For many people, The Bourne series of films with Matt Damon revitalized the action genre. With a frenetic new style, incredible fight choreography, and an enigmatic hero in Jason Bourne, a new franchise was upon us. Matt Damon has stated he would love to come back to the character again after 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, but he didn’t like the latest script the studio was offering up. So they went with a new story and a new hero with The Bourne Legacy.
The intelligence community is reeling from their top secret conspiracies and operations being exposed by Pamela Landy and Jason Bourne. They decide they must erase all traces of their other programs including the agents involved in them. But Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) narrowly escapes his execution and goes on the run to finish what Jason Bourne started. Cross was genetically engineered in the same way as Bourne and uses his special abilities to not only find a way out of the situation alive, but also to protect Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a doctor who was involved in the program.
I had heard mixed reviews of The Bourne Legacy going into the film, as well as all the talk while the movie was being made about Damon not liking the script and so on. So going into the film with no real expectations, I quite enjoyed what I ended up with. The Bourne Legacy differs from the Damon pictures on a few points. First off, it is not an outright action film. Legacy is almost more of a sci fi thriller in that it has a great deal to do with the actual engineering of the secret agents and what their lives are like. It goes into more detail about their training and what is done to these operatives, physically and mentally. I found this aspect of the story fascinating. When the action does hit at about the halfway mark, it is very well done and holds up well against the action in the Damon films, although maybe a little less elaborate. Still highly enjoyable though. Renner proves again that he does have a charisma that can hold a film together as a leading man, although he really does come across as more of an ‘ordinary Joe in extraordinary circumstances’ kind of leading man. Weisz is her usual excellent self; I don’t think I have ever not liked a performance of hers. Even in a role like this, playing a woman thrown into an entirely unfamiliar world, she still has a regality and independence about her that is engaging. Overall, I think The Bourne Legacy is a welcome addition to the series and a bit of a departure, which is welcome.
The Blu-ray from Universal is excellent and easily holds up to all of the other great Bourne transfers. The picture is full of amazing detail and striking clarity, with great colors and natural flesh tones. The soundtrack is all there too, from the atmospherics of the wilderness to the surround details of the big city. A great disc for a surprise of a film. Recommended.
Available December 11, 2012 on Blu-ray and DVD.