Tony Gilroy and Jeremy Renner swap places with Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon in The Bourne Legacy. This reboot/sequel attempts to ride off of the in-your-face action and slick spying that was previously setup by Damon and Greengrass with flair and impact. The Bourne Legacy comes up too short and quickly sinks in its own messy story, trying too hard to push a story that makes little sense, while holding back the action from the audience.
Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) comes from the same breed of soldiers as Jason Bourne (Matt Damon). He’s an imperfect super-soldier that’s essentially in prototype stage and when higher-up Eric Byer (Edward Norton) decides to pull the plug things go south in a hurry. Cross is now on the run from the “agency”, while other super-soldiers suddenly start dropping dead at a freakishly fast rate.
Enter Dr. Shearing (Rachel Weisz), the innocent doctor with not a clue in the world. She’s behind creating some of the drugs that gets pumped into the soldiers and when things go sour she’s at the top of the list to be executed. Now, Cross and Shearing are both on the run from the same people and they soon realize that working together may be the only way to stay alive and find answers to their many questions.
Director Tony Gilroy heads up the Bourne franchise with a loose sequel/reboot that borrows names and locations from Greengrass’ stunning entries, but doesn’t take a clue when it comes to action and pacing. Paul Greengrass will forever be known for filming close-quarters fighting with a shaky camera that manages to capture everything you need to know, while also drawing you closer to puking. It’s actually a great technique that is mostly misused, but whenever in the hands of Greengrass it just works.
Gilroy is smart to not even attempt to recreate that Greengrass magic and he instead opts for a much smoother and fluid action experience. That’s great and sets Legacy apart from the other films, but then we run into the problem of having very little action. For some reason The Bourne Legacy consists of only 25 minutes of good solid action and proper suspense, but then it gets weighed down quickly by a bunch of nonsense plot-points that deal with the chemical effects on Cross and the rest of the super-soldier elites.
Renner tries his hardest to keep the engine running and the gears spinning, but then Weisz’s character comes into the equation and adds nothing more than an innocent bystander approach to an already full film. Characters are forced in without a reason or purpose and action is side-lined for a dozen conversations about what will happen if Cross doesn’t get what he needs.
It gets to be unbearable and then Gilroy ends it with an abrupt and very anticlimactic motorcycle chase that is hard to follow with your eyes and makes little sense with your brain. After that, nothing is resolved and you’re supposed to have that feeling of wanting more. More of what? I’m not exactly sure, because The Bourne Legacy does absolutely nothing to continue the Bourne series and makes it feel as if it has ran its course.
Universal brings the film to Blu-Ray with a proper 1080p video transfer that replicates the muted blacks and sharp contrast. Colors will look naturally dull and boring whenever in an office setting, but as soon as Cross takes the action to the exotic and exciting locations the colors start to liven up with minor crushing.
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is a rear-heavy dose of action at the finest level. Detail is always active and on-the-run, with every single location replicated with precise timing and distribution of the surrounding environments. Scenes literally come full-circle as our main characters bounce from highly populated areas with lots of noise to quiet and calm locations with only the sounds of nature.
The combo pack comes with the following bonus material:
- Audio Commentary: Director Tony Gilroy heads this commentary track with the co-writer, editor, second unit director, production designer and DP. It’s a very meat and potatoes track that gives you lots of detailed information, but rarely injects any flavor.
- Deleted Scenes (HD): 7 minutes of deleted scenes that would have only made the film feel even longer.
- Re-Bourne (HD): A discussion about continuing/re-birthing the franchise without Jason Bourne.
- Enter Aaron Cross (HD): A look at how the character creates a new direction for the series, while also playing in the same fashion as Jason Bourne.
- Crossing Continents (HD): Gilroy and his cast and crew take the film to several exotic locations.
- Moving Targets (HD): A brief discussion about the film’s central relationship.
- Man vs. Wolf (HD): Renner discusses the various versions of wolves used while filming.
- Wolf Sequence Test (HD)
- Capturing Chaos: The Motorbike Chase (HD): A look at how they made one of the most pointless scenes in the film.
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
The only thing worse than watching The Bourne Legacy in theaters for the first time is having to sit through it again at home. The Blu-Ray combo pack is another stellar release from Universal, but that still doesn’t negate the fact that Tony Gilroy’s Bourne film is easily the worst in the series. There’s nothing here that even resembles the previous entries, aside from names and locations. Take out both of those elements and you’re left with a fairly generic spy drama that lacks in action and doesn’t bother engaging you with a story worth a damn.
Fans anticipating this new series will want to approach this one with a cautionary rental and see where it sits. Everyone else doubting the film due to the lack of involvement from Greengrass and Damon should trust their gut and move onto better films.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.