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“The Bourne Legacy” – Early Review (SO-SO POSITIVE)

August 8, 2012

‘Jason Bourne was the tip of the iceberg’, says a character in this new spin-off to the Matt Damon action-packed spy series. Jason Bourne is present in this movie, but not really, it makes “The Bourne Legacy” interesting and difficult all at once. Lets face it, when you heard another “Bourne” movie was coming, you all got giddy, then you heard it wasn’t gonna star [Matt] Damon, all of you were bummed. It’s a double edge sword with this one; nevertheless, “Legacy” [for the most part] delivers the goods.

Our story begins at the moment when the British newsman, Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), is assassinated by one of Treadstone’s meanest ops, in other words “Legacy” is beginning in the middle of the “Ultimatum” storyline. On the other side of the planet, in Alaska, is Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), an Outcome agent, much like Treadstone, but Treadstone on steroids…or drugs. Cross is taking a blue pill and green pill that amps up his agility and mind to become the best killing machine the agency has scene, but his supply is low. Meanwhile, Jason Bourne returns to NY, causing a ruckus with the suits in Washington (Ed Norton, Stacy Keach).

Treadstone & Blackbreier were just the beginning; the next thing that could be taken down is Outcome, which means the slate must be cleaned. Outcome agents are being taken down left and right, the scientist behind the blue/green pills are being gunned down like animals. A soul-surviving scientist, Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), is rescued by Aaron, and the two stay together evading the agency, only Dr. Shearing can retrieve the right meds to fix Aaron, which leads them both down a climactic end in Manila, Philippines.

Look, I’m a die-hard fan of the Bourne series, and yes, I was disappointed that there was no Matt Damon here; although his picture as Bourne does surface from time to time reminding us that Bourne is out there. It’s cool that this movie is set during the same timeline as “Ultimatum” and beyond, but I think the problem here is that the movie is too darn slow and takes too long to get to point A to point B.  Tony Gilroy steps in as director, and he’s done fine work before (“Michael Clayton”), even scribing all three “Bourne” films, he doesn’t have the action touch that Paul Greengrass or even Doug Liman have. And it shows, brace yourself, but there are only 3 major action sequences in this film, good news is however, they’re top-notch action scenes. The rest of the time, its all in-door office talk, which if you’re a “Michael Clayton” fan, you’ll enjoy that. Being spoiled with such high-octane action from the past and then getting a tamed movie like this, it is disappointing.

Now with the movies faults, it does have redeeming qualities, props goes to Jeremy Renner, he kills it as Aaron Cross, although he may not have the serious caliber as Damon’s Bourne, he can kick ass, and get out of tough situations like Bourne. Rachel Weisz is a great acting opponent to team up with for Renner, they have great chemistry. I even loved Ed Norton’s character, if they do another movie, I wouldn’t mind seeing his character return. The movie is basically setting up these characters for a better sequel, I feel like this long story needed to be told so we can get to the bigger broader action packed “Ultimatum”-like story. Hopefully if all goes right, and the audience embrace Renner’s take, we can get that Aaron Cross & Jason Bourne team-up, because as soon as this movie ends, it’s basically just giving us the inevitable that this will happen.

Overall, while “The Bourne Legacy” doesn’t live up to it’s predecessors; it does set the stage for something really cool down the pipeline. The movie gives us impressive performances, beautiful imagery, and some great action sequences…when they FINALLY show up. Keep in mind, I’d recommend you re-watch the last three films; otherwise you’ll be lost here.

GRADE: B

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