The Bourne Legacy: Movie Review

This review is for the Bourne Legacy, the latest in the series of adaptations of the original novels by Robert Ludlum.  This is spoiler-free as I can make it, but if you really want to keep yourself free of anything that might give you an unfair advantage while watching the movie for yourself, you don’t have to read this.

All in all, it’s a good movie.  If you aren’t aware of the first three films, which concentrate on Jason Bourne, things might be a little bit hard to understand, but it also might be easier to get into the film.  Things are definitely different from the original movies to this one, beginning with the main character, going through the true depth of the Treadstone project and Blackbriar and its connections, and finishing off with the new concepts introduced.

If you’re unaware of the Jason Bourne trilogy, here’s a brief summary: Jason Bourne was a soldier trained to do elite missions, particularly assassinations with motives that might be questionable.  When Jason loses his memory, he gains the moral determination not to do what he’s ordered to do.  It’s a study in morality, basically, and is a pretty cool story.

This movie, however, is different.  Aaron Cross is another soldier under the same bozos who messed up Jason Bourne.  They’ve gone slightly farther with this “batch”, however, genetically enhancing and mutating them to make super-soldiers: smarter, faster, stronger, and with double the potential for awesome car chases.  Unfortunately, this process is gradual, and the pills Aaron must take in order to be this cool are limited.  In order to finish his beneficial mutation and not return to the weak idiot he used to be, he must avoid the government (who have decided to shut the project down– e.g., kill everyone who is involved) and help the only doctor who knows how to save his awesome life, who is also being hunted.

You can see how different these two stories are.  Bourne was a regular guy who decided that what he was doing was wrong– Aaron was a mutant freak who wanted to stay freaky.  Before you denounce this new movie, give it a chance.  The overall concept is the same: these guys want soldiers who will do what they want, unquestioningly, and do it with explosions.  And they don’t want to go to jail.

So movie summaries aside, let’s get on with the thoughts.  I think the movie was good, but the story was incredibly spread-out.  There is no character arc for this guy Aaron.  Whereas Jason was figuring out who the heck he was while trying to reconcile the actions everyone says he did with what he knows is right, Aaron is looking for pills.  He begins the story running out of pills.  He reaches a place that has pills, but he doesn’t get enough before he is forced to move on without them.  He’s still running out of pills until he finally gets the injection that means that he doesn’t have to take any more pills.  The story actually wraps up with our friend Aaron not needing any more pills, but no one evil ends up in jail.  Somehow, this means we need a sequel.  I hope I didn’t give too much away here.

A lot of the action scenes in the movie were drawn out.  The car chase at the end in particular.  The problem there was that one superhuman was being chased by another superhuman.  When one crashes his car, he gets up and steals a motorcycle.  When he ditches that motorcycle, he steals another.  When he crashes that motorcycle, he’s probably dead– but no, he’s superhuman.  He gets up and rejoins us, his face a lovely shade of purple.  He gets kicked off his bike by a doctor who probably took her Hippocratic oath, and he’s finally dead.  Whereas Bourne goes through car chases aplenty and crashes all of his opponents once and for all, Aaron drives a motorcycle through the Philippines killing the same guy three times.  The problem with superhumans is that they just don’t die easily enough.

Overall, there was very little action between the rogue soldier and the evil commanders.  The most they ever contact each other is one shooting down the others’ miniature planes or the others following the one with security cameras.  Jason Bourne is running around keeping journalists from getting shot– unsuccessfully, I might add– and Aaron is running around killing security guards who want to arrest him for speeding through crowded streets.

The movie did well keeping the viewer’s attention, but when you really think about it, it’s an average movie about the perfect character with an addiction to blue pills.  Yes, he climbs mountains and wraps his tummy in pie tins.  Yes, he blows stuff up and ducks before his eyebrows get singed.  Yes, he runs across rooftops and wears sunglasses like a secret agent.  Yes, he punches people and points guns at them for good measure.  But does he have those amazing powers of manipulation that Jason Bourne had?  Can he tell a man when to cross a street so that he won’t be seen by the traffic cameras?  Can he incriminate a government operation by hiding under a Bosch sign on a rooftop?  The original Bourne movies weren’t just about blowing stuff up.  If this wasn’t pitched as a “sequel” to the original trilogy, it wouldn’t be half so popular.  It doesn’t have the plot, the deep characters, or the motivations.

