risks, why should we care about him? As for the protagonist; Renner may physically look the part but for me he just does not cut it as the leading man in an action film. He was excellent in The Hurt Locker but just lacks any likeability, charisma or presence essential for an action flick like this. If we cannot care about the protagonist then automatically the film struggles to work, especially with a wooden script like this that takes itself way too seriously.
I believe I just mentioned the word ‘action’? Well for a 135 minute action film there is surprisingly very little action, the whole narrative is dominated by soulless and humourless exposition dialogue to set up the next desired films and subsequently forgetting that maybe the first film should perhaps have something exciting happen. In terms of plot and dialogue, every ten minutes we are reminded about Jason Bourne and what happened because we are all obviously stupid and keep on forgetting. This film could be at least 30 minutes shorter if this actual plot could develop on its own without constant patronising reminders of what happened in The Bourne Ultimatum. I appreciate that there are of course links to the other film, but there is almost an element of deluded smugness that this film thinks it is a lot cleverer in the way it fits in to The Bourne Ultimatum to solely make money than it actually is.
The Bourne Legacy is a very dull and very pointless ‘action’ thriller that spends all of its time focussing on reminding of us of the last trilogy while trying desperately to set up a new trilogy. This was made solely as a cash cow and treats the audience with a total lack of respect, just watch the original trilogy again and pretend this never happened!