Monday, August 20, 2012

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
An agent must try to survive when his program is shut down.

As the events of the previous Bourne movies unfold, Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn) calls upon the help of Eric Byer (Edward Norton) to help keep the research garnered from Treadstone a secret. A result of this is to destroy everything connected with Treadstone and including all agents involved with Treadstone's sister project, Operation Outcome.

Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is one such agent, and narrowly avoids being killed  on a snowy Alaskan mountain. After finding himself low on life-saving drugs he then decides to hunt down those responsible.

At the time of Robert Ludlum's death in 2001, he had written a trilogy featuring Jason Bourne which ended with an element of finality. The right to continue the books was passed on to Eric van Lustbader who gave Jason Bourne a new lease of life.

The original Bourne trilogy was converted to the big screen to great critical acclaim by Doug Liman for Identity and Paul Greengrass for Supremacy and Ultimatum. They too ended with a sense of finality.

When the announcement of a fourth film was made I wasn't too surprised. Van Lustbader was very clever in reincorporating David Webb back into his Jason Bourne persona. Even when learning that Matt Damon wasn't returning to reprise his role as Bourne, I wasn't too concerned for the future of the Bourne franchise; the first three films didn't really follow the books so maybe this new direction could add more depth to the existing storyline.

Legacy (directed by Tony Gilroy, screenwriter of the original trilogy), is very much two different films. First there is Jeremy Renner as the man in the field, and then there is Edward Norton as the man behind the tie. It begins by piggybacking off the successful scenes in its predecessors (overusing them far too much in the trailers) before getting on with the film.

It is as though Gilroy wasn't sure that he was up to emulating the success of the original trilogy. We hear Renner jabbering on and on about his miracle 'chems' (enhancement pills), even using the word more than 10 times in a single minute, while Norton shuffles paperwork around to the background of Supremacy.

Eventually, as Renner leaves his snowy paradise the film gathers the momentum that we became accustomed to in Ultimatum. The political web becomes as complex as we remember, and Rachel Weisz offers the beauty of Bourne's unwilling assistant that is typical of the Bourne films. Gilroy finally realises that he could be onto a little gem that could be great.

And then it ends. Right after the most exciting scene within the entire film, it just stops. We are left none-the-wiser as to the 'bigger picture' that Legacy offers, and the tip of the iceberg turned out to be far more interesting than the rest of it under the waves.

There are moments of inspiration, but just don't expect Bourne. Literally.


4 comments:

  1. Some critic for Time magazine said it essentially had no coherent plot and that halfway in it like switches villains. I'm not sure how right that is.

    I hated the last two Bourne movies. Once they killed the girlfriend from the first one it just became Bourne running around kung-fu fighting and getting in car chases while people in the command center shouted at each other. Boring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be honest I'm not really sure who the villain was. That's similar to the other Bourne films, really. There was a lot of running around, running from the Government etc.

      The first three were good though - even if Mythbusters proved that putting a magazine in a toaster and releasing gas would probably not explode an apartment quick enough).

      Delete
  2. I plan on seeing this (on DVD), just because it has Jeremy Renner in it. I never did get around to reading the Robert Ludlum books, but I was pleasantly surprised by all three movie adaptations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Empire also rated this film 2 stars but I figured, what do they know? Turns out they weren't far wrong.

      I watched it mostly for completion of the franchise (so I can push out the Bourne franchise post on Wednesday :D ).

      Delete