Monday, 10 September 2012

The Bourne Legacy

Following on the previous three films in the Bourne Universe, the main character, Aaron Cross, finds himself targeted by the CIA people who are trying to contain the damage caused to the system by the actions of Jason Bourne.

Let’s start from the basics: why do producers do sequels? The most popular – and the most sensible – explanation is that they are trying to bank on the same, popular, liked characters, trying to get money from people who miss the universe and will be happy to pay to see the continuation of the story. This is why we see never-ending Twilight saga – producers (correctly) believe that 14 year old girls will be happy to see the next portion of adventures of Edward (ok, this is a massive stereotype).

So the idea of The Bourne Legacy as the movie was flawed from the very beginning. Bourne movie without Bourne? Seriously? 

The feeling of a huge fraud stays throughout the film. This is like watching Harry Potter without Harry Potter, or Spider-Man without a man in red and blue latex suit. In all fairness, it was possible to make a decent action film out of Bourne Legacy. But the problem is that the new action hero, Aaron Cross (played by the rising star of action movies, Jeremy Renner) is not capable of matching the charisma and charm of Matt Damon’s Bourne. There is a fantastic analogy in the film itself: Aaron Cross, when describing his past, says that he has very low IQ, and thus he has to eat mind-enhancing drugs. That’s it. Aaron Cross eats the drugs throughout the film and does not come up with any smart operation, and hence he is still far from super-smart, sharp-minded Bourne, for whom the plans would come just naturally.

With the main character the whole spirit of the franchise is gone. What I like most about the Bourne trilogy is that it has unique mix of intellectual games and straightforward physical chase. It is a nice mix of big-headed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Mission Impossible. This mix allowed the trilogy to stand out and take a certain niche in the action movie market. With all the intelligence gone, this is just one more action movie, gone in two weeks and forgotten forever. Dig deeper and you see that even the physical bit is not up to par. The main chase of the film, partially happening on the rooftops, is not even remotely as good as the roof chase in the Bourne Ultimatum. Chase on the bikes is copied from previous Bournes again, and again it is boring to watch.

With no intellectual spy-flavoured chase and feeble physical chase, what is left? Hysterical doctor played by Rachel Weisz, incredibly silly plot which makes it virtually impossible to empathise with main characters, and very slow start of the action for no good reason. Why to watch this film? I have no idea.

There is another nice analogy in the film. When the agents were going through the file of Jason Bourne, they discovered that he was not taking the pills for a while, yet he was still causing trouble. It is the exact comparison I would like to make between the movies. Bourne Legacy is trying hard to be on par, it eats the pills prescribed by the producers (don’t kill Jason Bourne entirely and take Renner), yet it is still dull and boring compared to the (now evidently) brilliant and unique Bourne trilogy, which did not need any pills to be in a good shape and entertain us.

I can only hope that Bourne 5 will feature Matt Damon again.

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