on 28 December 2013
This is not meant to be an extension to the Matt Damon franchise and doesn't try to be. It is very good in it's own right and has to be viewed as a stand-alone, parallel story that uses references to the on-going Bourne saga to place it in context. Very well paced and filled with detail, it should more than satisfy any follower of the 'Bourne' trilogy and makes a worthwhile addition to the series, adding a little more meat to the hard-crunched bones of the main story. It probably deserves a sequel all of its' own....
on 23 January 2013
I had hopes for Legacy, as Renner's a good actor and a change of performer isn't always the be-all and end-all of a series (look at Bond). On watching it, I'm happy to say that not only is it rich in atmosphere and a familiar sense of never quite knowing who might betray who, but also full of punchy, thrilling action sequences. Renner makes a conflicted, multi-layered hero. At times he seems likeable, at others verging on amoral and bitter. It makes for fun viewing. Weisz's scientist is enjoyable and she gets some great scenes, her chemistry with Renner working pretty well. Norton is good but feels a little wasted as he largely just fills the same role as Chris Cooper did in the Bourne Identity - ie: "Where is he? Get him!"
The integration of Legacy with Ultimatum's timeline (many of the third Bourne movie's events happen in the background or are referred to in TV news reports) enriches the new film and makes it feel part of the same world.
The Blu-Ray quality is very good as well, with the snowy scenes crisp and stark, and the sound excellent.
As a director, Gilroy is terrific, and many of the hand to hand fight scenes carry the same breathless intoxication of speed and heart-in-mouth shock of those in 'The Bourne Identity' - there's no doubt Renner and his director can cope with action.
If the film has any flaws, it's that the new bad guys are thinly sketched, the film is a blatant set-up for a new franchise, and essentially it has no plot beyond "Get him!" - a fact that is so well hidden by the well-paced action that it only really struck me as the credits started to roll and I had a moment of "What...that's it? Where's the big scheme or nefarious plan???"
Nevertheless, it's a great opener for a series that now carries refreshed potential.
on 25 October 2012
The Bourne Legacy is a continuation of the Robert Ludlum inspired spy series but without Matt Damon's amnesiac assassin as its focal point. To many it will feel pointless and just a cash in on the excellent original trilogy. While Tony Gilroy's fourth chapter never feels particularly vital, it's certainly not the cynical cash and grab we might've feared. For one thing it has the always excellent Jeremy Renner, capably inheriting Damon's mantle as another secret agent who finds himself at odds with his shadowy superiors. Introduced as a full bearded mountain man on a training outing in Alaska, Renner's Aaron Cross soon proves himself to be a force to be reckoned with whether dealing with freezing water, snarling wolves or an automated drone plane. He's also no slouch on a motorbike, a climactic chase through the streets of Manila giving second unit director Dan Bradley (a Bourne veteran) another chance to run riot in a teeming urban environment. This thrilling set piece isn't the only Bourne signifier. Like Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass before him, Gilroy gritty camera shaking action comes in the field with testy scenes at Espionage HQ. Here with Ed Norton and Stacy Keach as government suits battling to contain the "infection" that Jason Bourne's exploits have let loose. Fleeting cameos from Scott Glenn, David Strathairn and Albert Finney further assist the movie's aim to be a logical extension of a pre-established universe. The result is it's surprisingly easy to see Legacy as a parallel adventure, allied to yet not reliant on what's gone before, but the niggle is that some of this intrusion of Jason's outing feels a little shoe horned in. For all Renner's swagger and physical dexterity, his hounded hero simply isn't as compelling a protagonist as Damon's Jason. Robbed of his memory and sense of self, Jason's quest to uncover his nature gave the original trilogy an almost existential element as Bourne strived to reconcile the man he was with who he hoped to be. Aaron's problem is more pedestrian, a chemical dependency on the meds that make him quicker, stronger and brainier. Teaming up with Rachel Weisz's lab technician, Renner effectively conveys sweaty desperation as he races to get the pills on which his life depends. Yet because he's essentially a junkie after a fix, he's a hard man to warm to in a film that, without a human connection, feels noticeably cold to the touch. This is still a first rate thriller, but it's not in the same class as the original Bourne's. Although assured if not inspired, Legacy does keeps the Bourne engine ticking over without reaching top gear. The action's accomplished and Renner's fine. Without Matt Damon, however,it feels a little un-needed. Fingers crossed that in the future Renner and Damon team up.
