Josh Wilding Reviews: THE BOURNE LEGACY

The Bourne Legacy? Well, The Bourne Disappointment seems far more appropriate in this instance! Hit the jump for my spoiler-free take on writer and director Tony Gilroy's spin-off of the franchise starring Marvel's The Avengers' Jeremy Renner.

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By Josh Wilding - 8/14/2012

"It's just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It's terrible. It's really embarrassing," said Matt Damon on Tony Gilroy's initial screenplay for The Bourne Ultimatum not too long ago. It turns out that his analysis of the writer was pretty spot on if The Bourne Legacy is anything to go by. Regardless of whether you judge this film on its own merits or endlessly compare it to what has come before (it's impossible not too seeing as it goes to such great effort to link itself to the original Bourne trilogy) there's no getting around the fact that it's a major disappointment. Imagine if you will, Casino Royale without James Bond. How about 24 without Jack Bauer? This is Bourne with Jason Bourne, and it ends up being exactly what you might expect; a watered down and ineffective continuation of a fantastic trilogy.

Running parallel to the events of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, the story boils down to being little more than shady government types deciding to take out their agents on the off chance that they're uncovered as a result of the furore with Jason Bourne. It's a weak premise, and the more you think about it, the less sense it will make. Throw in a frankly ridiculous storyline about "Chems" which enhance agents like Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) and it steadily becomes more and more unconvincing as the two hour runtime drags on. At one point, a super-enhanced agent hunting down Cross actually sniffs his jacket and takes off in pursuit of him. It's laughable. What follows is long-winded and unimpressive chase sequence which admittedly has it's moments, but they're few and far between. With only one real major set piece in The Bourne Legacy, it's a shame that it fails to leave a lasting impression. Even the fight sequences scattered throughout all pale in comparison to what has come before. It's not that they're bad as such, they just lack any real sense of excitement or danger.

A scene in which Cross battles a wolf actually proves to be better than all of the man-on-wolf action which was featured in The Grey, and it is Jeremy Renner who actually saves the film from complete mediocrity. He's thoroughly convincing as the agent on the run and has a great handle on action. Performances in the likes of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol have already shown that he's leading man material, but he's given little here to work with and deserves a much better franchise of his own than this. Edward Norton (Eric Byer) is completely wasted as he does little more than stand around, and despite a flashback adding some context to his and Cross' relationship, it never pays off. Is he the villain of the piece? Sort of, but not a particularly well-defined one! Rachel Weisz (Dr. Marta Shearing) is ok, but a mostly unimpressive presence on screen, meaning that her character adds little to the film despite playing a major role in the storyline. There's really no else worth even mentioning.

The main problem with The Bourne Legacy is that it's just dull. The film consists of little more than people standing around talking. When they're not doing that, they're just sitting down doing it. While this wouldn't usually be a problem (take a look at Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for example), the fact that the story is so uninteresting and one dimensional makes it hard to care about anything ANYONE says. Not even throwing in a bunch of Jason Bourne Easter Eggs - the majority of which have already been revealed in the trailer - can help. In fact, all they do is serve as a reminder that this isn't truly a Bourne movie. It's hard to believe that Tony Gilroy had a role in writing the last three films as his work here is so inferior. As a director, he clearly isn't cut out for action, and lacks all of the style and finesse that Paul Greengrass brought to the previous two films. James Newton Howard's score is good, although the decision to end the film with a version of "Extreme Ways" is another baffling throwback.

Despite the impressive screen presence of Jeremy Renner, Aaron Cross isn't anywhere near as interesting a protagonist as Jason Bourne. The Bourne Legacy wouldn't be worth watching even if it wasn't a shameless cash-grab on an acclaimed trilogy.








The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: The Bourne Legacy. The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. For The Bourne Legacy, Renner joins fellow series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles.


