Monday, August 20, 2012

The Bourne Legacy

Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz in the Bourneless The Bourne Legacy
*** out of ***

The Bourne Legacy is a bad idea treated very well. It has a great cast, a talented writer/director with ties to the original trilogy, cinematography by Robert Elswit, and is what I call a semiquel... or would it be called a parallelquel?... It's a movie that takes place during the same time as it's predecessor. Movies of this kind are hardy existent. There's Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy, which hardly applies. There's also Back to the Future Part II where Marty and Doc go back to the fifties all over again during the last act of the film and must avoid running into their-selves from the previous movie. I can't believe this hasn't been done more. Well, The Bourne Legacy only earns it's title by a stretch of reason and is really it's own adventure. Like the other three it's very entertaining and well-directed. Remarkably, in one scene there was a predictable setup for a surprise action scene, that did such a good job at setting me at ease, that at one point I thought it wasn't coming at all... And then it did... and it came down hard.

In general, you get a story about an agent named Aaron Cross played with the great physicality and emotional detachment Jeremy Renner can convey. His training and experiences tell us more about the background of Jason Bourne who must have undergone the same things before losing his memory. Like Bourne, he's on the run from the organization that created him, except he's not an amnesiac, so it opens the world a bit more. The role of the required female tag-along in this film is very well filled by Rachel Weisz and has more purpose than being an audience surrogate as she is an expert who Cross must rely on to survive. 

The movie moves at a great pace and by the end of it's two-hour and fifteen-minute runtime, I still felt like like I was cheated out of a final act by a chase scene that went on too long. Like certain other movies from franchises with abrupt endings, I felt like there was a promise that they'll be back and maybe even better. I also see this movie as a test that had to be passed to get Matt Damon back in the game through the creation of a character he's clearly supposed to partner-up with. Bourne and Cross? Crossing Bourne? Bourne's Crossing?

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