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Film Review : Bourne Legacy

Aug 17, 2012 06:38PM ● By Justin Buettner

The newest chapter in the Bourne series picks up where the last one left off, only this time we follow a new agent, Aaron Cross. Cross is a later entry in the same unclassified project that produced Jason Bourne. Only now they are using bio-genetics to improve the agents bodies and minds in addition to finding ways to control their behavior. When the media discovery of Jason Bourne starts revealing the program to the world Eric Byer, the government man in charge of the highly secreative programs, decides to eliminate the programs from existence to keep their work secret. Aaron Cross is able to escape his assassination and save his program doctor, Marta Shearing, before she too is murdered. Together they escape the authorities while trying to get medicine that will save Aaron Cross, whose body is slowly being poisoned by not taking his program medication.

I really liked Bourne Legacy. The pace was solid, the action was good, the story was strong, and I loved the entire cast. That’s not to say the movie didn’t have its share of problems, but in terms of sheer entertainment value I thought Bourne Legacy was every bit as good as Bourne Supremacy. Perhaps the biggest question would be why connect this film to the Bourne series at all aside from trying to capitalize on the brand name? This film clearly was a new origin film of a new character, Aaron Cross. I did appreciate that the filmmakers didn’t have a new actor attempt to play Jason Bourne.

Jeremy Renner was a perfect casting decision for this reboot. I have really liked him after noticing his work in the Hurt Locker and then his notable supporting roles in both Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and The Avengers. Renner is a very likable actor but is quite believable in smart action roles. He has the appearance of a man who thinks which fits this series. Rachel Weisz was also strong in her role as Dr. Marta Shearing and the pair of Renner and Weisz had great chemistry. The supporting cast lead by Edward Norton was quite strong too falling in line with the other Bourne films.

Tony Gilroy, who served as a screenwriter on the previous Bourne films, directed the newest chapter from an original story he also wrote (no longer based on a Robert Ludlum novel like the previous three films). Gilroy staged the action much better than his processor Paul Greengrass. True the action sequences were not plentiful, but when they happened I could follow what happens in this film as opposed to Greengrass’s shaky cam action sequences. What I like about the Bourne franchise is the way the action is on a smaller more intimate scale.  The character of Jason Bourne is a thinking character, so his quick assessment of situations made the films fresh and fun. There is definitely less of that with Aaron Cross although the film does set up a return to more of the thoughtful action sequences in sequels.

The strange thing about Bourne Legacy is that the film felt more like a very good first episode to a high end television series.  When the movie ends it resolves nothing of what it set up. That is fine when the next episode is a week away, but it can be hard for someone to be too excited about a film with no ending to speak of and no sequel confirmed (although I think it would be safe to say that one will be in the works). So instead of walking out of the theater excited I have to admit I was a bit frustrated there wasn’t a cleaner ending offered. I could have settled for even a more direct clue about what Aaron Cross’s next move would be.

This expansion of the universe definitely keeps the Bourne universe alive, but I would recommend dropping the “Bourne” from the title of the next sequel if Matt Damon does not return in the next movie. The groundwork has been set in Bourne Legacy for Aaron Cross to have an action packed next chapter which will hopefully resolve some of its major storylines. Fans of this series will be entertained, frustrated at the ending, but ready to see the next sequel. If you were not a fan of the original trilogy I am not sure there is anything in the new film to change your opinion of the Bourne series.

Films like Bourne Legacy : The original Bourne trilogy, Mission Impossible, and Hanna

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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