NSFCCDP Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy (2012) – Jeremy Renner in the spotlight

There is a slight drought in Sci-Fi since Looper doesn’t come out here until October 31, so 2112.net and I went to see The Bourne Legacy for the October NSFCCDP outing. I like Jeremy Renner in Avengers as Hawkeye and was interested to see how he would do here. Interestingly enough, he is NOT Jason Bourne but rather Aaron Cross – agent #5 from the ill-fated Treadstone program. Now, I am coming a little late to the whole Bourne movie thing. Yes, I read all the books when I was a teenager and fascinated with them as well as the Clancy books which were all fashionable at the time (mid-80’s). But to be honest, Matt Damon is on the list of actors that I really don’t like all that much (with Ben Stiller in particular) and so I skipped the first three. Reading Wikipedia and other reviews, it seems I might have missed out, especially with the Bourne Ultimatum which apparently overlaps this particular film. I won’t re-hash the plot, but rather speak to what I liked and didn’t like about this movie. Renner’s performance was pretty good overall – for a small guy, he packs a lot of punch. The Alaskan mountain range crossing was exciting and interesting – although a bit pointless it turns out. In fact, we never quite learn what he is doing in Alaska, where the training is supposed to lead…we are left a bit in the dark about him. Meanwhile, alarms go off in Washington (ostensibly due to Jason Bourne’s New York escape covered in the Ultimatum movie) and he becomes a target. I thought the scene where he fights a wolf quite impressively shot. After the lab assassination, I am not sure that the press would have leaked the name of the surviving doctor, so Cross finding her just before the agents try to wipe her out was a bit hard to believe. Their platonic love affair was a little on the ridiculous side – a bit too chaste. I liked how the agency was chasing them via various surveillance cameras as they escaped to Manila. The action there was OK, but the (long!) chase scene was pretty interesting. There was this impression that the film had gone on too long so they quickly killed off the Terminator agent dude on the motorcycle (#2 of the “new” program) and sent off the lovebirds on a gasoline boat in the Philippine islands while the government wrung its hands over revelations and denials of Blackbriar, Treadstone, etc. Overall, I liked the action and the special effects. I had issues basically with the plot line which was hard to believe at several points (how could they possibly lose the entire Manila police force in a matter of minutes? who busted up his face before his interview where he woudl rather have stayed in the hospital) . The whole relationship between he and Byar is a bit strange because Byar seems to like him and feel sorry for him to some degree, but he is still driven to eliminate him in cold blood.  The character of Aaron Cross is pretty one-dimensional and although Renner does a good job, it really doesn’t push him all that mich in my opinion. I’d say that the film is entertaining but that it will not go down as a “great” action film but more of an also-ran. It would be great to see a movie dedicated to Hawkeye to see what Renner would do with a more original script and a less constrained character to play.

My NSFCCDP rating: 6/10.

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About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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3 Responses to NSFCCDP Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy (2012) – Jeremy Renner in the spotlight

  1. Ed M. says:

    I’ve inexplicably missed all of the Bourne films, as well as the Mission Impossible flicks, even though action films are a big part of my filmgoing milieu, and they sound like pretty cool movies too. Maybe it’s that dislike of the lead actors (Damon/Cruise) that you mentioned.

  2. yaykisspurr says:

    Hi! I’m glad you saw this one even if you didn’t love it. I found it rather excellent myself but different tastes and all that.

    Renner’s character was in Alaska to pass the final test before going into deep cover. He went across the mountains because he was freaked out that his “smart” pills wouldn’t last the whole trip. In fact his driving force the entire movie was to retain his smarts. The accident that drove him into the program in the first place caused brain damage that the pills fixed. This is perhaps the most ludicrous part of the premise in my opinion but cornerstone to the plot so you either go with it or totally hate the movie.

    The politics behind the plot were that Byar was brought in to fix this major intelligence breach that if revealed to the public would end a whole host of careers. To fix that breach he was to eliminate the programs that would do the worst damage. He had extensive history with Renner and basically what we saw was a visual look at the guilt he felt at eliminating Renner but as that was his job he wouldn’t not take him out either.

    As for the “love story” I felt it one of the most real parts of the film. You wouldn’t think a bit about sex when at any moment you can be reduced to the brain power of a rock, especially when this was his worst fear come to life. The girl fell for him because he represented a physical manifestation of what she was almost killed for as well as her work being a success. It wasn’t really about physical things. She wasn’t even sure she liked him that way until the chase scene where she risks herself to call out to him. Of course they are both good looking and the attraction is there so we can see something more coming of the relationship.

    I love this type of movie because there is so much that we learn without being told…this isn’t up everyone’s alley though. Still at least you enjoyed that looooooooooooooooooong chase scene at the end 🙂 Cheers!!

  3. Pingback: NSFCCDP – 2012 – The Film Year in Review: A Bumper Crop! | Fino's Weblog

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