Bourne missing action

03:58, Aug 30 2012
bourne legacy

About 10 minutes into The Bourne Legacy (M) it occurred to me that if Hollywood gets enough talent on board, it can get away with just about anything.

Take The Amazing Spider-man, for example. Only five years after Spider-man 3, Sony Pictures decided they could start the whole story again with a new director, a different cast and a few new spins on the character’s origins.

On paper it was a ridiculous proposition but the creative forces marshalled for the job brought the character to life in new and exciting ways.

As a result, The Amazing Spider-man was a critical and commercial hit.

The Bourne Legacy is an attempt by Hollywood to make millions more out of the hugely successful Bourne films starring Matt Damon.

When Damon and the director of the last two films, Paul Greengrass, announced they weren’t doing a fourth, the series’ producers started looking for new ways to keep the money train rolling. Eventually they decided that Tony Gilroy, the writer of the first three films, should be given the job of rebooting the franchise as both the writer and director of The Bourne Legacy.


Gilroy enlisted the help of his brother Dan and together they came up with an intelligent screenplay based on the idea that Bourne wasn’t the only scientifically enhanced CIA assassin out there with serious employment issues.

The character Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner, is a leaner and meaner “asset” whose biggest problem is that he is addicted to drugs developed by a secret operation know as Outcome; drugs that give him phenomenal speed, agility and strength. He is like Bourne on steroids.

Cleverly The Bourne Legacy is set during the events of the last film, The Bourne Ultimatum.

As Bourne is creating mayhem in New York and exposing the agency’s Operation Blackbriar, the decision is made to shut down Outcome, wiping out everyone involved in it, including its agents and the scientists involved in producing their meds.

Renner is joined in the cast by Edward Norton as the CIA boss bringing a bloody curtain down on Outcome’s operations and Rachel Weisz as a geneticist in harm’s way.

As I was saying earlier, about 10 minutes in, I got the feeling I was about to experience another example of talent triumphing over logic.

The film starts confidently, the cast is excellent and Gilroy showed with the George Clooney film Michael Clayton that he is a director to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately by the 20-minute mark that feeling was starting to fade and after 30 minutes it was gone for good.

The Bourne Legacy isn’t a bad film, it’s just not as good as the Damon-Greengrass ones and, as a result, serves as a vivid reminder of how good they were.

With Michael Clayton, Gilroy made a film packed with atmosphere, tension and suspense that boasted superb performances by Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swindon. Michael Clayton proved Gilroy is a great director of drama.

The Bourne Legacy proves he is a pretty average director of action.

It’s a film that is easy on the eye but offers little to stimulate the adrenal glands. Despite plenty of mayhem, the action feels flat-footed.

More than anything, though, the film sorely lacks the sense of utterly compelling urgency that Greengrass brings to all his films.

Bottom line: Dissapointing.