With the near collapse of the James Bond movie franchise I started to think that we don’t have enough super spies to rely on. We have the Mission Impossible series and the Bourne Series to compete with Bond. That’s it. While I love Ethan Hunt, The Bourne Series has never quite done it for me, primarily because the movies always end up becoming one long chase sequence. Just once I’d like to see the Outcome agents do some, you know, spying.
While the acting and storytelling in the Bourne franchise has always been enough to hold my interest, the action scenes have always been overdone and overly frenetic. I used to think this was primarily Director Paul Greengrass’ fault but after watching The Bourne Legacy maybe not. Or maybe Director Tony Gilroy is just continuing the style Greengrass started. It would make sense since Gilroy wrote the screenplay for The Bourne Identity and this one.
Whenever the camera is stationary and Gilroy gives the film time to breathe it is genuinely engaging but these moments are few and far between. Don’t misread that last sentence, there is a LOT of talking in this movie, but it comes across as a jumbled mess. Gilroy didn’t appear to have enough confidence in his screenplay because everything feels unnecessarily jumpy when it did not need to be.
In the first 10 minutes of the movie we visit 10 different international locations for no real reason. When we first meet Rachel Weisz’s character Dr. Marta Shearing it is via this weird 360 degree shaky cam shot of her walking into a lab.
Unlike Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne who had an invested interest in what he’s doing, Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross was only concerned about getting the pills he needed to survive. He never once questioned why the program was being terminated, or seemed particularly outraged at how the Government betrayed him. At least Jason seemed to have a purpose, he wanted to find out who he was and that forced him to confront the people who were after him. This movie boils down to being about an accomplished drug addict who needed a fix.
Gilroy does a great job with the movie’s pacing, I never felt the 2 hour runtime. The problem is Gilroy’s story goes nowhere, the movie feels like a big tease and setup for another series of movies. As I said in the beginning the M.I. and the Bond movies are always about something.
The Bourne films seem to only be about filming herky, jerky chases and frenetic fight scenes. These Outcome agents never seem to do ANYTHING other than be chased by a government that betrayed them. I love this cast; I just want to see them do more than what they are given. After a long 30 minute chase sequence, the movie had one of the most abrupt endings that I’ve seen in some time. It doesn’t really end, it just stops.
Final Grade C-