Written by: Tony Gilroy
Cinematography by: Robert Elswit
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
When I heard there was going to be a sequel to the brilliantly entertaining Ultimatum I was thrilled. Then I discovered that Matt Damon (the heart and soul behind the franchise) and Bourne himself would not be the focal point of the story. From that moment on there was an uncomfortable inkling that this would be a hopeless disaster. And what a hopeless disaster it was.Humanity has a few distinguishing features that seem to stand out. One of which is not knowing when to stop a good thing. The latest example of this characteristic flaw is the fourth installment of the once great Bourne franchise – The Bourne Legacy. Why could they not simply leave Bourne to be remembered as one of the great trilogies of our time, a milestone in filmmaking and in particular the action genre? They (the producers/studio executives/ Tony Gilroy) had to milk the cash cow one more time – only to produce a tall glass of sour milk that will unfortunately bring in millions and leave them feeling justified.
For starters Jeremy Renner doesn’t carry the same charm as Matt Damon. How can you not admire the innocent and sincere looking Damon? He is in a class of his own when it comes to performances (I’m thinking of Oceans 11 and 13 in particular). Renner definitely is tougher and more rugged but who cares? Bourne could charm you with his smile and break your neck with his hands all before you could blink twice.
However the biggest flaw in Legacy was the painfully simple yet deceptively cryptic plot-line. For the first 45 minutes (of 2 hours) I couldn’t work out what was going on – which had me intrigued. However as we waded through more and more code words and CIA departments the plot-line began to clear up. Aaron Cross (Renner) is a super soldier that needs an incomprehensible combination of childish pills in order to….who knows, keep from imploding? The whole film can be summed up in this line: Aaron Cross is a junkie in search of his fix whilst running from the government who wants him dead. Once I had worked this out my heart dropped at it’s lack of ambition. Where were the government programs of Identity and Ultimatum? Where was the intrigue, the mystery? There was none – it was that simple. They had strung me along with code names but once that murky cloud had cleared up, there was nothing more to see.
Finally for an action film there was very little action. I can think of two scenes in particular which hinted at the classic action that Jason Bourne found himself in but a part from that there was a lot of car driving, running around and conversation that went nowhere.
Overall the Bourne Legacy was a complete disappointment. Yes it had the same ‘Bourne-esque’ look as the previous three which is one thing that I did enjoy but there wasn’t the class or finesse that we’d come to appreciate. Oh for that classic train station scene in Ultimatum where Bourne guides the reporter step by step, or the Moscow car at the end of Supremacy or the embassy scene in Identity that really established Bourne as a trained killer. The magic was completely missing in Legacy. Tony Gilroy who wrote the screenplays for the first three films took the role of director and writer for Legacy. It would have been perhaps better if he had called it a day after Ultimatum and left the legacy of Jason Bourne live on unscathed.
Entertainment Rating 5/10
Quality Rating 6/10