See if you like......
The Bourne Identity.
Quantum Of Solcae.
The Bourne Legacy isn't a remake or reboot or rewhatever of the Bourne movies. It's a continuation of the series with a brand new lead actor and characters. Past events from previous films are mentioned and past characters, appearances from David Straithairn, Albert Finney and Joan Allen as their characters from the movies ensure continuity yet the whole film starts afresh with a new assassin, Aaron Cross played by Jeremy Renner on the run from the same government agency hunting Bourne and they are still hunting him according to the movie it's just you don't see it here on screen. Edward Norton and Rachel Weiss are the new cast members and although good they have both done better as has Jeremy Renner as Cross. It's a slow but tense start which sees Treadstone covering their tracks by killing or silencing anyone that could uncover and reveal their work but the 2nd half of the movie has some good action. There are ways the series could continue, either returning Matt Damon to the series or by carrying on with Jeremy Renner but maybe it's time to give the series a rest. Ok and worth a watch just not as good as the first three films in the series especially the excellent The Bourne Ultimatum.
on 1 February 2014
Jason Bourne, former Treadstone operative got several files on Treadstone and Black Briar and gave it to Pamela Landy who them passed it to the media.
When the men behind Treadstone and Black Briar learn of this, they're concerned how this will affects other ops they have. They decide it's best to shut down all ops and make sure make everyone involved disappear.
They try to take out Aaron Cross who is part of another op called Outcome, but he manages to survive.
He then seeks out Dr. Marta Shearing who treated him. It seems part of the program is for all subjects to take medication but he has no more, which is why he needs her. When someone tries to kill her, he saves her but she tells him he should have stopped taking the meds long ago.
I never had high hopes for this movie. I saw it nothing more than a blatant cash in of a very good trilogy. And I was so right.
It's not Weiszs or remmers fault they are very good (even if Remmer does appear to be too friendly), it's the writers trying to be too clever and place more characters in the movie than needed.
There was one point in the movie where I thought it was going to be a very good thriller, from the scene where the scientist loses it and goes on a killing spree, right up to the point where the two agents were going to kill Weisz at home.
Then Remmer bursts out of a door, and I think the actual credibility of the film left the house with the draft.
Norton must have a new project on the go, because he has to be doing this for the cheque. The secret meetings in the dark rooms from the original movies were thrilling, here its just constipated looking men being worried.
The action never really gets going until the last fifteen, and although its choreographed well, you're too bored to care about what happens.
It's not a great vehicle for Remmer, and in my opinion it's one of the biggest disappointments of summer 2012, even though I had doubts.
Stick with the original trilogy.
on 2 June 2013
***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***
If you have seen the trilogy then there are really no spoilers in this film. The movie picks up where the last one left off, meaning this will be difficult to follow if you are not familiar with the trilogy. Treadstone, a secret CIA assassin operation is being shutdown and all loose ends are being eliminated...meaning anyone who can spell "Treadstone."
The film concentrates on one operative Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) who fakes his death to survive. Now a great flick would have been Jeremy going back and taking out the CIA men who seek to kill him. But they didn't do that...yet. Instead they interject Rachel Weisz as Dr. Marta Shearing to create a bizarre plot only to end nearly the same as the first Bourne film.
In the next film, Rachel will be killed and Aaron will have to go after the assassin and then apologize to the families of people that he has killed... unless they can convince Matt Damon to come back. Hopefully this is just a tie-in film like "Star Wars 2" and not meant to be great.
