Another weekend ,another movie and this time I’m reviewing none other than the latest additions to the Bourne series, the Bourne Legacy. Now while I am a fan of the original trilogy, I had my doubts that a fourth installment would be able to fit in with its predecessors. However, the action I’ve seen in the trailers for the last few months held some promise that the same adrenaline rushing scenes would be in this movie. So is this Matt Damon lacking sequel worth the hype, or should the series have stayed concluded as was promised years ago? I hope to answer that question below.
I guess the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Bourne series is Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Well aside from a few photo ideas, and a brief shot of his gun, there is little to do with the agent who caused so much chaos. Although his actions are the cause for the plot of this movie, the movie instead focuses on Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) an agent who has been deemed one of the best agents in his project. Although he has been complacent in his training and missions, the head of the department and new villain Eric Byer (Edward Norton) has decided to clean up their mistakes by eliminating the other Bourne agents. Cross however, manages to elude his captors and soon becomes the prey of the organization alongside one of his creators Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz).
Despite what you might be thinking, Cross was a fitting character to enter the series. Like many of his roles, Renner did his homework for this movie and settled into the spy occupation just fine. However, instead of being the elite, stoic, plays by the book agent we saw in Mission Impossible 4 and goes into the rather clever and improvising killer. Renner uses his calm demeanor to ruthlessly execute his victims, which adds a layer of terror and threat to an already dangerous position. The fact that he knows how to deliver his lines with a deep intensity also makes him a little more bad-a$$ than Bourne. Unfortunately the directors decided to also make Cross a drug addict in this movie, so Renner had to practice being a little psychotic dependency as well. Unlike Nicholas Cage’s acid trip in Ghost Rider though, Renner happens to act dependent without going overboard. The dependency just makes his mission more urgent and gives his character a weakness to his otherwise superman persona instead of making him do stupid antics that mimic the entire Project X movie. It’s a good character development skill, but there could have been other weakness Bourne could have had. As for Weisz, well the actress still has her moves down and still looks stunning in just about every scene with her element withstanding hair. Fans of hers will be happy to see her return in full glory; essentially she is a non-British Evie minus the ancient Egyptian weapons.
As for the action of the movie, well there have been some cutbacks in that department. Legacy is a bit slower pace at the beginning focusing on more back story and catch up than actual action. A few shots of Cross’ training are interspersed through an opening dialog of readouts, medications, statistics, and of course how deadly Bourne is. The background information that was missing from the first installments was nice to hear as it explained a lot about the political games involved in this project. Even the science made some sense, though a lot of it was Hollywood magic at its finest, but those who don’t like the biochemistry jargon and techniques will find it boring. Despite the interesting information though, there was no reason editing couldn’t have tightened up the dialog and made some cuts to the two hours and fifteen minute film. You may even find yourself dozing off here or there as you count the minutes until the hunt begins.
However once the prolonged introduction is done and the wheels are set into motion, the pace of the film picks up. Cross’ skills are even more creative than Bourne’s as he uses his superior ingenuity to outsmart his superiors. Those who have seen the trailer may remember the nail trap, but that is just the tip of the iceberg, as Cross has more moves than a DDR dancer. Combine his ingenuity with fast paced kung fu, expert wielding of high powered guns, and a fitting soundtrack to add some depth, and you get some decent action scenes that the world has missed. Perhaps the only thing that could have made the action better was to extend the fight scenes a little longer than they were. What they lacked in fights though they made in chase. Renner and Weisz must have practiced their sprinting techniques for this film since most of the action was involved in navigating streets at top speed. A few of these chases were exciting, most likely due to the use of vehicles and loud instrument music, yet some just felt a little overdramatic or pointless. I guess when you up the skill level of the enemies, i.e. replacing an army of civilian cops with some elite members of the squad, you have to know your limits. Regardless fans are sure to enjoy Cross’s moves and be satisfied with where the series is going.
Bourne Legacy is a decent sequel that helps fill in some gaps while opening new uncertainties. The writing staff has some questions to answer in the next film, which there is sure to be, and also needs to do more with what they introduced in this film. Perhaps then my wishes for action scenes will come true, but until then this is satisfying enough. My scores for this film are the following:
Movie Overall: 7.5
Oh and there is no need to stay after the trailers as well, thought I would save you some time.