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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Movie Review - The Bourne Legacy

***Movie #4 of BOURNE Week***
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Oscar Isaac, Albert Finney, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Donna Murphy, Corey Stoll, Zeljko Ivanek, and Joan Allen
Directed by Tony Gilroy

As we discovered in the previous Bourne films, Jason Bourne was just one of many men recruited by the CIA to violently act out missions for the agency.  The Bourne Legacy leaves Matt Damon behind (likely because they couldn't offer a big enough paycheck) and focuses on one of the other men -- Aaron Cross -- part of another black ops group Bourne and Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) were trying to uncover in earlier flicks.

The Bourne Legacy opens with many of its scenes running concurrently to the final moments in The Bourne Ultimatum.  Director Tony Gilroy (the co-screenwriter of the previous Bourne films as well as this one) picks up the reins from Paul Greengrass and nicely ties Aaron Cross's story into Jason Bourne's timeline with this concurrent opening.  Smartly, Gilroy plants Aaron Cross (played by Jeremy Renner) into a different CIA black ops program -- one that forces its recruits to take pills in order to maintain their stamina, strength, and intelligence.  This allows for a different background and starting point for Cross than Bourne and it plays well throughout the film, feeling like a somewhat different animal...which is a good thing.

The repercussions of the actions of Bourne and Landy, however, permeate throughout The Bourne Legacy, as Cross finds himself being hunted down by CIA agents as they try to cover their tracks about the government's black ops agencies.  This leads Cross to Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a biochemist who has medically tested him in the past and who Cross uses to help him evade those coming after him.

The Bourne Legacy works really well as a continuation of the overarching political conspiracy story that runs rampant throughout this cinematic series.  Where it falters, however, is in a few of the film's action moments, including a very ill-conceived final action sequence with some laughable reaction shots from Weisz that ends things on a decidedly disappointing note.  Renner is more chipper than the dour Bourne (at least as chipper as one can be when being hunted down by the CIA) and his interactions with Weisz, while more generic than Bourne's interactions with his female contacts, are pleasantly conceived.  However, Renner is actually a little too high on charisma -- a fault that I almost can't believe I'm writing.  He didn't quite sell me on the "operative on the run" aspect of his character.  Still, it was pleasant to put a different face front and center in the series even though it didn't quite match the success of its immediate predecessor.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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