What we loved about the Bourne series was the "MacGyver" aspect of Matt Damon being able to create something out of just about anything due to his elite training. I didn't get enough of that. I didn't "feel it" like I did during the original trilogy. There were no great lines like, "If you were in your office we would be having this conversation face to face." I was disappointed in this film which can be added to the list of lame blockbusters that has come out this summer, with a few exceptions.
PARENTAL GUIDE: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity.
on 16 December 2012
When I heard Matt Damon was not in the new Bourne film, I was very disappointed, especially when I hadn't heard of the replacement actor Jeremy Renner.
However when I watched the trailer I could see I would love this film as much as the previous three. The plot overlaps with the third Bourne film, the first half of it is actually taking place at the same time and we get clips featuring Pamela Landy etc as new character played by Ed Norton is desperately trying to shut Treadstone down.
Jeremy Renner's new assassin Aaron Cross is a gentler more complex character than Matt Damon's Jason Bourne. Still a trained killer of course but he seems more human and thinking independently. Jason Bourne by comparison, apart from the duration of his relationship with Marie, appeared mostly cold, damaged and acting on autopilot. We don't get much backstory on Aaron Cross yet however he seems more 'together' and doesn't have amnesia.
Don't get me wrong, I thought all 3 previous Bourne films were excellent and loved Matt Damon in them however I think this new film has done something really exciting. There's still scope for Jason Bourne to return after all he's not dead and neither is Julia Stiles' character who could potentially return.
From flashbacks of Aaron Cross with Ed Norton's character, we know there's more backstory that can unravel in future films. The scientific element of manipulating the Treadstone operatives' DNA to make them stronger is done in a believable way and explains why Jason Bourne was not taking the same pills. (He'd been in Goa with Marie for a couple of years so presumably the medical treatment of Treadstone agents came in during his absence). Were Cross and Bourne to get in a fight, one suspects Cross would win.
Some of the script is a bit jargon-y and over your head - however if you've kept pace with stuff like West Wing and Homeland you should keep up with it. At no point did I lose track of what was going on which is surprising as things do move quickly after the slower 'Alaska' phase at the start of the film.
A brilliant film, which like Skyfall paves the way for a new phase in the franchise. Roll on for another film with Jeremy Renner and Ed Norton. The Bourne franchise does not need Matt Damon any more but has cleverly left the door open for him to come back if required - and it's hard to see how the Bond franchise could do THAT!
on 9 September 2012
Okay, so the original Bourne movies ( based on a series of Robert Ludlum thrillers ) followed the amnesiac super-'assassin' Jason Bourne through his attempts to recover his memory and understand how he came to possess a rather interesting skill set (gadget-master; amateur spiderman; martial arts-guru) while simultaneously avoiding the evil clutches of 'bent' US agencies and other similarly skilled bad-guys from Operation Treadstone. The last movie ended as the first one had begun with JB face down in cold water.... alive/dead? - well; if you don't already know, then go and watch one of the best movie franchises to date for the answer.
Nevertheless the premise, that Jason Bourne was not the only one of these agents, was there from the original movie. This is where the Bourne Legacy takes off.
Jeremy Renner plays another agent from Operation Treadstone minding his own business in the icy wastes of North America and getting tooled up to kill and maim; until, that is, that his employers decide that he needs more than just a P45- the operation, and it's agents need to be 'wound up' thanks to Jason Bourne who seems have fallen under the radar of The Guardian (newspaper) - and what follows are a series of "mopping up" scenes reminiscent of The Godfather and Revenge of the Sith- as Treadstoners are sent to 'swim with the fishes'. This is the cue for our man to stand up, and for the mayhem to begin.
