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Movie Review: 'The Bourne Legacy'

The Bourne Legacy

Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
Directed by Tony Gilroy
Rated PG-13

So you have a successful movie franchise and your two sequels get better and more profitable than the original that spawned them.  Then your star (Matt Damon) and director (Paul Greengrass) say “thanks for the memories, we had fun but we are peacing out bitches”.  What do you do?  Do you just let it ride off into the sunset as a hugely successful trilogy, giving each other hi-fives for a job well done?  C’mon son, this is Hollywood, where nothing ever really dies.  Here’s what you do: you get the next best thing, the writer of all 3 previous Bourne Movies (Tony Gilroy) and you get him to write a new film that is part of the Bourne universe but is its own separate entity.  And since he knows the territory, get him to direct as well.  Sounds easy enough right?

Ahh, but who do you get to star in it?  Matt Damon left some pretty big shoes to fill.  Wait a minute; get that dude from The Hurt Locker and The Town (Jeremy Renner).  He’s a great actor and he can handle himself quite capably in action scenes.  My God, everything is coming up Millhouse right now.  This movie is going to be so awesome…well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

But that’s exactly what Tony Gilroy and company did with The Bourne Legacy, the old cart before the horse if you will.  A movie that is filled with interesting ideas but since everyone from the Universal Pictures on down automatically assumed Legacy would be a huge hit they decided to throw a bunch of ideas ball in the air and who cares about catching any of them, we’ll worry about that in the sequels…big mistake.

Legacy attempts to tie in the previous Bourne films (mostly Bourne Ultimatum) into its story, but it really serves no purpose, but wait, look at me, I’m getting ahead of myself.  As the fallout from Treadstone and Blackbriar start to take hold, the reaction of clandestine government types is to kill all projects that bear a striking resemblance.  Eric Byer (Edward Norton) is one of these guys and he wants operation Outcome and all agents involved wiped out.  Aaron Cross (Renner) is an Outcome agent and he escapes certain death and he comes looking for….meds.  Not answers as to why he was targeted to be erased, but for meds.  You see, if he doesn’t get his med, which increase strength and intellectual capacity, he’ll turn into jello (not literally obviously)

Aaron tracks down Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a scientist who works at the lab that supplies the Outcome agents with their meds.  She too escapes death and after Aaron finds her, they go on a cross country trip to score…meds.  I apologize for being a little too simplistic with my description of the plot, but that’s what it really boils down.  Don’t worry, Byer and his team track them down and the action kicks up a notch or two but it all seems so pointless. 

But that’s not to say that The Bourne Legacy is a poorly made film, it’s just a hugely frustrating one.  Individual scenes work well and the acting across the board is quite good but in the end The Bourne Legacy doesn’t really care about character development/motivations or making the action of Byer and his team seem important.  It just lays there and whatever happens, they’ll get it cleaned up in future films….cart before the horse.

As I stated before, the movie tries really hard to tie in Jason Bourne and the events that started to unfold in Ultimatum.  But it forces into the movie, as if to make sure you know, “hey guys this is part of the Bourne universe, please don’t forget that”.   Message received in spades guys, thanks. 

In the end, I didn’t hate The Bourne Legacy and I wasn’t bored by it.  I just kept asking myself ‘Why are they doing this?"  Guess I’ll just have to wait for the sequel… that should clear everything up.

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