Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy

Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Scott Glen

Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences, Running time 136 minutes, Action/Adventure

Compare to: Shooter (2007), Eagle Eye (2008)

As many were excited to find out that another Bourne movie was in the works, many were just as let down to find out that Matt Damon wouldn’t be in any of them. So how can you make a sequel when the main actor isn’t even coming back to reprise his role?Spinoff! I’ll admit I was a little intrigued by the idea of Jeremy Renner getting his own movie; playing second fiddle, so to speak, to Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol out last December and to the Avengers in (duh) The Avengers. So how does this stack up the others? Wouldn’t know, I haven’t seen them. How is it as a film on its own? Boring.

Imagine an action movie with most of the action cut out, and you’ll have an idea of how Legacy feels.

While Jason Bourne may be the most elite fighting machine in the history of the military or science, his effect on the spy world doesn’t end with his absence. Enter Aaron Cross (Renner), whose past isn’t as mysterious but his skills are just as honed. One agent out of many, Cross finds himself on the run with the help of a scientist (Weisz) who is also being chased by a black ops group that doesn’t want their secrets getting out. Their secrets being Cross, of course.

Sometimes it’s difficult to write a synopsis when the movie you’re screen has so much talking in it that a person may start to get bogged down by all the exchanges and details the characters present. Such is the case with Legacy, it was hard to tell what was going on sometimes. Through no fault of the actors mind you, everyone plays their roles well. It’s good to see Renner in a leading role, as mentioned above, seeing that he’s been around for over a decade but is just now seeing what the A-list look like, it seems. When the action does start, Renner is as convincing punching people as they are looking like they’re in pain. He throws people through glass, stomps on them from high surfaces, and twists enough elbows that he does feel dangerous throughout the film. His more extroverted ways are also welcome, being that action films are usually filled with the strong, silent types.

Weisz is also good as the scientist on the run who “wasn’t made for this kind of thing” and feels as frantic and desperate as her character should without coming off as obnoxious and whiny like say, Willy, in Temple of Doom (1984). There are differences in the characters, yes, but characters like Weisz’s can often be worse when the tone of the movie is being thrown off by constant crying and nagging. No problems on here end either.

An issue is the talk, as mentioned above, but it’s sheer amount of talking. If it’s not Renner and Weisz blabbing on about where they need to go, him questioning her, her yelling ‘I don’t know anything’, it’s Norton and his group of secret men in suits and ties talking in an office about how bad this will be if they fail. I really stopped caring after the fifth time or so that we saw a group of people in a dimly lit room throwing back and forth the most generic ‘DO YOU KNOW WHAT WE’RE DEALING WITH?’ banter. On one hand, I understand that not everything should be explained, being that they are dealing with Top Secret material and all; on the other hand, I think this could’ve been written by someone who didn’t know what the story is.

“I’m not going down for this. You knew what you were doing when you put him out there and now it’s come back, and bitten you in the throat!”

“Do you not understand the seriousness of the situation? If this press gets a hold of this, it’s all over. For us, for them, for…for Blackmire. Everyone.”

Neither of those are quotes from the film, but you get the idea. All people saying those lines will be men over forty and a single female looking just as intense as everyone else, fearing the consequences and ready to do whatever is necessary to keep their secrets and agendas hidden. People who are fans of the series and feel like they can do without Matt Damon might enjoy this regardless of how much talking occurs and how little action does. They’ve already decided to invest themselves in a fourth film after the main star has moved on and may be looking to get whatever the studio is willing to put out. It’s understandable, being a fan of a few franchises that have long been gone, I feel like if the studios were to release more on that franchise, I would eat it up like a hungry dog. But will the fans accept all the talking and lack of action? For a 125 million dollar film, I was just expecting less filler, more thriller.

GRADE: C-

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