When I first learned that Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon were picking up their toys and leaving the Bourne Playground I was pretty happy about it. The Bourne trilogy is certainly not on par with the likes of the Mission Impossible series or the Daniel Craig led Bond movies in my opinion but they are solid and entertaining, definitely watchable. Sadly The Bourne Legacy is neither of the two and does not deserve to be placed alongside the other three.
The first mistake the movie makes is that instead of starting totally fresh it takes the audience all the way back to the events in the second and third movies in scene jumping agony. I can understand if they’d just spent the first 15 or 20 minutes doing this but it doesn’t. The movie spends about 30 to 45 minutes trying to tie Aaron Cross (played by Jeremy Renner) to Jason Bourne as if it was pleading with me to buy into it. The second (and dare I say the BIGGEST) mistake this movie makes is that it is sorely lacking in action. The Bourne Trilogy was among the first movie franchises in the last 2 decades to show us hand to hand combat that was gritty, and brutal. When you watch Jason Bourne beat the shit out of some random dude with a rolled up magazine it makes an impression, it tells you how badass he was and more importantly how badass his training was. I still cringe when I think about the scene in the first Bourne movie when Jason stabs a fellow agent in the hand with a ballpoint pen and then knocks him down only to see him stand up pull the pen out of his hand and keep on fighting. TBL has no such moments.
The action scenes are not very engaging and there aren’t a lot of them either. There is couple of forgettable fight scenes, one gun fight and one very long motorcycle chase scene towards the end and that’s that. Again, this movie seemed to be so concerned with convincing you that it’s part of the original franchise that it sacrifices the action in order to give us scene after scene of people talking and taking off their glasses and saying stupid things like “Do you know how deep this goes!?!?!” . Well, I do know now that I’ve watched this movie, and I wish I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong I understand that in the other three movies there was a lot of people talking and giving us exposition, but TBL does it to the point of sucking the energy out of the story. And I HAVENT EVEN GOTTEN TO HOW GOOFY THE STORY IS YET!!!
So we know from the first 3 movies that Jason Bourne was part of a super solider program. A program that the government had to shut down when it’s best candidate (Bourne) got amnesia and went rouge. What TBL tries to tell us is that the program Bourne was a part of was just the first stage and that in later stages the candidates for the program were genetically altered and then given medication to enhance them physically and mentally to be more efficient agents. But guess what? This super-secret double probationary project has to be scrapped too because the dude who ran Bourne’s program (Treadstone) is seen on YouTube shaking hands with some other dude who runs the genetic enhancement stage of the program…WTF??? So of course agents all over the world start dying but Aaron Cross survives and goes on the run but here’s the idiotic catch, without his meds Aaron will become stupid… Yep, that’s what the movie tells us. This movie isn’t about international intrigue or world powers hiding secrets it’s about Jeremy Renner’s character not wanting to go back to being a complete dolt. How effing sad is that?
Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross is bland and boring and Rachel Weisz who plays Dr. Marta Shearing the lone survivor of a mass shooting at a laboratory that works on the anti-stupid drugs is equally forgettable (although she at least appears to be trying). Everything about this movie is forgettable.
Having watched this movie I feel like I need some blue anti-stupid drugs now…