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Review: The Bourne Legacy

Aug. 9, 2012by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Running parallel to the events of THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, the agents of a Treadstone shadow program called Outcome- which uses drugs to enhance physical strength and intelligence in it's operatives, find themselves hunted down by the minions of government agent Eric Byer (Edward Norton). One such agent, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) narrowly escapes assassination, and goes on the run with a scientist (Rachel Weisz) working for the program, who's also been targeted.

REVIEW: The dreaded ďrebootĒ word doesn't really belong in any description of THE BOURNE LEGACY. This is a clear-cut sequel- although it just so happens not to feature the titular character, Jason Bourne, as played by the iconic Matt Damon. The fact that the first half of the film coincides with the events of ULTIMATUM (with a few quick scenes being reused or re-staged) kinda makes this a "side-quel" (as people have started calling it), but it's actually not a bad way at all to keep the series going. Series players Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn and David Strathairn all show up for what essentially amount to cameos, giving the films a sense of continuity.

The biggest question mark going into this was how a BOURNE film would come across without Damon, and while he's certainly missed (although his Treadstone mugshot pops up now and then), Jeremy Renner is a perfectly acceptable substitute.

The best thing about LEGACY is that director/writer Tony Gilroy (who had a hand in the screenplays for each of the previous installments) avoids making Renner's Aaron Cross too much of a Bourne-clone. The early scenes clearly establish Cross as being a significantly different sort of guy then Bourne. While Damon played up the emotional toil and loneliness of the character, Cross- who doesn't have any amnesia to muck things up, seems far more content with his lot in life. Early scenes, which show him interacting with another agent (played by the ultra-charismatic Oscar Isaac- who's gone too soon) show him to be more talkative, and even playful. This carries over to his relationship with Weisz, with them having a really nice scene where he expresses astonishment at the fact that, despite having been her patient for four years, she doesn't even know his name- but only his patient ID number. Weisz, for her part, mostly fulfills the same kind of part Franka Potente did in the first film, but she's still quite good, and her chemistry with Renner is perfect.

My favourite thing about Cross is that his dependance on drugs to keep him going physically and mentally allow him a little vulnerability- with even some shades of ďFlowers for AlgernonĒ working their way into the story later on. But- vulnerable as he is, he's no slouch in the action department. While the first half of the film is rather light on action, there are enough hand-to-hand scraps, chases, and gunfights sprinkled in to keep action fans happy. An extended foot-motorcycle chase in Manilla, while perhaps slightly too remincent of the ULTIMATUM-Tangiers chase, is particularly exciting.

For his part, Gilroy avoids aping Paul Greengrass' style too much. There's an absence of shaky cam, and the fights aren't shot too close, meaning we can actually make out the hand-to-hand scraps. But- at the same time, Greengrass' absence means no jaw-dropping sequences such as the one in ULTIMATUM where the camera follows Damon as he jumps through a window. Greengrass was also followed out the door by franchise composer John Powell, although James Newton Howard contributes a score that closely matches Powell's style- and is very effective in it's own right. Still, the film doesn't suffer too much from the absence of Greengrass (lest we forget it was Doug Liman's first film that got the ball rolling), even if Gilroy's script (co-written with his brother Dan) doesn't veer too much from the formula of the rogue agent being hunted by the government, although there's no conspiracy to unravel this time.

However, it's obvious that Universal is hedging their bets here- both leaving the door open for a possible return to the franchise for Damon, or a continuation with Renner. Edward Norton, as the man guy orchestrating the hunt for Renner, is unique in that he doesn't play the role as a ďbad guyĒ, with his sole scene with Renner (in flashback) giving him a bit about ďgovernment sin eatersĒ that attempts to justify his cold-blooded actions. ďWhat we do is morally reprehensible and absolutely necessaryĒ, he tells Renner in the same scene. It's unique shading to a guy that could have been two-dimensional, and I'm sure there are enough mysteries in his world to be explored in at least one more go-round with Renner.

My only real beef with THE BOURNE LEGACY is that it ends very abruptly. I was a bit surprised once Moby's 'Extreme Ways' kicked in on the soundtrack to signal the film's end, but glancing at my watch, I realized that I'd been sitting in the theatre for well over two hours (it runs 135 minutes- considerably longer than the others). Still, wanting more isn't such a bad problem to have and while I'd like to see Damon come back at some point, I'd be fine with seeing more of Renner- who's proving himself to be an ace leading man in his own right.

