“The Bourne Legacy,” the reboot/spin-off of the original “Bourne Trilogy,” is directed by Tony Gilroy, screenwriter of the original three films, and stars Academy Award Nominee Jeremy Renner (“The Town,” “The Hurt Locker”), Rachel Weisz, and Edward Norton. The story centers around Aaron Cross (Renner), a man who is a part of the same program as Jason Bourne was in the previous trilogy, and his quest to travel to Thailand to find a pill that increases his strength. That is basically the entire plot.
I will say this about the Bourne films: I love all three of the original trilogy. Matt Damon created such a likable character in Jason Bourne and the action pieces were astounding and jaw dropping, so much so that many action films have been trying to copy them for about a decade. When I heard they were making another Bourne film, but without Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon, I was skeptical. Then I learned that Damon and Greengrass read the script and hated it, refusing to have anything to do with it. Then I heard about Jeremy Renner and Edward Norton being a part of the project, and I got excited. So, basically, I went into this film with mixed expectations, and what I recieved was mixed as well. This film, in a nutshell, is nothing more than an average spy flick that isn’t anything like I was anticipating.
I love Jeremy Renner as an actor. I think he was magnificent in “The Hurt Locker” and “The Town,” and I really liked him in “Marvel’s The Avengers,” and he was, unsurprisingly, very good here. He gave a convincing performance as Aaron Cross, but ultimately, I found myself forgetting his name throughout this film, and even though he acts his heart out, he offers nothing new or as invigorating as Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne was. Rachel Weisz gave a good performance as well, and Edward Norton, as usual, knocked it out of the park, but really, the performances just didn’t win this film over for me.
First of all, I will say that this is not a Bourne movie. Do not go into this film expecting an action packed thrill ride that will fuel your adrenaline like the previous trilogy did. This movie is over two hours long, and literally only ten or fifteen minutes of this film is action, leaving the rest of the run time to be filled with dialogue, while sometimes good, mostly uninteresting. This film, if compared to the original, will come to you as pure boring. I personally didn’t find it boring, just aggravating. This is one of the most mis-marketed films I have ever seen (especially regarding a bait & switch scene in the trailer that is completely altered to show one character talking to another character, in which the circumstance is entirely different from the actual scene in the final film). This film is also an enormous cash grab. They use the “Bourne” name in the title, but Bourne plays virtually no role in this film, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing he isn’t in the film, but I am saying they should really have not called this film “The ‘Bourne’ Legacy.” One of the most mis-marketed cash grabs I have ever seen.
That being said, there are a few positives of this film, and one of them is the action, when it is there. Mostly all of it appears at the end, and even though it is pretty much useless, it is still a bit exhilarating. Another positive is a scene that is toward the end of the first act of the film and with no spoilers I will say it involves a man and a lab. That scene was one of the most intense scenes I have seen on screen in a while and it literally left me on the edge of my seat.
Overall, “The Bourne Legacy” could be considered a good, solid, B film if it stood on its own; however, it doesn’t. Though it has a few great action scenes, it happens to feature the name “Bourne” in the title, and because of that it left me expecting a large, blockbuster, action packed thrill ride, but left me with a stale, uninteresting, and aggravating letdown.
Run Time: 125 mins
Rated: PG-13 for violence and action sequences