The Bourne Legacy took the top spot this past weekend, leaving The Dark Knight Rises in
second third place. Major Spoilers had a chance to check the movie out, and you can read the full review, after the jump.
The Bourne Legacy
Director: Tony Gilroy
Writers: Tony Gilroy and Dan Gilroy
Jeremy Renner- Aaron Cross
Rachel Weisz- Dr Sheering
Ed Norton- Col. Byer
Stacy Keach- Adm. Turso
Albert Finney- Dr Hirsch
Previously in Bourne: Jason Bourne was found floating in the Mediterranean, bullets in his back, and no memories in his head. Over the course of three movies he discovered he was a super spy/assassin, and part of a Manchurian Candidate type programme called Outcome/Treadstone/Black Briar, which he proceeded to war against. And it has become clear that Bourne was never alone…
This movie opens with the same shot Identity opened with, and Ultimatum closed with: a guy floating. Only this is not Jason Bourne. It’s Aaron Cross, but he still finds himself caught up in a similar plot involving shadowy government agencies, their secret projects, and the medications involved. In fact, his story is actually running concurrent with the events of Bourne’s Supremacy and Ultimatum, which is somewhere between cool and confusing.
Jeremy Renner does a good job of not being Matt Damon. He is more personable and chatty than Bourne, and that is the point. Bourne’s story was one of searching for his identity, and then seeking revenge. Cross’ is more about survival. The cast is rounded out with some new faces, joined by a few returning ones. Rachael Weis is the only person who can help Cross get the ”chems” he desires. She starts off a strong, smart doctor of complicated sciencey stuff, but ultimatly ends up a screaming damsel on the back of a bike. She is wicked pretty though, so it’s okay. Ed Norton, who I really do not care for in 80% of his movies, manages not to ruin this film. That said he doesn’t have much to do, other than bark orders while surrounded by screens.
IT’S A SLOW BOURNE-R
The previous movies had a solid story, with inventive action set-pieces punctuated throughout. This movie, however, falls down somewhat on both counts. Firstly, over an hour passes before Cross punches anyone in the face. Secondly, the story initially tries to create mystery by not telling you the context of what’s happening, but this instead creates mild confusion and annoyance. And when the story does come in to focus, there is actually no complexity to it at all. While it is kinda cool that this movie is happening, in part, while Jason Bourne is off Bourning around Europe, the constant reminders of his shenanigans just serves to remind you that there are better movies happening elsewhere at the same time.
This movie is written and directed by Tony Gilroy, who wrote all the previous movies in the series. And that, I feel, is the problem. Here, as happened with the terrible Blade: Trinity, the writer of the franchise has taken over the director’s chair. And, like Blade, he is following in the footsteps of far better directors. Gilroy tries to emulate the kinetic styles of Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass, but lacking their skill it is just irritating. On more than one occasion I found myself wishing he would just hold the damn camera still. He controls the camera like a writer would control the camera, particularly in the too few action scenes. The chase scene through Manila, which is the main action sequence in the movie, and is mostly pretty good, has too many moments where it is hard to follow the action because the camera is simply not pointed in the right direction, or is too out of focus.
So…This has the feel of a movie they wanted to make, but never really considered if they should. Renner does quite well, and the movies failings are not necessarily his fault. Most everything else about it is worse than the previous movies: plot; intrigue; direction; action. However, while the movie is not terribly good, it’s not so bad that it ruins the real Bourne movies. You might enjoy it, but you might also be better served going for a pint with your friends and recalling your favorite bits from the first three.