Source: JoBlo.com

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2:34AM on 08/14/2012

Mr Bumbray...

you really are starting to make me wonder about you. This is no 8/10 movie. At best it's a 6/10. There are much better ways to tell a parallel story. With a run-time of 135 minutes this movie will bore you for at least 100 minutes. Scenes where some CIA shadow group sifts through piles of data is unnecessary and boring. 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' did it much better, and that was slow paced as well. The major problem with this movie is the marketing, which portrays this movie as a worthy Bourne
you really are starting to make me wonder about you. This is no 8/10 movie. At best it's a 6/10. There are much better ways to tell a parallel story. With a run-time of 135 minutes this movie will bore you for at least 100 minutes. Scenes where some CIA shadow group sifts through piles of data is unnecessary and boring. 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' did it much better, and that was slow paced as well. The major problem with this movie is the marketing, which portrays this movie as a worthy Bourne successor, with fast paced fight scenes and the same love triangle of romance, suspense and action, but what you dont know is that all the trailers show you 3 out of the 4 action sequences in the film. And the climax is a complete waste of what could have been an awesome character. I am really wondering about you Mr. Bumbray, you were a shining beacon of cinema reviewing integrity but as of late not so much. I'll just chalk it up to our difference of opinion (except where a certain Nolan film is concerned, i call bullshit on that review). Maybe you need to sit back and re-watch these movies. I hope this does make enough at the B.O. to inspire a sequel worthy of the Bourne name, but it just as well die a quiet death with this one if this is what we have to look forward to.
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6:53PM on 08/13/2012

Couldn't disagree more

I really hated this movie. I'm no die-hard Bourne movie fan, but I liked Supremacy and especially Ultimatum quite a bit. I felt lost and aggravated for most of the runtime and felt the plot was very difficult to discern, since I still don't really understand the how's or why's.
I really hated this movie. I'm no die-hard Bourne movie fan, but I liked Supremacy and especially Ultimatum quite a bit. I felt lost and aggravated for most of the runtime and felt the plot was very difficult to discern, since I still don't really understand the how's or why's.
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8:55AM on 08/12/2012
I liked it well enough, but it took a long time to get going (I wasn't really engaged until we got to Marta's house). It's also disappointing that no movie can just conclude on its own anymore. Everything is left open for a sequel, and in this case, nothing was really resolved. Oh well, Hollywood isn't going to change anytime soon. That said, some of the action was pretty good.
I liked it well enough, but it took a long time to get going (I wasn't really engaged until we got to Marta's house). It's also disappointing that no movie can just conclude on its own anymore. Everything is left open for a sequel, and in this case, nothing was really resolved. Oh well, Hollywood isn't going to change anytime soon. That said, some of the action was pretty good.
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1:22AM on 08/12/2012

A weak effort.

Hell no. There's no way in hell I would give this movie an 8/10. It's at best a 6/10, but I'd lean far closer to 5/10... maybe even 4/10. Jeremy Renner was awesome, but this film as a whole was a big stinker. Literally nothing happens or resolves in it. It's just a sequence of events in a much grander story that we're apparently not privy to in a 2 hour run-time. Very disappointing.
Hell no. There's no way in hell I would give this movie an 8/10. It's at best a 6/10, but I'd lean far closer to 5/10... maybe even 4/10. Jeremy Renner was awesome, but this film as a whole was a big stinker. Literally nothing happens or resolves in it. It's just a sequence of events in a much grander story that we're apparently not privy to in a 2 hour run-time. Very disappointing.
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10:47PM on 08/11/2012
6/10
Somewhat entertaining, but took way too long to get interesting, and when it finally does, BOOM it's over. Also did not like how it took a crap on the ending of Ultimatum. Renner and Norton are great in this, but they deserve a bettter than this. And the score... was just awful. John Powell's score was one of the memorable aspects of the original Bourne trilogy, but the new guy made this film sound like generic, direct-to-DVD fare. I guess Damon's bitching on Gilroy wasn't totally
6/10
Somewhat entertaining, but took way too long to get interesting, and when it finally does, BOOM it's over. Also did not like how it took a crap on the ending of Ultimatum. Renner and Norton are great in this, but they deserve a bettter than this. And the score... was just awful. John Powell's score was one of the memorable aspects of the original Bourne trilogy, but the new guy made this film sound like generic, direct-to-DVD fare. I guess Damon's bitching on Gilroy wasn't totally unfounded.
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5:15PM on 08/11/2012

Dug it!