And it definitely doesn’t have the soundtrack.  Did you think I’d leave this without bashing the soundtrack?  None of the Bourne soundtracks were really that musical anyway (the movies weren’t the sort of things that beg for a fully orchestral sound), but when John Powell left this project it left the music sadly lacking.

Overall thoughts: good, but not great.  It’s worth looking at if you’re a huge fan of the original Bourne movies, but if you want this one to be a representation of the others, you won’t find what you’re looking for.  With that, I will resist the urge to sing U2 and instead leave you with the combined awesomeness of Bourne soundtracks and Vivaldi– Piano Guys style.

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64 Comments

  1. DLiz

     /  August 12, 2012

    Sounds like a marginally interesting movie. I liked the Bourne movies but it seems like they are just using an old storyline to try and revive this story.

    Reply
    • Indeed, though I did think it was interesting how they went into what the criminals had done to other people and not just Bourne. Jason was pretty full of himself by then.

      Reply
      • DLiz

         /  August 13, 2012

        That really is one of his flaws. I found that he was rather self absorbed for most of his story.

      • Well, he has no friends, so it isn’t as if he has anyone else to compliment. It might be a flaw, but it’s justifiable.

  2. *is obviously not into spy movies, probably because she is obviously not a boy*

    I… I thought the Bourne stuff was James Bond… just yet another one of his adventures. Like Goldfinger… hmmm… Hmmm…. *awkward*

    Reply
    • Um, yeah… Bourne is like Bond, but without the tuxedo and accent. And he drives through crowded areas in an Audi, while Bond tools around in an Aston Martin, obeying all traffic laws. I’d say there’s something different.

      Reply
      • Hmmm. I have somehow made it through nearly 16 years of life thinking that Bourne was, like, a pseudonym of Bond…. *facepalms*

      • No big problem, I suppose, as long as you don’t proclaim yourself a Bourne fan at a Bond convention.

  3. Charley R

     /  August 12, 2012

    Hehe, I’ve never seen any of the Bourne films, and I had little awareness of the franchise until I heard Jeremy Renner was taking over as the lead because Matt Damon was dropping out . . . or something like that. I like Renner 🙂

    Good review there – very fair and well reasoned.

    Reply
    • He’s quite the popular actor right now. Hawkeye, Aaron Cross, Agent Brandt (Chief Analyst), and more. Definitely check out the Matt Damon films, though, if you’re going to watch any.

      Thanks!

      Reply
      • Charley R

         /  August 13, 2012

        That he is – I think he’s pretty good, myself. Though he doesn’t look like much of a smiler 😛

        Thanks for the recommendation – I’m sure I can find them somewhere in a spare moment 😛

      • Renner is like a younger Liam Neeson. They never smile and they look vaguely Scandinavian.

      • Charley R

         /  August 13, 2012

        Ahaha, that’s true actually!

      • You can especially see it at the beginning of this movie, when he’s hiking through Alaska with a beard. When he’s clean-shaven it doesn’t look as prominent, but the beard made him seem like Neeson.

      • Charley R

         /  August 13, 2012

        Ahaha, that’s creepy 😛

      • If you want, I can give you a link to a preview where he’s scruffy. But yes, he looks weird. I wasn’t sure it was the actor I thought it was until he shaved.

      • Charley R

         /  August 13, 2012

        Ah, the wonders that the make-up department can wreak.

      • Indeed… Though I do wonder why they didn’t have the snow sprinkled on his face at irregular intervals; the regular spaces between each flake gave the game away.

      • Charley R

         /  August 14, 2012

        Yeah – but snow is a pain in the bum to simulate anyway.

      • Not at all; there are a few choices for fake snow.

      • Charley R

         /  August 14, 2012

        Eh, but it’s so easy to backfire on any of them. Anything wet can trash some costumes rather thoroughly.

      • Oh, yeah, like his top-of-the-line cold-weather gear isn’t made to get wet?

      • Charley R

         /  August 15, 2012

        Ehehehe, fair enough. I’m referring to costumes on the whole and in general.

