As many know, I am a HUGE Jason Bourne fan. The original Bourne trilogy was a major influence on Leap: Rise of the Beast, so much so that I watched all three films every day the month leading up to shooting the film, as well as while we were shooting. Needless to say, when I heard that there was a fourth film coming out that would take the series in a new direction, I was super excited. I’m a Jeremy Renner fan, so learning that he was to take over as the lead, my expectations rose even higher.
The problem with high expectations is that when the film doesn’t deliver, you’re even more let down. That’s how I feel about The Bourne Legacy. With operations Treadstone and Blackbriar now exposed, the CIA decides to eliminate its experimental Outcome program. Outcome agents are genetically modified to be stronger, faster and smarter than any before them. This is achieved via green and blue pills called chems. Our new hero, Aaron Cross, escapes termination and enlists the help of a scientist to make the mental effects of the blue pill permanent.
The whole sci-fi spin with the chems was a major letdown. Part of what I loved about the original trilogy was the realism. I believed that a young man could be abused, brainwashed and trained into the agents of the first three movies. So the filmmakers wanted stronger agents-okay, give them the pills. But then to make it the driving plot point? Come on! It was difficult for me to buy into the story and care about the character. I didn’t feel like he’d been wronged as Jason Bourne had been. From the trailers, I was expecting Cross to be a new agent being trained and we would get to witness how that all goes down. The film even starts off that way, but once you realize he’s just on time out, the excitement went away. I did like the smaller scale of it though. It felt more like the first film, and for an offshoot, I felt that was a smart move.
About the action: I’m divided on this one. I liked the big fight scene on how Cross had to take on five or six people rather than just one. That was cool. I was happy to see some parkour with a wall run up onto a roof, however being a traceur myself, I could see that he was assisted by wires. The motorcycle chase was another story. While many criticize Paul Greengrass’ shakey cam, at least he had the shots wide enough you could follow the story and see what was going on. This chase in this film was not so fortunate. I struggled making heads or tails of what was happening.
I wanted to love this movie, I really did. However because it let down my expectations, it’ll be a tough film to love. I’m hoping it’ll be like Fast Five. In that one, I was expecting street racing and got a heist instead. On subsequent viewings, knowing what it was supposed to be, I was more able to enjoy it. Hopefully I’ll feel that way too about The Bourne Legacy.