In a similar manner to the fourth Bourne novel originally penned by Robert Ludlum and passed to Eric Van Lustbader, this fourth entry into the Bourne movies also passes the torch from Matt Damon to Jeremy Renner. “The Bourne Legacy” follows Aaron Cross, another highly gifted and trained assassin forged by the CIA, as he dodges bad guys sent to eliminate him as a result of Jason Bourne’s actions from the previous three movies. Though the title of the movie implies Cross will continue to bring the fight to the CIA as Bourne did this movie has less to do with carrying on his predecessor’s work and more to do with carrying on Matt Damon’s work of making money from a successful action franchise. Though I hate to measure this movie against the previous three it’s difficult not to look at “The Bourne Legacy” and see that it is vastly inferior.
One of the most glaring and disappointing aspects of this movie is the plot, or lack thereof. In previous movies there was usually a somewhat gripping conspiracy and it moved along at a very nice clip. At the very least it felt like there was something on the line to help build suspense and tension. “Legacy” takes a good 45 of its 135 minute running time to get moving and once it does it becomes a glorified trip to CVS for a prescription. That’s it. There’s no search for the truth and there’s no sense of vengeance. Aaron Cross needs medicine so he can stay smarter and faster than other people.
Jason Bourne was typically a man of few words but what he said usually mattered and had meaning. Any of the spies trained like Bourne in these movies were all killing machines with very little, if any, personality. The extreme methods used to shape them into what they became left almost all of them devoid of any sense of self. Aaron Cross just came off as some dude to me. Much of what he said did not carry any weight with me and I didn’t buy him as one of the elite agents from earlier movies. He makes some chit chat and is occasionally humorous. I understand he’s from a different and probably more refined program than Treadstone and Blackbriar but that doesn’t mean I have to like him. Even his motivations for going after his medicine aren’t enough for me to invest myself in his character because he probably won’t die if he doesn’t get what he needs. Basically I have a character I don’t particularly like or believe as an elite spy and there is not even a survival aspect to help me relate or ground this character.
Though “The Bourne Legacy” is disappointing in terms of story and character in true Bourne film style the action is very impressive. The action scenes are a bit sparse for my tastes but when they’re there, they pack a nice punch. Aaron Cross beats down baddies with fists of fury worthy of Jason Bourne himself. He’s smart and likes to use environments to his advantage. Critics of the Bourne series and most action movies of late often dislike the quick cuts and shaky camera work because it hides the action too much. I never thought the previous three movies were too obnoxious with this style but “Legacy” does tone it down a lot. I love seeing the action clearly as much as the next guy but I always thought the shaky camera worked for Bourne. It always added a level of frantic tension to a car chase or fist fight that a crisp, choreographed sequence lacked. I’m not trying to take anything away from the action in “Legacy”, but at times it felt a bit staged.
Overall, I was not crazy about “The Bourne Legacy.” It takes too long to get going and once it does nothing of major consequence happens. Edward Norton and his CIA cronies don’t really move things along behind the scenes and Rachel Weisz spends most of the movie panicking. Aside from a few cool action sequences, this movie is fairly boring. In fact, I actually dozed off a couple of times. The entire movie felt like a prelude to the the inevitable “Bourne Betrayal” if they keep using the book titles. If you are a die hard Bourne fan maybe check this out but “The Bourne Legacy” is really nothing that can’t wait until you can rent it.
for how this movie was so bourning!
tl;dr – A few cool action sequences aside, “The Bourne Legacy” was boring and not really worth watching.