The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
[Note: If you haven't recently watched or are not terribly familiar with the "Bourne" series starring Matt Damon, you may want to read the Wikipedia recap of the first three films before proceeding with this review or watching "The Bourne Legacy."] "The Bourne Legacy" begins in the not-too-distant future after the Jason Bourne fiasco. Operation Outcome is a top-secret Department of Defense black ops agency that chemically enhances the physical and mental abilities of its agents by the use of stimulant drugs. When Operation Treadstone and Operation Blackbriar are publicly exposed, Retired Air Force Colonel Eric Byer (Norton) makes an executive decision to shut down Outcome and kill off all its remaining agents by fatally switching their medication or hunting them down and blowing them up. Aaron Cross (Renner), otherwise known as "Outcome 5," is one such agent. After narrowly escaping a missile strike while on a training mission in Alaska, Cross realizes that something has gone horribly wrong. He runs for his life, desperate for survival - and desperate for medication. After locating a doctor named Marta Shearing (Weisz) that he knew from his days back at the Outcome facility, he begs her to take him somewhere -anywhere - where he can get drugs to permanently enhance the skills his meds have caused an addiction to for years. What ensues is a global manhunt let by Byer to track down and neutralize the one super-agent that got away.
The Story: In typical "Bourne" fashion, this "Legacy" is an incredibly complex plot laced with unique political and scientific jargon. The fourth "Bourne" installment will keep you on the edge of your seat - not necessarily entirely from an action standpoint, but just so you can keep up with what the heck they're talking about on screen. Things get really jumbled up about half-way through the movie when they start discussing viral receptors, chromosomes, mitochondria, neuro regeneration, and genomic targeting. What?!? Also, several jarring transitions (flashbacks, etc.) make it difficult to follow the story's timeline.
The Acting: There are no Oscar-worthy performances here, although Jeremy Renner helped further solidify his spot as a Hollywood superstar in the last year and a half ("Mission: Impossible" 4, "The Avengers," and now the latest "Bourne" flick).
The Genre: "The Bourne Legacy" is comprised of two things: action and science. If you like action and you like science, this is the movie for you, my friend. The action is riveting, intense, and wall-to-wall for about 80% of the movie, but if you're looking for the typical spy thriller where you can put your brain on autopilot for two hours, this will probably be a little too much for you. There is some sketchy CGI work in a couple scenes (mainly one character jumping down from a tree toward the beginning of the movie and one of the motorcycle crashes), but, eh... You'll get over it.
All in all, if you're a fan of Matt Damon's "Bourne" trilogy, the fourth film will be right up your alley. As mentioned, however, if you had a tough time getting into the previous movies or are just looking for a casual movie where you can sit down, relax, and just enjoy some big bangs and a mindless plot, you'll want to consider looking elsewhere. As expected, this is a very "smart" movie and requires your full attention from start to finish if you're going to walk away satisfied. A word of caution to parents: With all the talk about violence in Hollywood and video games lately and, in light of recent events involving public shootings, it's likely still a little too soon to expose young kids to this type of an action movie. There are several scenes that made the Salt Lake City DVD Examiner squirm a little bit, even with most of the actual bloodshed implied off-screen. Keep that in mind when checking this movie out for the first time. With that being said, you may also be interested in: "The Bourne Identity" (2002), "The Bourne Supremacy" (2004), "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007).
Blu-ray bonus features:
- Audio in: English, English Descriptive Audio, French, Spanish
- Subtitles in: English, French, Spanish
- Optional audio commentary by directors
- Three deleted scenes with optional commentary*
- "Enter Aaron Cross"*
- "Crossing Continents: Legacy on Location"*
- "Man vs. Wolf"*
- "Wolf Sequence Test"*
- "Moving Targets: Aaron and Marta"*
- "Capturing Chaos: The Motorbike Chase"*
* - not available on rental version
Directed by: Tony Gilroy
Studio: Universal Pictures
Running time: 135 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for "violence and action sequences," including one particularly traumatizing and disturbing scene (mass murder/suicide), strong profanity (mostly the S-word), several moderately-offensive religious references, and drug use and addiction throughout.
Costars Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Zeljko Ivanek
Blu-ray release date: December 11, 2012
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