I’ll start with a brief, super-belated review of The Bourne Legacy. It’s well-made and mostly enjoyable. The action is well done and the disorienting shaky-cam that plagues the other moves is toned down much to my satisfaction. Jeremy Renner does a decent job as Aaron Cross, a Jason Bourne-like member of a similar program to Treadstone, called “Outcome”. Cross is quick on his feet and charming to an almost sociopathic degree, which is more what I would expect a member of such programs to behave, but he lacks the wonderment and moral conscience that makes Jason Bourne human, and therefore relatable. It’s easier to project ourselves onto Cross’ female companion Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz). She’s involved in the Outcome program, but largely oblivious to what it is, and simply gets caught in the crossfire along with Cross (OH–his name suddenly makes sense) when the government decides to shut down Outcome after Bourne exposes Treadstone in the previous film. The whole “wrong place/wrong time” element works well for a movie character because we’ve all been there in reality and can potentially make us really care about what’s happening on screen. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to truly care about Shearing as she’s played off merely as a damsel in distress, which is a jarring juxtaposition to the strong, latent heroes the female characters of the Bourne films have become famous for.
The biggest issue with The Bourne Legacy is that it’s largely unnecessary. It doesn’t so much move the series forward as it does sideways. The story focuses on how completely different characters operating a completely different program belonging to a completely different government organization react to the events of The Bourne Ultimatum. Occasionally, we see glimpses of what becomes of certain characters from the other films, but all in all, The Bourne Legacy begs the question “so what?” It’s like making a sequel to Top Gun and having it be about the family of one of the enemy pilots shot down at the end of the first movie. There’s also the noticeable absence of the elements of discovery and thirsting for answers that drive the first three Bourne films. Each previous Bourne movie peels off yet another layer of Treadstone and Jason Bourne comes closer to discovering who he truly is, but in this film, everyone already pretty much knows where they stand and there are no more secrets to uncover. While being on the run from an organization who considers you merely being alive as a liability is a really interesting premise, it isn’t explored deeply enough in this film to serve any real purpose. Cross and later Shearing know exactly why they’re being hunted and never end up uncovering crucial information that reveals some dark, incriminating secret about Outcome like you would expect. This forces their motivations to simply be self-preservation, which is enough to sustain a film per se, but not an interesting or engaging film by any means. The whole thing plays out like a clunkier version of The Terminator where Shearing is a more helpless Sarah Connor and Cross is Kyle Reese if he were mostly void of humanity.
Also, nobody is being chased by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I give The Bourne Legacy 3/5.
Okay, now onto some updates. It’s that time of year again where I collect my books and go back to school. Or steal my daddy’s cue and make a living out of playing pool … wait, where was I going with this? As the lecture halls and library beckon, that means there will be a few changes to Frepow Films in the coming months. I’ll still be releasing reviews on Wednesday, but they’ll be shorter and more compact like the one you see above. I’ll also be doing reviews every other Wednesday instead of once a week. If I find I can handle the workload, I’ll move it back to every Wednesday. In the meantime, please keep an eye on the blog for updates. As the year goes on, who knows where things will go and I’m more than open to experimenting with new content and even bringing on guest writers or another blogger to do a bi-weekly column or help out with reviews. It will be an interesting year.
I’ve also recently made @FrepowFilms my sole Twitter handle and will be updating it much more frequently now, so follow me if you want to stay in the loop!
That’s all for now and I’ll be returning around the beginning of September with my review of The Expendables 2!