Sunday, 12 May 2013

'The Bourne Legacy' Film Review

Ever since 'The Bourne Ultimatum' was released, moviegoers have pined for a sequel, only to be disappointed by Matt Damon's exit of the role due to director Paul Greengrass' decision not to make another.

Milking on the success of the franchise, the studio was quick to advance Tony Gilroy, who was the co-screenwriter of the first three movies to director and to create a story in the world of Bourne, just without Bourne himself, in 'The Bourne Legacy'.

Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is an agent of an advanced program called  Operation Outcome, where military soldiers have their genes altered to become stronger, faster, more alert, less emotional etc in order to become better assets for the US defense. 

When Jason Bourne exposes Treadstone and Blackbriar, Col. Eric Byer (Edward Norton) concocts a plan to hide the other operations at hand- by wiping out all the Outcome agents.

Out of Chems (medication to sustain his life), Cross returns to the US, just as a shooting takes place in the Chem labs, belonging to Operation Outcome, with the sole survivor being Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz). As part of the wipe out, agents are sent to kill Marta at her house, who is rescued by Cross. 

Together, they must evade capture and Marta, in exchange for protection, offers to help Cross viral out his dependency on the Chems.

The plot and pace took a while to build up as we relish in the aftermath of the Treadstone/Blackbriar leak interspersed with footage of Aaron Cross' soul-searching journey in Alaska. I did like how the movie opened with Cross underwater, mirroring the ending of The Bourne Ultimatum. I thought that was the most symbolic the film got.

After a lot, and I mean A LOT, of irrelevant location hopping, which only confused the story, not aided it, the pace really started to pick up when the shooting takes place at the chem lab, a gripping a tense scene which reminded me of the kitchen scene in Jurassic Park. From here on, the pace is slick and the action is riveting. 

Although Cross trumps everything they send at him, I really did like the action sequences in Manila, especially the motorcycle scene. I also have to say that there are some really quite gasp-enducing fight moves that are entailled as well as one mighty kick from Rachel Weisz. 

I found it difficult to follow all the jargon and the politics but I think I got the general gist. That aside, it still made for a great action film, but I might need to do a Bourne marathon to fully grasp the situation. 

The climax and the ending was action packed but felt slightly too easy and leaves you disappointed. Oh, that's it? was the initial reaction.

Jeremy Renner- Aaron Cross
Rachel Weisz- Dr. Marta Shearing
Edward Norton- Retired Col. Eric Byer, USAF

Also stars Scott Glen, Stacy Keach and Joan Allen. 

Critically acclaimed Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Avengers, Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol) takes on yet another action role and here he fulfills all the physical requirements- strong action sequences and stylish (he does look good in a leather jacket).

Whilst the movie tries to give him some depth with flashbacks, there isn't enough of it and more emotion could have been written into his character.

Rachel Weisz was hit and miss. I liked her in the tense and serious scenes, but when it came to the action near the end, she kind of broke character and became a bit ditsy. The whole motorbike sequence reminded me of that in 'Knight and Day', bringing more comedic value than anything else.

I'd wish there was more of Joan Allen as she was critical to the events of the last movie and using her to explain and set the scene for this one would've saved the unnecessary and confusing location hopping.

'The Bourne Legacy' makes do with what it was left and manages to place Aaron Cross believably in the Bourne Universe. With reference (though not enough in my opinion) to Jason Bourne every now and then, Aaron Cross never seems to make the connections and his motives never align with Bourne's, even though there are bout after bout of agents hunting them down. You would think the chems would heighten his IQ, wouldn't you?

That said, the movie is packed full of action and some slick sequences, but clouded with jargon tries to give more depth, but ultimately just loses you.

Despite mixed reviews, the commercial success of Legacy has led to a confirmation of a Bourne 5 currently in 'active development'. Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are rumoured to be interested in the project (what? where was this a few years ago!) and if so, will bring Jason Bourne back. But what happens to Aaron Cross? 

It is unthinkable that the two would become lifelong allies, but also irresponsible to ignore Cross. Do they kill him off early in Bourne 5? Will they offer him a cameo? Are we expected to believe the ending of Legacy will be the end for Cross and Shearing? 

Whatever happens, I surely hope they respect the plot of Legacy and integrate that into Bourne 5 so that it does feel like 'one' Bourne universe and that they don't stupidly write off Aaron Cross- maybe he goes into hiding and comes back at a critical moment, or he is referenced throughout the movie at the very least. 

Expect official news of a Bourne sequel by the end of this year.

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