Thursday, 9 August 2012


The Bourne Legacy [Review]

Opinion: B-

Bearing much to deliver without Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon, Director-Writer Tony Gilroy deviates away from its same-titled novel material and creates a parallel tale along the previous Bourne film by Greengrass. While devising an adequately thrilling action finale chapter towards the end, the story generates muddling results in attempt to align new material with existing ones. Audience members who're not familiar with The Bourne Ultimatum may find the film challenging to digest.

The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: The Bourne Legacy. The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films.

For The Bourne Legacy, Renner joins fellow series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles.

Gilroy has been involved in the Bourne series since the first film under the screenplay team. Supposedly one who should be thoroughly well-versed with the covert operative's story, it is a pity to witness this film suffer from a lacklustre endeavour at a gripping storyarc.

The Bourne Legacy is not a prequel, a sequel, nor a remake. Instead, it's a parallel film that is plotted taking place along Greengrass' The Bourne Ultimatum. Without Matt Damon back as Jason Bourne, Gilroy understands the need to propel the production forward with a new character commission. The result sees Aaron Cross, a new covert operative of "Operation Outcome" with the DNAs of Jason Bourne.

Bearing almost little or no relation to Jason Bourne, the screenplay however tries to bind itself by force with the third film hoping to light up the slightest trace of connection to justify its sequelship to The Bourne Ultimatum. With "Treadstone", "Blackbriar", and now "Outcome", the plot complexity heightens with several more layers of espionage technicalities.

Cross, played through the vehicle of Jeremy Renner, is pretty much all of Jason Bourne and a little more. He scales snow-capped mountain ranges, confronts a ferocous wolf, and takes down a tactical UAV. Cross is so much larger, yet diminishing due to the lack of a credible backstory and plot plausibility.

Cross is introduced to the audience through his demeanour mostly, with glimpses of his past through flashback scenes that may or may not substantiate his role as Special Agent Cross. While Renner's performance is debatable (with much of Cross portrayed through Renner's physical acting), the cast performance of new supporting characters with the likes of Colonel Eric Byer (Edward Norton) and Dr Martha Shearing (Rachel Weisz) works.

While being blessed with thinly-scripted roles, Norton and Weisz both expanded possibilities and depth within their roles through their stellar performance. There are a number of scenes that are driven by Norton and Weisz respectively that drew the audience in with influential acts (cue: Norton in one of his initial staff meetings and Weisz in crisis mode).

What may reward one's patience after wading through all the plot interweaval of perplex covert screenplay, is an action-packed finale that sends Renner and Weisz scrambling through Manila. Not a typical city location choice, it's an interesting change to allow the better chapter of the film to develop within the heart of the capital of The Phillipines.

With six other Bourne novels written by Eric Van Lustbader after series creator Robert Ludlum's demise, you can be assured that the Bourne series will persevere on. Gilroy has reportedly shared that it is still possible that Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass may return for subsequent Bourne productions.

1 comment:

  1. Terrific, thoughtful review. I want to see this, but I am thinking I may go the Netflix route as it does not seem worth the $10 admission. I like the entire cast, which what has piqued my interest, plus I'm a fan of the Bourne films.


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