What I really enjoyed about the movie was how the thread of the storyline was woven into the fabric of the previous films plot before threading off into it's own original material. Yes this is set firmly in the already well envisaged Bourne Universe with characters from the previous movies (Pamela Landy) still alive and well. (even one of the Dead ones is up and running- albeit briefly!) The pace is superb, with a slow start -which allows for character and plot development - but which cranks up steadily into a truly frenetic climax with action scenes that I thought were purposefully clipped to give the impression of blink-or-you'll-miss-it speed.
The main protagonist Jeremy Renner takes on the lead like he was to the Manor Bourne and shows that Bourne did more for Matt Damon than Matt Damon did for Bourne; and the fine ensemble cast do themselves proud.
The movie also does a fine job of explaining the basis of how the 'Jason Bourne's' of this world get their skills - and the underlying science of it all isn't too badly handled either.
All in all a fantastic movie to watch on the big screen, and as good as any of the Bourne sequels. I really do not know why it has received such a mauling in the UK press (2 stars Empire magazine? Shame on you!) - but audience figures seem to show that the franchise does not need a star who was Bourne in a manger to make it work.
And thanks to Moby for a revamped version of Extreme Ways!
The Bourne Legacy is both a continuation & combination of the Bourne trilogy, in particular, Legacy is taking place as the events from The Bourne Ultimatum rumble on in the background of the film, in the shape of news reports etc.. some of the minor actors/characters from that film, David Strathairn's as Noah Vosen for example, appears here to give it all continuity. So don't go expecting Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) to appear in the flesh, as this time it's very much focused on new characters & they're own story.
So, with Legacy in a nutshell, we have a new protagonist in the shape of Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner -Mission Impossible 4), an ex-solider who is enrolled as a secret operative for the US government & is on a drug trial along with a select few like himself. The drug enhances a person to become more intelligent, healthy & responsive etc... but with the issues from The Bourne Ultimatum , the government can't risk anyone finding out about it's crossover into other projects, so all those involved must be terminated. Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz -The Mummy) escapes the cull of her colleagues, and joins her drug withdrawn patient 5 (Cross) on a traumatic journey of trying to stay alive, as all the while government man Eric Byer (Ed Norton -Fight Club) uses the might of the US government's resources to hunt them down.
Overall The Bourne Legacy fails because it's confusing & the main story is quite frankly uninteresting. In the acting stakes Jeremy Renner & Rachel Weisz put in fine performances for what they had to work with. Renner was solid & assured as the out in the cold, betrayed loyal solider, while Weisz wasn't just here to make the film look pretty, she physically pulled her character off the (dull) pages & onto the screen for us to empathize with. As always, a film of this nature needs a good baddie so you can root for the aggrieved party, however, the promising prospect of Ed Norton being that, went down like damp squib. He wasn't convincing enough in that villain role at all. He kept the same level of performance all the way, never getting angry or overly emotional, just plain & flat, which was a big disappointment from such an acclaimed actor.
With this being a Bourne film, perhaps they can claw things back with the renowned action we expect ? sadly...nope. Although the cinematography was a positive, with some good use of ideas. The scenes early on were decent, in particular the lab & house, but it gradually went down hill when they did even appear. In particular the motorbike chase late on in the film summed this up for me perfectly, it was simply too long & i found myself looking more at my watch then the screen. It felt like they got near the end & thought, "Hmmmm, we haven't had many action scenes. I know!! lets cram in a really long one!!" d-oh!
In conclusion, Renner & Weisz going above the call of duty with an uninspiring script, coupled with a few tense scenes & nice cinematography, ensure this is somewhat watchable. In comparison to the previous Bourne film's it's the weakest link. Worth a watch.
on 16 August 2012
Well I have to say I'm taken aback by the ferocious negativity of the three reviews posted here so far. I thought that Renner and Weisz made a great team and injected fresh vigour into a series that seemed to have run its course. Yes there's too much technobabble, and yes the film sags a little in the middle, as if not sure exactly where it's going, however it is still a vibrant and intelligent spy movie that re-energises the formula and provides further opportunities for the series to live on - provided of course that 'Bourne 5' comes up with an original plot..!