Tuesday Aug 14 2012
Watch the first three ‘Bourne Legacy’ versions instead
By: Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
“The Bourne Legacy” Directed by Tony Gilroy Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton Rating: Two out of five stars Watch the first three ‘Bourne Legacy’ versions instead By Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger The spy movie genre received such a major shake-up with the Jason Bourne movies that even 007 himself, James Bond, started emulating the style of Bourne’s adventures. Now, the franchise that was a shot in the arm for espionage thrillers seems like it needs a pick-me up of its own. After three successful outings starring Matt Damon, the filmmakers decided to tell another side of the story with an entirely different character in the lead role. Jeremy Renner stars as Aaron Cross, an operative like Bourne but with chemically-enhanced physical and cognitive abilities. Cross isn’t naturally gifted and, without his super-secret spy vitamins, he’s pretty much just a dumb operative. When the organization he works for decides to erase all evidence of his program (killing all of the employees, for example), Cross must enlist the help of a scientist to make his spy powers permanent to be savvy enough to stay alive. The problem with “The Bourne Legacy” is that it’s pretty much a Jason Bourne movie, just without Damon. All three of the previous films followed the same basic plot structure. With a new spy in the mix, I would expect the filmmakers to take the franchise in a different direction instead of continuing to spin their wheels. The result is a been-there, done-that feeling that permeates the film’s proceedings. Renner makes for a competent replacement but his talents are wasted on a watered-down plot. Also, there are a few decent action scenes that are reminiscent of a drowning swimmer gasping for air because the film doesn’t pace them properly in order to maintain momentum. Perhaps worst of all is that the film is simply boring. There’s so much white-noise gobbledygook that I almost forgot that an actor of Edward Norton’s caliber was even in the film. Franchise reboots are a tough business and “The Bourne Legacy” stumbles mightily with this attempt. It only does enough to remind you that three superior movies exist and are much more worthy of your time. Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer.