Monday, 28 January 2013

The Bourne Legacy

The major film critics and I had far more disagreements than usual in 2012. I missed seeing The Bourne Legacy on the big screen because critics thought it was mediocre at best. Since those same critics adored The Bourne Ultimatum, which I thought was fairly mediocre, and since Matt Damon, one of my faves, was not on hand this time, I could only imagine how bad The Bourne Legacy must be and stayed away.

On the positive side, as a result, my expectations were appropriately lowered. On the negative side, this is a big screen film and I enjoyed it more than enough to regret not seeing it at the theatre. Sure, the plot is wearing thin and there’s not much new here. And the nonstop action in the last half hour is boring, as such action usual is. And having this film take place during the same time period as The Bourne Ultimatum is more distraction than brilliance. And the ending is anticlimactic, which, given the fact that there isn’t much substance to the plot to begin with, is a major disappointment.

But the intense Jeremy Renner is a good choice for the lead role this time out, Rachel Weisz does well in the somewhat frustrating but therefore unique female lead role (who gets a fair amount of airtime), the film does have far less action than The Bourne Ultimatum (that’s a very good thing) while not sacrificing suspense (also a good thing) and there is some intelligence to be found here (even a few thought-provoking ideas).

Tony Gilroy, who wrote the other three Bourne films as well as this one, directed this time, and I, for one, consider him a far better director than Paul Greengrass, who directed the last two Bournes. It was such a relief to not sit through Greengrass’s constantly moving camera work and desaturated colours. In fact, the cinematography in The Bourne Legacy was one of the highlights for me, which is why I regret not seeing it on the big screen.

All in all, an enjoyable escapist entertainment which gets a solid ***. My mug is up.


  1. Well, your lowered expectations made you very kind. The thinness of the plot and the absolute uselessness of the entire time in the Philippines would not lead me to be so kind. I appreciated the first half, especially the detailed way in which the CIA were able to pick up the cold scent (fulfilling all kinds of paranoia). And I agree on the quality of the acting and cinematography, but it's hard to make up for a complete lack of plot in the second half. **1/2

  2. I'm with Walter on this one but in the interest of full disclosure I had higher expectations since I love Jeremy Renner and have been hoping for him to get some lead roles. While he didn't disappoint me, the lack of substantial plot did. Still better than Ultimatum I'd say.

  3. I'm kind of having to agree with everyone else. The film is ok, but I can't help but think it's a Hollywood studio milking a cash cow.