Aug 11, 2012

The Bourne Legacy Review

As a big fan of action thrillers (and a big fan of the Bourne series), I was sure not to miss The Bourne Legacy which opened in movie theaters across America this week-end.  Even if you say you're partial to the Bourne movies because of Matt Damon's exceptional portrayal of on-the-run, top secret government agent, Jason Bourne, you won't be disappointed with Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy.

Contrary to rumors, The Bourne Legacy does not replace Matt Damon's character with Jeremy Renner.  The two play two different agents in different places, working for Treadstone at a time when the agency has decided to "shut down" the project due to an intelligence failure. 

If you followed the original trilogy, you would recall that Jason Bourne was trying to break free of the agency and was fleeing for his life in his quest for "freedom".  Apparently one can't just quit this job like any other job.  But I'm not going to explain all that to you.  You need to either read the books by Robert Ludlum on which the movies were based, or take the time to enjoy the movies yourself.

In this new movie, Jeremy Renner plays Aaron Cross, an agent who's running for his life because everyone else in his division, as well as the laboratory doctors involved in their physical enhancement, are being eliminated, allowing no room for secrets to be leaked beyond the walls of the building in which the agents were regularly examined and briefed.

Edward Norton is one of Treadstone's co-heads and leads most of the search for all the agents that they are trying to "eliminate" from the project.  He appears to stay in control and has not been tainted with suspicion by the investigators who are already on the case of the intelligence failure which led to Treadstone's aggressive tries to cover all tracks.

Rachel Weisz is a natural at playing a normal scientist who is just doing her job, until a colleague at the lab goes beserk and starts killing everyone she worked with.  She suddenly finds herself a target by killer secret agents as well. She's no superhero and is very believable as someone who is running scared for her life.  If not for the help of Aaron Cross, who seeks her out in order to obtain more "performance-enhancing" meds, her character would've said "bye-bye" at the first quarter of the movie.

A great part of the movie took place in Manila, which surprised me because I'm a Filipina American and lived in Manila for a short time.  There were a lot of action scenes and suspenseful parts that take place there.  These scenes keep you at the edge of your seat in some and feeling out of breath from being chased in others.  (I guess that would mean their acting was very good!).

If you wanted to compare Matt Damon's Jason Bourne with Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross, one thing you could contrast is their character.  Jason Bourne did not originally remember who he was or why he became this exceptionally skillful and quick killing agent.  As he began to question himself and remember bits and pieces of his past, he began to seek answers from the agency he worked for and found himself being hunted down in the process.

Aaron Cross, on the other hand, seems to already know who he was before he became an agent.  He shows Dr. Shearing (Rachel Weisz) his image and bio posted on a Fallen Heroes website.  There's nothing revealed that would lead you to think he wanted his old life back (like Jason Bourne does).  This movie is more focused on Aaron and the doctor trying to escape from whoever it is that is after them.  What Aaron Cross wants to do with his life is more of a question that the writers and producers probably want to keep for a future installment on this series if this movie meets their $$$ expectations.
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