The Bourne Legacy – Ted’s Review

After they couldn’t convince both Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon to come back and do another Bourne film, Universal Pictures decided to go ahead and make another one without them. Was this a good move or an ill-advised one? Read on.

The film opens with a similar scene to the beginning of the first film and the end of the last film, if you remember Bourne was floating in water in the beginning of the first one and then he was swimming away in the last one. Were the filmmakers thought the audience wouldn’t know they’re watching a Bourne film had they opened this new film with a different scene? Well it turns out the person in the water wasn’t Bourne but a new hero, Aaron Cross played by Jeremy Renner. We learned that he’s somewhere in the Alaska wilderness and in training. I have to commend Renner for his performance during these opening scenes, he didn’t have any dialogue and only he let his body do the talking.

We also found out that Bourne’s public exposure of CIA black ops “Treadstone” and “Blackbriar” causes the powers that be to take desperate measures to save additional programs and their own behinds. In came Edward Norton who plays some sort of an advisor to the higher ups at the CIA, his advice was to wipe out all traces of the company’s latest secret agent program, “Outcome”.  So all of the undercover agents were terminate except our hero, Aaron Cross. Along with the getting rid of all the agents, anyone who’s involved with the “Outcome” project also gets their life terminated. Fortunately one of the doctors played by Rachel Weisz was able to escaped and later Cross came to her aid and for the rest of the film, both of them are trying to stay alive by evading the assassins sent  by the agency to kill them.

Unlike the previous films where our hero Bourne was trying to recover his memory of he was and why he’s an assassin, Cross knows who he is and why he’s doing what he’s doing. Because he’s some sort of a super agent, he needs pills to keep going. And this is one the reasons why I think this film didn’t work, it reminds me way too much of Van Damme’s Universal Soldier. Cross is just not an interesting character, we already know why he’s an assassin so it’s kind of pointless to care about him. Bourne on the other hand, because of his memory loss, he’s trying to figure out why his employer wants to kill him and most importantly, why he’s so good at killing people. We the audience also want to know that too, and so we went along and follow his journey.

Another reason why I thought the film didn’t work was the lack of a true villain. Edward Norton is wasted here. Even though he ordered the hit on all the agents, he’s somehow have some kind of connections with Cross, they showed a few flashback scenes with two of them talking; I’m not quite sure why those scenes were included, someone have to explain that to me.

The film was directed by Tony Gilroy, he wrote the first three films and now he’s decided to shoot the film himself. Gilroy blew me away with his first film, Michael Clayton, but his next one Duplicity was a self-indulgent mess. I feel that’s what he’s done with this film, it seems Gilroy and his brother came up with all these great ideas to kick start this franchise with a new character. But somehow they couldn’t execute their ideas, I think this is where the studio should’ve hired a director who can actually expand or tighten the script a bit. I remember Greengrass actually hired a couple of writers to clean up Gilroy’s scripts of The Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum.

Since Gilroy gets to direct this time, he’s probably thought his script was perfect and didn’t need a clean-up. I get the feeling that he’s trying to make the film similar to that of the 1970s espionage thrillers but totally failed. The film also didn’t deliver on the action front, in fact there weren’t many action in it compare to the previous three films. The mistake Gilroy make was to try and imitate Greengrass’ frantic style of action scenes. Now the action scenes weren’t as bad as say, Safe House, but the big chase near the end of the film went a bit too long and sometimes it’s hard to see what’s going on. I think the only good thing I can say about this film was Rachel Weisz, she looked beautiful and really played her role quite well. It’s unfortunate that her character was nothing more than another damsel in distress.

Was The Bourne Legacy a bad film? I don’t think so, it’s just wasn’t that interesting and the lack of action didn’t help considering fans of the franchise expect to see hand to hand combats and crazy car chases. Legacy only delivered half of that.

– post by Ted S.

2.5 out of 5 reels

Well folks, what did you think of this film?

25 thoughts on “The Bourne Legacy – Ted’s Review

    1. Ted S.

      It’s a shame because I really want to like this film, it’s hard to care about it though when the main character is so bland and I just didn’t care about him.

  1. Very much agree with you, Ted. It’s a shame. This film had all the players to help make it a good film, it just lacked a good script and direction. I thought Renner did a great job. But yes, the final action sequence felt a little too late. And I didn’t get a sense of Aaron’s journey. Jason Bourne went through a really interesting character journey – I was really involved in his character.

    Shame really.

  2. Nice review. I certainly liked the movie more than you (3.5 for me) but I had several of the same issues as you did. As a whole, I did like the movie and thought Renner’s character was interesting. But he clearly lacked the intensity of Jason Bourne and he didn’t have the tension of not knowing who or what he was. But I really tried not to make it about Cross vs Bourne. I felt that would be a little unfair considering how great a character Bourne is.

