REVIEW: The Bourne Legacy

The original Jason Bourne trilogy starring Matt Damon had become a re-interpretation of action-spy films, perhaps even giving the James Bond series a run for their money, and after how well The Bourne Ultimatum was received, the icing had become the icing on the cake as it could not have gone much higher. Well, it would be pretty difficult to do so, at least. However, the fourth instalmentThe Bourne Legacy had other plans due to Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass’s absences and a new hero, similar to Jason Bourne, was going to be introduced. The film had a lot to show for it if it was to even come close to its predecessors. Nevertheless, The Bourne Legacy is what one would describe as “trapped” purely because it is does not grasp a firm link to the Bourne series but at the same time, it isn’t too far apart from it either.

Although Paul Greengrass not returning to director had become a real let-off on behalf of the latest fourth instalment in the Bourne franchise, Tony Gilroy, who had previously worked on the screenplays of the predecessors, returned to that role but also became the replacement to direct. Gilroy’s directorial work on The Bourne Legacy was almost everything that it should not have been. For starters, it had an agonizing painful slow beginning and, therefore, took a very long time to get going. This caused a great deal of confusion as you become lost with these new characters and questions if they even relate to the previous ones. Furthermore, considering that some of the action scenes were intense and well-filmed (but not quite on the same level as Greengrass), The Bourne Legacy gradually ran out of steam all-round.

Making a Jason Bourne film without Jason Bourne is like a James Bond film without James Bond, a Harry Potter film without Harry Potter and an Indiana Jones film without Indiana Jones. Matt Damon, who had portrayed Bourne absolutely marvellously in a rather mixed bag of acting, unfortunately did not reprise the role in The Bourne Legacy seeing as Paul Greengrass did not return as director. Instead, we have been given a new protagonist that became Bourne’s replacement. Jeremy Renner portrayed leading hero Aaron Cross/Kenneth James Kitsom in a role that does not in any way come close to Damon’s performance as Bourne and is more or less a trapped figure between a mindless action hero and a mysterious, dark, highly-developed character with a past. With what was granted to him following the poor development of the character, Renner did not perform too badly in the role. He may have looked good in action but it was Cross’s background story and lack of connection to Bourne that became the most crucial weak spot within the entire film. In fact, there is not even a valid explanation of why Cross is running from CIA in the first place and why he ended up in Alaska.

Rachel Weisz betrays her husband – current James Bond actor Daniel Craig, as she stars in the female leading role within a Bourne film. Previously, Matt Damon and Franke Potente had created a firm romantic connection and witnessing Weisz and Renner together on the big screen was quite literally remaking it all again. In fact, regarding this,The Bourne Legacy was a remake to The Bourne Identity. Anyway, Rachel Weisz has proved herself to be one of the most gifted but underrated actresses of this generation and due to the poor script, she miraculously gave an impressive performance as Dr. Marta Shearing. With this character, unlike Aaron Cross, we are given an insight to different levels of humanity and complexity, which at times, adds certain concepts of psychology due to the emotional damage caused. Her performance was easily the best in the film. Edward Norton took on the role of the supposed antagonist Byer, a retired Air Force colonel working for the CIA, and Albert Finney, David Strathairn and Joan Allen reprised their roles from previous Bourne films in what are closer to cameos as opposed to supporting roles.

Overall, The Bourne Legacy is truly a mixed bag that had initially become a bad idea due to the absences of what made the series great (Damon and Greengrass) and, thus, proved that it is just does not connect. The acting was acceptable considering the large differences with the characters and story, Gilroy wrote a very disappointing script but did a satisfactory job in the director’s seat. The Bourne Legacy is not the third sequel that we were hoping for and it does not in any way reboot the series but it is roughly a spin-off of the previous trilogy. If there is anything that we have learned from The Bourne Legacy, it is that films within a franchise, or are supposedly part of one, cannot work properly without the most crucial pieces that hold it all together: primary characters and on-going stories.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 23/08/2012.

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