Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Bourne Legacy (2012) Review

Today, I decided to kill some time with a new movie based off an existing franchise. I checked out The Bourne Legacy (2012) starring Jeremy Renner and directed by Tony Gilroy.

The Bourne Legacy (2012) is a side-quel that takes place, chronologically, at the same time as The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). Jeremy Renner plays Aaron Cross, a field agent with a lot of the same skills as Jason Bourne, but he's been enchanced through chemical pharmaceuticals that he must take on a regular basis to maintain his high degree of intelligence and physical prowess. When the project is scrapped during the chase for Jason Bourne, the other agents in Cross's "Outcome" project start getting eliminated one by one. Cross finds a way to avoid getting killed but needs to track down more of the pills that give him the skills he requires to stay alive. This leads him to Dr. Shearing, played by Rachel Weisz. Dr. Shearing is one of the people Cross has seen during his routine examinations while part of the "Outcome" project. The two are then targeted for elimination with Cross keeping Shearing alive while Shearing tries to find a way to get Cross the pills he needs. 

Yeah. That's the plot. Gone is the haunted young Jason Bourne trying to piece his life back together after losing everything that was important to him, including his very identity. No, what we get is a guy who knows exactly where he came from and actually prefers the life of a super secret, juiced hitman. The only motivation Cross has for continuing with the project is the fact that, before the enhancements, he was dumb. Like, country dumb. Like, failed the IQ test to get into the Army kind of dumb. They let him in anyway and earmarked him for the project. So, in point of fact, they took advantage of a young man who didn't even have the smarts to know what he was getting himself into. When they're done making him chemically dependent as well as making him a skilled assassin....he does everything he can to stay that way!

It's like someone looked at the existing Bourne franchise and said "You know all these great elements that really click and work with these films? Let's not only ditch them all, let's do the exact opposite". 

So, Jason Bourne is still on the loose during the film. Matt Damon's picture is flashed a few times. More than a few of the characters from Ultimatum find a way to make an appearance on the screen. It's like director/writer Tony Gilroy wanted to make sure nobody forgot that this movie is tied to those movies. 

This is another example of a movie who's concept could be decent with some tweaks and could be turned into a standalone action film. Probably not a great one, but maybe an ok one. Instead, they try to squeeze as many bucks as they can out of a franchise who's main director and lead actor left the project. Paul Greengrass, who directed Bournes Supremacy and Utlimatum said, after he departed, had he stuck around to do Bourne 4, he would have called it the Bourne Redundancy. Matt Damon has gone on record numerous times saying he wouldn't do another Bourne movie without Greengrass at the helm. Instead, we have to suffer this dreadful movie.

Jeremy Renner is one of the up and coming stars in Hollywood right now. Somebody probably should have told him that when he took this role. They also might have wanted to tell him this film could have launched a whole new franchise with him as the star. I'm sure you can guess by now, but I thought he was pretty bad in this. He just seems to walk through most of this film. He never captured my attention and there was nothing special about his performance. I'm not saying he's the only reason this movie doesn't work. Far from it. But if someone handed me an established and beloved franchise and said "Here, we're giving this to with it", I'd have acted my ass off. He didn't. Rachel Weisz isn't bad and does a better job than Renner, but I'm willing to bet they aren't going to base the franchise around her...

Don't even get me started about the ending to this movie. You'll actually start to wonder if you're being punished for something you did in a previous life.

Poorly written, poorly acted and poorly directed, this movie has almost nothing going for it. Give this one a miss.

1.5 out of 5 stars
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Reviewed by The Bitter Critic on Jan 03 2013
Rating: 1.5

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