    I also had issues with the hand-to-hand fights. I thought the editing of those scenes was pretty rough and I sometimes had a really hard time visually understanding what was going on. I also felt it took a while getting going. But I also felt several of the exciting, edge of your seat, Bourne moments that I’ve grown to love and the final sequence is fantastic. Still, it could have been better with a little more polished script.

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah I didn’t want to compare Cross to Bourne but it’s hard to when the filmmakers kept reminding us we’re watching a “Bourne” film. Seriously I lost count of how many times they mentioned Jason Bourne in the film.

      It was pretty sloppy editing by the Gilroy brothers, again I was surprised because they were in putting Michael Clayton together.

      1. Ted S.

        Oops! I had rephrase my sentence, missed a word:

        It was pretty sloppy editing by the Gilroy brothers, again I was surprised because they did a great job in putting Michael Clayton together.

  3. Pretty much agree with everything here. It seemed the film never climaxed. Most obviously is how there was no one-on-one confrontation with the Larx agent.

  4. I was disappointed in this film. They should have stuck with some of the good things about the previous Bourne movies. Instead, they turned this into more of a drama than an action movie filled with tactical espionage.

  5. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ted and company:

    Far prefer the ‘Bourne’ novels by Ludlum to any Transition from paper to film.

    So, we now have Jeremy Renner as an overblown, genetically enhanced Action Hero and ‘Sy~Fy Channel’, Alpha’. Instead of a low key, anonymous, John Clark’ kind of shooter and spy???!!!

    This is why I lean far more towards Robert Ludlum’s written words!

    1. Ted S.

      Hey Jack,

      Yeah I love the three Bourne novels too, I haven’t read any of the ones that came out after Ludlum’s death though. I think it’s pointless to read a Bourne book without the original author’s words.

      They pretty much made a sort of sci-fi spy flick which is a shame because it sort of tainted this franchise.

  6. Disappointing to see all the middling reviews. Most particularly the lack of action and the heavy amount of exposition are cooling my desire to see that flick. Oh well, I guess we will go with something else at the theater…

    1. Ted S.

      I don’t mind if they didn’t include a lot of action but what I found so disappointing was that the plot was so lame and uninteresting. It’s a rental at best.

  7. I’m saddened to hear this Ted. I was quite looking forward it. I’ll still give it a go but I’ll be approaching it differently now. Thanks for the heads up buddy.

    1. Ted S.

      Hey Mark, yeah I was quite disappointed with the film because I too was looking forward to it. Hope you’ll enjoy it better than I did.

  8. Nice review, Ted! You really pulled out the two main flaws of the film — lack of villain, and lack of character journey (really, no great motivation) for the protagonist.

    On the other hand, as positive points, the killing spree in the lab was QUITE the scene both from a visual and emotional perspective. And I was a fan of the motorcycle chase, although it was a struggle to watch and catch everything in parts.

    Also, both Renner and Weisz are strong, good actors, and did what they could with the script. It’s interesting to learn that there were major script rewrites on Supremacy and Ultimatum. I bet you’re onto something with all that. A bad movie typically originates from a bad script.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Kristin. Yeah I like that sequence where that doctor killed his colleagues, very intense stuff. Wish the rest of the film were like that.

      Yeah, I actually read The Bourne Supremacy’s script before the movie came out and Greengrass changed a few things from Gilroy’s original script. For example, Marie was killed by a bus driver in India while she and Bourne were trying to run away from that assassin. So Bourne went crazy and beat the crap out of the bus driver and was arrested. The first half of the script, Bourne was stuck in jail and he’d to find a way to escape. Greengrass decided to change that and made it into a more fluid storyline.

  9. Did you guys feel that the final chase sequence was a lot like Terminator 2? With Arnie vs T-1000? Hell, the Thai ‘super-solider’ they drafted in didn’t say anything, and was an “upgrade” of Renner. This is just like T-1000!

    All we needed was a truck in that chase and we’d have been doing a carbon copy. That being said, I enjoyed the movie once it got past that slow opening.

    1. WOW, this is uncanny! I just finished my review when I read your comment and I felt the same way. The moment he gets up after crashing his bike AND getting shot multiple times makes me laugh!!

      1. I know! Everything was so eerily similar. I just wanted Renner to throw out a cheesy one-liner and I’d have been up in arms. Though this T-1000 was no Robert Patrick, that’s for sure.

  10. I have seen the other ones and can say I am Bourne’d out is why I am not bothered with it a shame as there are good actors in the film I am sure but it isn’t enough to tempt me.

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