      • Well, yeah. If you were going to sprinkle wet fake snow on a person clad in an expensive tuxedo, I might protest.

      • Charley R

         /  August 15, 2012

        Ehehehehe . . . how didy ou know about my plan?

      • When tuxedos are in danger, the Head Phil knows. Beware, tuxedo-render. You may soon suffer the wrath of… *cue epic soundtrack clip* TUXEDO-TRAMP!

      • Charley R

         /  August 16, 2012

        *falls over in a fit of maniacal giggling*

      • Exactly! You are already feeling the effects of my awesome powers. Fear me.

      • Charley R

         /  August 17, 2012

        Oh dear . . . release me, I beg of you!

      • NEVER! This bow tie shall choke the life out of you until you repent from your tuxedo-trashing ways! REPENT! REPENT! [Have you got all the stuffing at one end?]

      • Charley R

         /  August 18, 2012

        No. No I don’t. Do I look like I do?

      • I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to Cardinal Biggles. [Are you very sure? She must be made of stronger stuff…]

      • Charley R

         /  August 18, 2012

        *eyes Captain Biggles suspiciously*

      • Aha! [She distrusts you, Biggles. This is a start… Cardinal Fang, fetch the comfy chair!]

      • Charley R

         /  August 19, 2012

        Comfy chairs? Did someone say comfy chairs? *pokes Biggles with a small stick*

      • [The comfy chair? *cue creepy organ*]

      • Charley R

         /  August 19, 2012

        *kicks aforementioned organ* Shush, I can’t hear anything!

      • There’s nothing to hear– Fang is bringing up the chair and banging it into walls. I won’t let Biggles help because he’s been compromised– you, ma’am, are too experienced with manipulation.

      • Charley R

         /  September 3, 2012

        *raises eyebrow and smirks* Oh really now?

      • *nods* I’m watching you closely.

      • Charley R

         /  September 4, 2012

        *grins* Or are you watching my clone? There are two of us here . . . *another Charley launches out of nowhere and bonks Liam on the head with a frying pan*

      • *Liam steps out of nowhere as his cardboard cutout crumples to the floor* It’s surprisingly lifelike, isn’t it?

      • Charley R

         /  September 5, 2012

        *the second Charley vaults onto the ceiling, and the first one smirks* It’s a good one . . . but unfortunately it can’t save you now.

      • Aren’t you going to laugh evilly?

      • Charley R

         /  September 5, 2012

        Nah. I save that for when victory is secured. You know, otherwise you just end up looking stupid.

      • No, you just end up looking stupid. I look that way already. …That insult was pointed the wrong way, I think.

      • Charley R

         /  September 6, 2012

        *rolls eyes* You do this deliberately to aggravate me in order to make me lose control and perform some feat of typical villainous idiocy, thus giving yourself the chance to escape and / or destroy me.
        Unfortunately, I have learned from the mistakes of my fellows.
        *the second Charley catapults itself at Liam, digging its teeth into his left ear with all the ferocity of a hamster that’s been pulled out of a steroid-infused blender*

      • Wow, Charley– your second self is rather lethargic. (Note: “a hamster that’s been pulled out of a steroid-infused blender” would be dead.)

      • Charley R

         /  September 7, 2012

        Ah . . . *re-reads description* . . . this is why I should not be allowed on the internet so late at night *kicks second self in recompense*

      • Your second self is already dead… why kick her?

      • Charley R

         /  September 8, 2012

        It makes me feel better.

      • Ah. Good reason.

      • Charley R

         /  September 8, 2012

        That’s what I thought. Biscuit?

      • Sic buscuitus disintegratus.

      • Charley R

         /  September 8, 2012

        No, no it won’t. I’m sorry, I don’t know how to reply in pseudo-Latin right now – I’m really flustered just at the moment. Here, have the packet, I’ll be back in a mo.

      • Ah, gratias tibi ago.

  4. DLiz

     /  August 14, 2012

    (In response to the earlier comment)
    He does run into other people… those girls that he runs around with come to mind.

    Reply
  5. DLiz

     /  August 14, 2012

    I love the piano guys. this video is one of their better ones!

    Reply

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