Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on August 10, 2012
Directed by Tony Gilroy
Written by Tony Gilroy and Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Albert Finney, Stacy Keach, Oscar Isaac, Scott Glenn, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Zeljko Ivanek, Dennis Boutsikaris, Donna Murphy, Corey Johnson
I’m a full-on fan of the Bourne franchise, and when I’d first heard that a fourth Jason Bourne action thriller was in the works—one that would not include Matt Damon as Bourne—I told myself I wasn’t going anywhere near it, since Damon completely owned that role, and in my eyes could not be replaced. Later, when I discovered Jeremy Renner was cast in the lead as someone other than Bourne, my interest was suddenly piqued: would this continuation of the series be done right, or would the filmmakers find a way to completely foul it up?
Well, I’m happy to say that writer-director Tony Gilroy grabbed the reins and did it right; he took the existing characters and plot and forged a new but relevant path, which revealed a deeper layer to the previous Treadstone and Blackbriar situations and introduced Aaron Cross, a field operative working for a follow-up government program called Outcome, who create super agents through cell mutation. Renner, as Cross, discovers he’s become expendable, and spends the majority of the film on the run, searching for answers to these genetic modifications while doing his best to stay alive.
I had a blast with this one, and I loved how its story integrated so well with the others; in fact, the beginning of The Bourne Legacy actually overlapped with events that concluded The Bourne Ultimatum, and throughout Legacy there were references—revealed in documents and photographs—to Damon’s character and storyline that created a nice kinship between the four films. I was glad to see that Renner’s take on the character made him not only likeable, but one you could identify with, and his relationship with geneticist Rachel Weisz was one of necessity, and wasn’t encumbered with romance until the end, which by that point I didn’t mind.
And though some have complained that Legacy wasn’t as thrill-a-minute or expansive as the prior installments, I’d say it did just fine on both counts, and served not only as a ‘bridge’ to a future Damon-Greengrass collaboration, but delivered the goods respectably on its own, and proved it would do well as its own series. No, it doesn’t top The Bourne Identity for what I consider espionage film perfection, but I’d say it ranks right up there with the rest of the trilogy, and is one that, like the three, I could watch again and again. (9/10)