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The Bourne Legacy (2012) Movie Review

April 22, 2013

I’m one of the few who wasn’t particularly excited by the original Bourne trilogy. Perhaps it was the shaky cam, the lack of clearly understandable motivations of characters, or just hype killing all chance of really enjoying the movie. Either way, because of the low expectations set by critics for The Bourne Legacy, I was pleasantly surprised by the film. I read many critics complain that for an action movie this was mostly dialog. Thankfully, it is some of the most gripping dialog and moves at a fast pace that kept my attention for a long time. Tony Gilroy demonstrates once again that he has the ability to entrap viewers he displayed so keenly in “Michael Clayton.”

“The Bourne Legacy” is only tangentially related to the original trilogy, such that you will likely still be able to enjoy it if you haven’t seen the original films. Some mention is made to a character known as Jason Bourne but he is just there to explain why certain high level officials are being indicted for helping him. The central focus of the story is Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) as he learns that the people who genetically engineered soldiers have decided to kill them off and junk the program, including him. The film always gives enough of a clear explanation for why the characters go where they do, and this gives it a fresh level of immediacy, especially in the second half of the film. Jeremy Renner is later joined by Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) as the government turns against her as well. Both give compelling performances that make you care what happens to them.

The plot is heavy on science and the dialog is littered with names of secret projects that can at times be hard to keep track of. Still, things are explained frequently enough that you never feel any more in the dark than the characters. The film is propelled forward by a pounding electronic score from James Newton Howard. Most of the time, it blends with the film so well that most viewers won’t notice it. The score is heavy on percussion and synth, opting for minimalist action music over sweeping themes.

Fans of the original trilogy expecting to see more of the same style of action as the focus of the film will be understandably disappointed with the approach Tony Gilroy takes the series. Fans of Michael Clayton style of conspiracy driven thriller will be glad the film takes a more cerebral direction, while still displaying a few solid action sequences.
4/5

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