Mini Weekend Roundup Reviews: Rob Roy & Bourne Legacy

It’s a bit later than usual but I still want to let you know about my weekend movie-watching roundup. Usually I worked on the post on Monday night, but last Monday night I was invited to dinner with friends my hubby and I haven’t seen in over five years. It was wonderful and we had such a great time chatting over delicious Indonesian food (my friend owns a catering business), plus I went home with three DVDs on loan: Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King & Hitchcock’s Lifeboat.

Can’t wait to see all of ‘em, especially the first one!

Now, we managed to only see two movies this past weekend. We had set out to see Bourne Ultimatum (we have the Blu-ray set) on Sunday night as my hubby and I were quite disappointed with Bourne Legacy, but we couldn’t help watching the closing ceremony. I think the highlights for me were the We Will Rock You segment, Spice Girls [yeah, they're back and they owned it!!] … AND David Gandy!!! I don’t usually go for models, but that man is BEAUTIFUL ♥ ♥ ♥

All right, now on to the reviews:

ROB ROY

Thanks to my generous friend Michael of It Rains… You Get Wet who kindly lent me the Blu-ray of this film. I had been interested in seeing this movie because of his excellent two-part analysis of this epic swashbuckling drama.

My love for all things Scottish is quite well-known around this blog, but that’s not the only reason I love this film. For one thing, it was beautifully-filmed. The Highlands looks majestic and as soon as the characters appear, the story just pulls me right in.

Liam Neeson is a charismatic lead, who despite being Irish is perfectly cast as one of those valiant men who’s loved and revered by the towns people and his family. I wish he’d still be doing dramatic roles like this one to balance all the bad ass action hero stuff he’s doing these days. In a way though, Rob Roy MacGregor IS an action hero of sort, he was regarded as the Scottish Robin Hood. In this film, Rob Roy was framed for stealing £1,000 from an English Duke, the Marquis of Montrose (John Hurt), and forced to become an outlaw when he refuse to slander the Duke’s Scottish rival.

I was quite engrossed with the story and MacGregor’s journey. Despite the 139 min running time, I wasn’t bored watching it. Neeson effortlessly carried the film but Tim Roth perfectly captured the vile nature of the Duke’s henchman Archibald Cunningham in this Oscar-nominated performance. He’s just so evil through and through, every little thing he did just makes your skin crawl. Their battle becomes personal for MacGregor when Cunningham sexually assaulted his beloved wife Mary [I suggest you read Michael's fascinating analysis on on this topic], which led to the climactic sword-fight that makes you get up and cheer!

The rest of the performances are excellent as well, Brian Cox rarely disappoints and he was memorable here too, as was Jessica Lange as the devoted wife. I like the depiction of a healthy marriage here, and I also love that Mary is no damsel in distress even despite the harsh circumstances.

I highly recommend this if you’re into historical dramas or an inspiring, heroic story that doesn’t involve a cape or spandex :)

4.5 out of 5 reels


Bourne Legacy

My friend Ted already posted his excellent review on this, which I wholeheartedly agree with, but I still want to add my two cents on this. Well, some of you perhaps already know that I’m just not a big fan of Jeremy Renner. I didn’t even think he’s that great in The Hurt Locker [yeah, so sue me!] But that aside, I LOVE the Bourne universe, so despite my initial gripe about him replacing Matt Damon, I’m naturally curious about this movie. Plus spy action thriller is right up my alley.

I went in with an open mind that perhaps this film might change my mind about Renner, after all I wasn’t a big fan of Damon before Bourne Identity. Alas, it did not happen, in fact, even in the whole opening sequence in the Alaska wilderness, I was more taken by Oscar Isaac [now I'd like to see more of him in Hollywood!]. Bourne Legacy does not change my mind about Renner, but the problem lies more in the writing. I mean, Aaron Cross is just not as compelling a character as Bourne, simply because of his motivation that Ted has pointed out in his review. Bourne’s memory loss drives him to find out just why he is the way he is and does what he does, that alone is a compelling journey for us to stick around for. Cross on the other hand, knows full well who he is, a ‘chems’ addict super soldier who wants to stay that way. So basically he is terrified to go back to be a ‘regular joe’ once he knows the power of those pills, and truth be told, he probably can’t survive independently in society either.

In his journey, Cross is assisted by the beautiful chemist, Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who survives a murder-suicide by his colleague. Cross is doubtful about her naiveté in that she has no clue what the pills are used for, and so did I. Despite the long talks between the two of them that seem to go on forever, her character still isn’t explored really well. There’s also the issue of figuring out just who the enemy is. Technically, it’s Ed Norton’s Eric Byer, who’s hired by the top officials of Operation Blackbriar or the Treadstone Project to get rid of all trace of their Black Ops operation that Bourne has systematically exposed in the previous film, hence the ‘legacy’ in the title.