Enjoyed Bourne Legacy. It ended way too abruptly but overall I had fun! Am hip to more Renner at the helm. A 7 on 10 from me.
Enjoyed Bourne Legacy. It ended way too abruptly but overall I had fun! Am hip to more Renner at the helm. A 7 on 10 from me.
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8:18PM on 08/09/2012
Was this the same reviewer who gave Amazing Spider-man a high review? I thought it was weaker than the previous films, and I have a feeling I'll feel the same way with this Bourne film.
Was this the same reviewer who gave Amazing Spider-man a high review? I thought it was weaker than the previous films, and I have a feeling I'll feel the same way with this Bourne film.
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10:14PM on 08/09/2012
agreed and agreed man! ASM was a big disappointment and this one looks pretty 'meh' at this point, I'll be waiting til blu-ray. Not sure if Bumbray gave ASM a good score or not, but I've disagreed with him more than a few times now. Still, interesting to see different takes even if they aren't the most trustworthy.
agreed and agreed man! ASM was a big disappointment and this one looks pretty 'meh' at this point, I'll be waiting til blu-ray. Not sure if Bumbray gave ASM a good score or not, but I've disagreed with him more than a few times now. Still, interesting to see different takes even if they aren't the most trustworthy.
+3
1:41PM on 08/09/2012
So Damon's comments a while back about the script being an absolute abomination were unfounded?
So Damon's comments a while back about the script being an absolute abomination were unfounded?
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4:27PM on 08/09/2012
the script is nowhere near the level of any of the movies in the Trilogy according to most.
the script is nowhere near the level of any of the movies in the Trilogy according to most.
6:54PM on 08/13/2012
I would say this script is overly complicated and very unclear
I would say this script is overly complicated and very unclear
10:13AM on 08/09/2012
great review!
looking forward to seeing the motorcycle chase scene in Manila with one L
great review!
looking forward to seeing the motorcycle chase scene in Manila with one L
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+0
9:55AM on 08/09/2012

In Bumbray I Trust

I was seeing some bad reviews but leave it to Mr. Bumbray to get me excited all over again. NOT THAT WAY YOU PERVERTS!
I was seeing some bad reviews but leave it to Mr. Bumbray to get me excited all over again. NOT THAT WAY YOU PERVERTS!
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9:08AM on 08/09/2012
First it was Treadstone. Then it was Blackbriar. Now it's Outcome?

Christ, PICK A NAME AND STICK WITH IT, you shadowy pricks.
First it was Treadstone. Then it was Blackbriar. Now it's Outcome?

Christ, PICK A NAME AND STICK WITH IT, you shadowy pricks.
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9:14AM on 08/09/2012
A plot point in this film is that there are actually several parallel programs running, and that Bourne's escapades have put the different programs in jeopardy, thus necessitating their "burning to the ground". I think the deal with "Outcome" are the drugs that enhance mental and physical capability. There's another program mentioned in the film called LARX, where the guys who come out of it are practically Terminators because of how efficient and emotionless they are, and one of these LARX
A plot point in this film is that there are actually several parallel programs running, and that Bourne's escapades have put the different programs in jeopardy, thus necessitating their "burning to the ground". I think the deal with "Outcome" are the drugs that enhance mental and physical capability. There's another program mentioned in the film called LARX, where the guys who come out of it are practically Terminators because of how efficient and emotionless they are, and one of these LARX guys is sent to chase down Cross.
9:45AM on 08/10/2012
Yes, I know this. I just find it silly that the CIA has half a dozen different covert assassination programmes and they have to use one assassination programme to wipe out another assassination programme because one or the other wasn't good enough at training merciless assassins or keeping the programme secret enough from the CIA. Repeatedly. For four movies in a row.
Yes, I know this. I just find it silly that the CIA has half a dozen different covert assassination programmes and they have to use one assassination programme to wipe out another assassination programme because one or the other wasn't good enough at training merciless assassins or keeping the programme secret enough from the CIA. Repeatedly. For four movies in a row.
8:21AM on 08/09/2012
Good to hear good things about this. The trailers had me pretty convinced anyway.

Think they'll have the chutzpah to leave out "Bourne" out of the title in the next one? Even though Bourne is mentioned throughout this installment it's still kind of silly. They should've taken a chance and dubbed it The Cross Identity.

So next time around if it turns out they made a clone and Renner has to duke it out with him:
The Cross Double!
Good to hear good things about this. The trailers had me pretty convinced anyway.

Think they'll have the chutzpah to leave out "Bourne" out of the title in the next one? Even though Bourne is mentioned throughout this installment it's still kind of silly. They should've taken a chance and dubbed it The Cross Identity.

