The Bourne Legacy (2012) - Directed by: Tony Gilroy
Writer: Mikey B
Welcome back to MikeyB's Movie Night! This week’s film is The Bourne Legacy so let’s get to it. Legacy is the fourth film in the "Jason Bourne" series following The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum. The previous three all starred Matt Damon as the title character, a spy who has lost his memory and is being chased down by his former handlers. The plot this time around doesn't have a lot to do with Bourne other than taking place at the same time as the second half of Ultimatum and referencing the damage Bourne has caused to “The Agency”. The main character of this film is Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner. He is a part of a program developing a new type of super soldier with enhanced mental prowess and physicality, which are provided to him by magical miracle pills made by the government. So starts many of my problems with the film, but let me first explain a bit more of the plot.
Aaron, being a part of the aforementioned program, is forced to fight for his life when the powers that be decide to kill off all their agents after the "Bourne Debacle." Another victim of the "cleansing" is Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Wiesz) who ran tests on Cross and other agents in the program. She is the last remaining doctor after surviving a coworker's shooting rampage in her lab who she believes was "programmed" to do it. When she voices her concerns she is targeted by a clean up team but is saved by Cross who needs her to get more of the miracle pills. She and Cross go to a factory in Manila that manufactures the pills so she can somehow give him a permanent boost to his body and mind. (Is nothing made in the USA any more?) Cue the other super soldier who is somehow more “super” than Cross who is brought in to take him out. This, of course, leads to a spectacular chase through the streets of Manila and a final confrontation between Cross and him.
In 2002 The Bourne Identity was released to rave reviews and really in my opinion, along with Mission Impossible's Ethan Hunt played by Tom Cruise, gave America its first action heroes that could be compared to James Bond. Sadly, it seems like the entirety of Legacy was just an attempt to start a new series featuring Aaron Cross and they forgot to make it feel a part of the previous three. (Also, for some reason the film feels like it’s missing an entire hour of plot which is rather boggling considering the 135 minute runtime.) But the main problem I really have with the film is that while Jason Bourne has always been a vulnerable and relatable character, Cross is just some guy who we know nothing about and is "superhuman" thanks to some magical tic tacs that rob any suspense and vulnerability from the character. Thankfully all the performances are strong, with Renner and Wiesz having great chemistry. The action scenes are well choreographed and executed, with the lab shooting being an extremely tense stand out.So don't go into this one expecting another intelligent and dramatic action thriller, instead think of this as a fun, summer popcorn flick and you'll be fine. On another note, I find it rather interesting that Renner is poised to take over this series as well as the aforementioned Mission Impossible as he would then be portraying both of America’s top secret agents.
Fun Facts from IMDB for The Bourne Legacy:
Before this movie was seriously considered, director Paul Greengrass jokingly suggested to make a fourth Bourne movie called "The Bourne Redundancy."
Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Alex Pettyfer, Joel Edgerton, Taylor Kitsch, Kellan Lutz, Josh Hartnett, Paul Dano, Luke Evans, Michael Pitt, Oscar Isaac, Benjamin Walker and Erryn Arkin were considered to play the lead role.
When asked about his most difficult scene, Jeremy Renner revealed that it was the motorcycle ride with Rachel Weisz behind him in Manila, because he was responsible for the two of them. At the press conference of the film, Weisz was asked about this particular stunt, "How was it to ride on a motorcycle through Manila with Jeremy Renner?" and she said that "It was really terrifying! Jeremy never told me when we were in Manila, but that was the scariest stunt for him because he was responsible for my life. He didn't tell me that in Manila, thank god, because I would have been like, 'Oh, my god!' I just had to surrender and hold on. I didn't have to act. It just was terrifying."