To say that Cross sort of operates under the ‘shadow’ of Bourne is an understatement. Seems like even the filmmakers don’t want us to forget about the original hero because every few minutes, Damon’s photo ID is flashed on screen and you know what, it actually makes me miss him even more!! Like in Total Recall, there’s all this déjà vu-ish feeling that I have seen this all before but done much, much better. Even the action was just so-so, the shootout at Martha’s house is perhaps the only highlight. The motorcycle chase in Manila is exhilarating, thought that whole bit about Larx-03, the ultimate super soldier that even Byer boss thought was only a prototype makes me laugh. It reminds me of T-1000 in Terminator 2 how he just got up after being shot multiple times and crashes his motorcycle!! It was a fun sequence but that point I didn’t really care much about Cross anymore so it didn’t have that much of an impact.

My biggest beef with this whole movie though, is how extremely misleading the marketing is. In the trailer and even the posters list Joan Allen and David Strathairn’s names but both only appeared for less than 2 minutes!! I mean, that’s barely a cameo!! The supporting cast was one of the main draw for me to see this, so that was VERY disappointing!

All in all, Tony Gilroy’s direction confirms my dread that the film is a downgrade from the stellar Bourne trilogy. A lot can be said about that anti-climactic ending, but ‘gripping’ isn’t one of them. In fact, the only best thing about it is the awesome Extreme Ways soundtrack by Moby, but it also makes you long for the predecessor.

2.5 out of 5 reels


Thoughts on either one of these? Let it be known in the comments.

About these ads

42 thoughts on “Mini Weekend Roundup Reviews: Rob Roy & Bourne Legacy

  1. It does my heart happy to hear/read your enjoyment of ROB ROY, Ruth. It’s such an underrated film that’s gotten a bit lost in the years since its release. We fans of the film, like Mark Walker, carry the banner for it whenever we can. It’s great to now have you onboard ;-). And thank you once again for the link love, my friend. Your generosity is always appreciated.

    Re: Legacy, last weekend I re-watched the entire Bourne Trilogy in prep of seeing this sequel. I think your and Ted’s reviews cover why it’s a frustrating experience. Just about every time the film got an interesting plot point or sequence across, it seemed to then do something maddening. I think for those who followed screenings of the original three films will experience the most disappointment with the new film.

    Excellent roundup reviews, Ruth. Thanks for this.

    • I sincerely love this movie, Michael, I do hope Fogs enjoy it as much as you and Mark did. It’s one of those epic filmmaking that’s character-driven instead of just showing us pretty scenery. I will forever remember this film and your kindness in lending it to me :)

      Yeah, it’s really too bad about Bourne Legacy. Let’s hope the inevitable sequel is better and the filmmaker can learn from their mistakes. I might just wait for the Blu-ray on that one though.

      Thanks Michael!

      • It’s great to hear over the last week or so from Michael and yourself that this film is still getting some attention. It’s practically been all but forgotten about. It’s a real shame and one that sticks close to my heart. As I was telling Michael before, my ancestry can be traced back to the McGregor clan as one they would have been one of the clans that lived next to them. My original surname was Gaelic but throughout the years was changed to Walker as English people couldn’t pronounce it. It was changed to Walker when the Scots became under English rule and the proffesion of my forefathers was to “Walk” the tartan. Which was essentially making it. Much in the way that people are called Smith (as is in Blacksmith) or Tailor (people who make clothes). – Sorry for the little arrogant history lesson there. ;-)

        • WOW Mark, that is so awesome! I feel honored to know someone who’s somewhat related to a Scottish hero! So do they have a Rob Roy celebration there in Scotland? That’s too bad you have to change your name because people couldn’t pronounce it! But Walker is a wonderful name too. So I’m sure you know full well what your Tartan is then. I went to a Catholic all-girls high school and we wore a green tartan skirt :D

          Thanks for the history lesson!

          • D’you know, there isn’t really a day where Rob Roy is celebrated. It’s the same for William Wallace. Wallace has a monument in Stirling that you can visit and Rob Roy’s grave is available to visit close by but shamefully there’s no set celebration day. I think this was encouraged throughout history to keep the Scots down. Celebrating their hero’s would only instill a passion in them again. Robert Burns is probably the biggest celebration day we have.
            As for the tartan, it’s funny you mention that. I’ve been researching getting a Walker tartan but they are very rare. This is surprising considering they were involved in making them. Traditionally, if a clan didn’t have a tartan of their own they would wear the same tartan as the clan they resided with. In this case, my tartan would be McGregor.

  2. That sucks about Allen and Strathairn. They were both one of the best things about Ultimatum. I’m probably going to wait for DVD to see Legacy.

    Rob Roy seems to be always on TV at numerous channels and yet I never saw it. But I will definetly do so now,, completely forgot Lange was in it!

    • Yeah, just wait for rental Sati. Seriously, both of those great actors are relegated to blink-and-you-missed-them roles, the outrage!!

      I do hope you give Rob Roy a watch, it’s epic with a big heart.

