The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Untitled-1The Bourne Legacy has the name Bourne in its title, but it doesn’t feature Jason Bourne. Its timeline coincides with the tail end of The Bourne Ultimatum, but has almost nothing to do with it. It focuses on a brand new character, but gives us the same cat and mouse chase from before. And it gives us a completely different story, but ends up being less engaging and more confusing than any of its predecessors. And at the end of the two hours all I could think was “What was the point of all that?”

The movie starts with a silhouette of a man underwater. He’s motionless. One would think that he’s Jason Bourne carrying on from where we last saw him in …Ultimatum. But no; he turns out to be Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a stranger. Quite the misdirection. What follows is a string of scenes and sequences that cross cut each other. On one side, we have Aaron trudging through thick Alaskan ice, scaling snow-capped mountains, and popping pills. On the other, we have alternative scenes to the closing events of …Ultimatum, and all the while I’m wondering just where the hell it’s all going. Director Tony Gilroy seems somewhat overwhelmed by having to take the reins of the Bourne franchise, because he does something rather interesting: he creates this introduction that’s both perplexing and monotonous — without any real drive propelling the narrative forward — while flooding our memory banks with a hoard of new, and mostly forgettable, characters. Who are they? Why should I care? I can’t even remember most of their names now.

I should probably make a note here and say that if you ever have to look up the plot summary of a movie — while you’re watching it — just to get up to speed with what’s happening, something is intrinsically wrong somewhere. And that’s what I had to do with …Legacy. I just had no idea what was happening, or who anyone really was. Only through reading about it did I discover a plot about backdoor medication that seeks to enhance an operative’s physical and mental prowess, and that our hero, Aaron Cross, is addicted to it. He needs more, but since his entire secret government operation is being shut down, the meds have been discontinued. So he pretty much abducts one of its leading doctors, Marta (Rachel Weisz), to help him find some. And through it all, the government is hunting him down. Is that it? Is our hero, the one who’s supposed to replace Jason Bourne, nothing but a drug addict?

So apart from a few exhilarating fight scenes, this movie doesn’t have much to offer. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not good either. Here, we have a new lead character who should be opening up new doors to a brighter future for a franchise that should rightly be left alone (in fact most franchises should be left alone), but instead he comes off as a tool for combat without having any real motive or goal. We also have an antagonist in Edward Norton who doesn’t have a personal beef with Aaron, and so there’s never really any genuine connection between the two that warrants our concern. Aaron wants drugs; Norton wants to cover his ass. Everything else is incidental, and it makes for a disappointingly lacklustre film.

Best Moment | There’s a scene where two agents arrive at Marta’s house, planning to stage her suicide. Just before they succeed, Aaron crashes the party and fends them off. He later kicks a table into the face of a kneeling agent, killing him immediately. That was good.

Worst Moment | It’s about time filmmakers understand that animals aren’t monsters. So the scene with the wolf is particularly repulsive. Also, the car/bike chase towards the end is dull, and it goes on forever.

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