STARRING:

Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross
Rachel Weisz as Stephanie Snyder
Edward Norton as Byer
Joan Allen as Pam Landy
David Strathairn as Noah Vosen
Albert Finney as Dr. Albert Hirsch
Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer

RELEASE DATE: August 3rd 10th, 2012


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Rinzler11 - 8/14/2012, 1:10 PM
I honestly don't understand all the hate. I thought it was the best bourne film to date, to be honest
IDKwhatToChoose - 8/14/2012, 1:11 PM
Shouldn't have made it without Damon
Blitzed - 8/14/2012, 1:12 PM
Im pretty sure Damon wasnt talking about The Bourne Legacy script, in fact he just said in a resent interview that he never read it. I believe he was referring to the orignial script for Ultimatum before the re-writes.
RorMachine - 8/14/2012, 1:12 PM
I thought the trailer looked decent, but I also feared the worst. Ah well, I'm not disappointed because I was against movie being made in the first place.
Blitzed - 8/14/2012, 1:13 PM
Yeah, it was Ultimatum

http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2011/12/matt-damon-calls-tony-gilroys-bourne-ult.php
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 8/14/2012, 1:16 PM
^ "Well you got one now" - Dredd
Pendaghast - 8/14/2012, 1:18 PM
i thought it was good, you cannot compare it to bourne because he is not bourne he is Alex cross. @ blitzed i believe your right! why would matt damon be reading a script for a different character in the bourne timeline? why would he have turned it down when its impossible for him to be alex cross??
Pendaghast - 8/14/2012, 1:19 PM
aaron cross
WarNoodle - 8/14/2012, 1:19 PM
bad review!! THIS WAS A GREAT MOVIE!! The suspense was great!
Bread - 8/14/2012, 1:24 PM
I'm only going to see the movie because i wanna pretend that renner is Hawkeye throughout the action scenes. I'm not much of a Bourne fan
CaptainAmerica1945 - 8/14/2012, 1:27 PM
"The main problem with The Bourne Legacy is that it's just dull"

Exactly!

It was just like the other Bourne movies but lacking plot, direction and excitement!
CaptainObvious - 8/14/2012, 1:29 PM
The only scene I liked in this movie was the massacre at the lab.
Ceejay - 8/14/2012, 1:31 PM
Rubbish review, the movie was outstanding, a true intellectual espionage thriller and not some run of the mill dumb action film with a loose cohesive plot most idiots wanted it to become. The legacy of the project that gave us Bourne is clearly defined in this movie, Treadstone, Blackbriar, Outcome and now LARX. It's true to its title and delivers an excellent first step into the contingency fallout after the Bourne Ultimatum leaving plenty of avenues for Bourne's return at the same time.

Ignore the reviews, watch the movie for yourself and make your own opinion. Leave your preconceptions at home unlike the many stupid bad reviews trying their best to make comical light of the senseless same points about Jason not being in the film. They need to look up the meaning of the word LEGACY and stop taking shit out of context.
Pendaghast - 8/14/2012, 1:41 PM
i would rather watch legacy than tdkr any day of the week
Maximus101 - 8/14/2012, 1:44 PM
@steverogers don't start or war will break out on here.

I still would like to see this movie but I didn't expect it to be anywhere close to as good as the other ones.
Spock - 8/14/2012, 1:44 PM
I thought it was pretty decent. Looking forward to see Expendable 2. Anyone see Stars Get Stripes w/TErry Crews? lol
PopcornMode - 8/14/2012, 1:46 PM
Some people will like it, some people will not. Accept that and stop attacking the reviewer. I didn't like the movie, but that doesn't make my opinion invalid. I can't stop comparing it with the previous ones because they keep on referencing and inserting footage from it. I found the narration and editing sloppy. If this is the "legacy" Jason Bourne made, then I wish they would make a better one next time. Go watch it and see for yourselves. For now, reserve your judgment.
Hawkeyefan - 8/14/2012, 1:48 PM
I saw Bourne Legacy three times. I thought it was the best one. Jeremy Renner was awesome and the cast members were great. The action was intense. I thought is was cool. I thought the other bourne movies were okay but not great. The Bourne Legacy I thought was a way better film. Bring on Bourne 5 with Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross and Matt Damon as Jason Bourne to team up and take down Edward Norton's character.