  3. That’s a great point about the Moby song. That’s like a little treat for all the “Bourne” movies, isn’t it? Knowing that’s going to spring up to signal the end? (Even if it might have been the best part of this one.)

    And “Rob Roy”…….oh, what a wonderful movie! It’s been YEARS since I’ve seen that one.

    • Yeah, a little treat at the end but it’s bittersweet as you miss the original movies even more!

      Rob Roy is indeed wonderful, Nick, might be worth a rewatch :)

    • Roth’s performance was great but he was just so vile, I was so glad he got what he deserved at the end, ahah.

      Yep, pales in comparison in every way, shape or form!

  4. I saw Rob Roy as a kid; probably time to revisit it. The only thing that sticks out in my mind is that awful scene with Jessica Lange >.<

    But if you love ALL things Scottish, you should try The Decoy Bride on Instant Watch when you get a chance! It's just a fluffy romcom but it's set on a tiny Scottish isle, and Kelly MacDonald (voice of Merida in Brave) is the lead, with that adorable accent of hers.

    • Yes that scene is indeed awful!! Even Brian Cox’s character was so disgusted by Roth. I’ll check out The Decoy Bride. I like Kelly MacDonald’s VO in BRAVE so much!

  5. I haven’t seen Rob Roy in years but I remember the main cast were excellent. I’ll have to check it out on BD.

    As I mentioned earlier, I think Gilroy needs to hire another writer or two to clean up his scripts. I know he wants to keep it a family affair, one of his brothers co-wrote this film and the other edited it. They need some outsider eyes to make a good film.

    • Indeed it’s excellent Ted! I know you’re into action stuff, so that sword fights are pretty cool.

      I didn’t know that about Gilroy, but yeah definitely need to broaden his horizon, ahah.

  6. Just came back from The Bourne Legacy. I think I liked it a bit more than most people (including you ;)) but yea it was just alright… Way too much backstory and exposition throughout the movie, not enough action. I agree that LARX 3 is supposed to be the ultimate enhanced soldier but he does absolutely nothing except run around and a ride a bike quite well. And seriously, the way he gets taken out is ridiculous… :)

    • So what rating would you give the movie, Cas? Yep, too much back-story that slows everything down, but still we don’t know much about Rachel’s character. Yeah, that LARX 3 is definitely laughable, talk about unintentional humor!

  7. Rob Roy seems like a perfect movie to see at home on the weekends. Quite a score, should be interesting to see.

    I don’t know much about Bourne series. I think based on the low scores I’ve seen in fellow bloggers, I’d prefer watch the first ones.

  8. Ruth, I am glad to hear that Rob Roy is worth checking out. I have passed over it a few times when I saw it was available for streaming. Now I have a reason to check it out :-).

    I have not seen that new Bourne film as of yet.

    I also need to see Lawrence of Arabia

    • Yes it is definitely worth checking out man, hope you enjoy it. The Bourne Legacy is just ok for a rental I think.

      Hey, there’s actually someone who hasn’t seen Lawrence of Arabia either, so I don’t feel so alone :)

          • I won’t ruin it for you but I believe David loves Lawrence so much is probably both of them have some sort of God complex which sort of fits the theme of Prometheus.

  9. I like Rob Roy tho I no longer remember the story as I watched it years ago but I do remember I like it more than Braveheart. Reading your review remind me of the story and makes me want to watch it again.

    I haven’t seen Bourne Legacy yet, it’s a bit difficult to see other actor playing the already perfect character played by Matt Damon. Will wait for it in TV

    • Yeah I think I like Rob Roy more than Braveheart too, though there are a lot of similarities. Rob Roy is not as violent too, which suits me better.

      Yep, you said it Nov. Damon was perfect as Bourne and it doesn’t help that Renner has barely half of his charisma.

  10. I found that they spent so much time convincing the audience that this wasn’t a “piss all over Jason Bourne” film with constant mentions, out aloud and physically, that they forgot to develop Aaron a bit more in the process. Jason Bourne’s journey in his first film was massive compared to how much Aaron developed here.

    Shame, I thought Renner did great. Just everything else was just so bland.

    Right with you about Lane and Strathairn – I missed them a lot. Heck, missed all the supporting actors from previous Bourne films. They added to it. Here, all the new ones just felt like scenery.

    • Indeed Jaina. I mean if they just made this more about Aaron with just a couple of mentions of Bourne in the beginning I think the movie would have more weight. I mean the darn title already SAYS Bourne’s name, so we don’t need more reminders of him.

      Yeah, just thinking of how great the supporting cast were in the Bourne trilogy, especially the amazing Brian Cox!

  11. Nice reviews, Ruth! I bought Rob Roy a few years ago and haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet!

    About Legacy, it hasn’t opened yet over here but everyone seems to agree that it’s nothing memorable and barely exciting.

    • Oh I hope you’d finally give Rob Roy a watch, Fernando. I couldn’t wait to see it as soon as Michael sent it to me and it was definitely a great recommendation!

Join the conversation by leaving a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s