So next time around if it turns out they made a clone and Renner has to duke it out with him:
The Cross Double!
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7:55AM on 08/09/2012
Thanks Chris, looking forward to it.
Thanks Chris, looking forward to it.
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-28
6:52AM on 08/09/2012

No, No, it is not an 8/10.

Get the fuck out. It's garbage. Absolute banal, shallow, lobotomized bullshit. Yes, I've seen it. And I love the trilogy. And that's how it'll stay, a perfect trilogy that does not have a desperate "fourth" chapter in an already perfect story. 3/10 for me.
Get the fuck out. It's garbage. Absolute banal, shallow, lobotomized bullshit. Yes, I've seen it. And I love the trilogy. And that's how it'll stay, a perfect trilogy that does not have a desperate "fourth" chapter in an already perfect story. 3/10 for me.
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4:24AM on 08/09/2012
Im definitely a fan of the bourne movie and i wanna see how this one turns out..

About sidequel, i heard Joss Whedon say it at it Comic. ''its not a sequel or prequel, it is playing in the same time, so its an EQUAL
Im definitely a fan of the bourne movie and i wanna see how this one turns out..

About sidequel, i heard Joss Whedon say it at it Comic. ''its not a sequel or prequel, it is playing in the same time, so its an EQUAL
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4:24AM on 08/09/2012
Im definitely a fan of the bourne movie and i wanna see how this one turns out..

About sidequel, i heard Joss Whedon say it at it Comic. ''its not a sequel or prequel, it is playing in the same time, so its an EQUAL
Im definitely a fan of the bourne movie and i wanna see how this one turns out..

About sidequel, i heard Joss Whedon say it at it Comic. ''its not a sequel or prequel, it is playing in the same time, so its an EQUAL
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4:11AM on 08/09/2012
8/10 cool. So glad they kept the Moby's Extreme Ways song in it. Fuck I love hearing that song after a Bourne flick. "Oh Baby" lol
8/10 cool. So glad they kept the Moby's Extreme Ways song in it. Fuck I love hearing that song after a Bourne flick. "Oh Baby" lol
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3:45AM on 08/09/2012
I do like that they at least mention Bourne so thats what has me intrigued on seeing ther film. I mean it's clearly obvious the Bourne character will return in future installments & him & Cross will team up against Treadstone. Let's hope this version make enough dough to warrent that type of movie in the future. Great review on recommending it. Not too many comparisons this time to the other movies.
I do like that they at least mention Bourne so thats what has me intrigued on seeing ther film. I mean it's clearly obvious the Bourne character will return in future installments & him & Cross will team up against Treadstone. Let's hope this version make enough dough to warrent that type of movie in the future. Great review on recommending it. Not too many comparisons this time to the other movies.
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2:31AM on 08/09/2012
I gave the film the same rating. I expected it to be half-decent, but it exceeded those expectations and ended up being very enjoyable. The thing was that it never felt ridiculous even if some bits (particularly the super soldier angle) did stretch credibility a little bit, but it also never felt bogged down and in spite of its running time was taut and brisk. A good film, and a team-up with Bourne and Cross down the line would certainly be welcome.
I gave the film the same rating. I expected it to be half-decent, but it exceeded those expectations and ended up being very enjoyable. The thing was that it never felt ridiculous even if some bits (particularly the super soldier angle) did stretch credibility a little bit, but it also never felt bogged down and in spite of its running time was taut and brisk. A good film, and a team-up with Bourne and Cross down the line would certainly be welcome.
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2:29AM on 08/09/2012
8/10? Not bad.
8/10? Not bad.
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+4
1:27AM on 08/09/2012

please refrain from spoilers next time, or at least warn

as for the movie, I only wanted to see it for the action and I hear there isn't much of it. Absolutely love The Bourne Trilogy but this one, it's character and it's story just don't look very interesting. I'll wait til blu.
as for the movie, I only wanted to see it for the action and I hear there isn't much of it. Absolutely love The Bourne Trilogy but this one, it's character and it's story just don't look very interesting. I'll wait til blu.
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1:19AM on 08/09/2012

we watch the same movie?

Yeah, I'm an action fan and this movie did not satisfy that need. I agree with you about the ending and how abruptly it ended, but man I was ready to fall asleep midway through and I was sort of happy to see it end, even if it made no sense.
Yeah, I'm an action fan and this movie did not satisfy that need. I agree with you about the ending and how abruptly it ended, but man I was ready to fall asleep midway through and I was sort of happy to see it end, even if it made no sense.
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