TheGothamKnight1939 - 8/14/2012, 1:49 PM
Expendables 2 gets 4/5 ye this gets 2/5. Why do I not trust Josh's reviews?
steverogersbro - 8/14/2012, 1:49 PM
you REALLY need to get a life @steverogersson
Giznad - 8/14/2012, 1:53 PM
this reviewer is not qualified. Sorry. Just my opinion.
NerdyGeek - 8/14/2012, 1:59 PM
Wasn't really interested in this flick, so I think I'll skip!
Nick56 - 8/14/2012, 1:59 PM
The Bourne Legacy lacked any real plot, it felt more like an introduction to an other movie or a pilot for a tv series. I would have liked to see more of a "legacy" aspect like Cross tries to continue what Bourne started, that would have been so much better than what we saw.
Gesileheart - 8/14/2012, 2:00 PM
The MOvie is great and it has his own style . Worth watching .the review was unfair . Because this is another film .it has his own story .
MattMercdoc - 8/14/2012, 2:02 PM
Bourne Identity was a good action movie. the second was aweful, and the thirs was OK. it was the most overrated trilogy ever.
timotey - 8/14/2012, 2:07 PM
Loved the movie. Renner and Weisz were both excellent. Definitely getting this one on DVD. I thought it was better than the previous 3 movies.

The plot was easy to follow, the action excellent and nicely spread out throughout the movie and Aaron and Marta were a much more believable pair than Jason and Marie ever had been. From me it gets 9/10 or 4/5.
IIIAdamantiumIII - 8/14/2012, 2:16 PM
i bet norton sucked all the life force out of everyone
Gnyah123 - 8/14/2012, 2:23 PM
matt damon said himself like last year or 2 years ago that he wasnt coming back unless the guy who wrote n directed the first 2 wud come back...i wish they would come back but its to late now with this movie...
This MOVIE NEEDS!! jason Bourne
Highball - 8/14/2012, 2:36 PM
"Finesse" is hardly a word I'd use to describe Paul Greengrass style of moviemaking. The cameras were super shaky and I couldn't tell who the hell was hitting who in the fights. It was too chaotic.
That being said, to some degree, it added to his movie's frenetic pace and energy. I get why he did it, I just think it was too much.
However, if you're talking about his directing the acting and the quality of the story and all, I'll give you that one. The Bourne Identity is still the best one in my opinion.
CoolantTech - 8/14/2012, 2:51 PM
They should make Borne Universe with Matt Damon then, and some other characters (including Aaron Cross) since they cant seem to exceed with newcomer solo flicks.
Cosmic1 - 8/14/2012, 3:01 PM
This is all the reason needed as to why a solo hawkeye flick would fail.
Jollem - 8/14/2012, 3:23 PM
i pretty much agree with this review. i'd give it a 2.5 out of 5 tho
cwatts22 - 8/14/2012, 4:00 PM
I really liked the movie. There was only one major problem with it: it didn't have an ending.
accountnolongerinuse - 8/14/2012, 4:26 PM
So, I'm a little confused here. I know you can't extrapolate an entire movie's premise from television spots, but one I overheard features a line from Renner basically saying, 'I'm going to finish what he started. Burn the Program to the ground.' Wasn't the entire point of the ending of Ultimatum that Bourne had exposed the program and the people involved to the media, thereby taking it down?

Also, echoing the sentiments of Highball. Despite all of Ultimatum's tension, Identity was indeed the best.
Bodwulf - 8/14/2012, 4:42 PM
Was curious since Renner was in the Avengers. Heard Norton's whispering voice in the trailer and was like. Nope ...I'm out.
Waverider - 8/14/2012, 5:43 PM
Not much of a Jeremy Renner fan, this was a fun movie. Best of the Bourne
bfprimetime - 8/14/2012, 5:49 PM
Ok why is it being referred to as the Bourne movie because of the bad reviews,when just this weekend it Hawkeye's movie.
LAXtremest - 8/14/2012, 6:47 PM
Might catch this Sunday if I can squeeze it in. Expendables 2 is Friday for sure though. It's my duty as a man...
MrE - 8/14/2012, 7:04 PM
It was an enjoyable film. Also thought it worked well as an introduction to the Cross character. The movie wrapped up well enough if it didn't make it to sequel and left enough out there if they want to do more in the future. I thought it was good.
Ichaos - 8/14/2012, 8:55 PM
Nice review of a NON COMICBOOK MOVIE. The show Spoilers seem to think it was suck also
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