The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray Review

One of my pet peeves with some movie critics is when they spend the whole review comparing a sequel to the original or comparing the movie to a book.  Although everything has to be considered, I’ve always been under the belief that movies should be judged by themselves, without the weight of their predecessors, or other movies bringing them down.  So I find myself frustrated with THE BOURNE LEGACY because I can’t seem to write two sentences without comparing it to one of the three prior Bourne films.

Jeremy Renner and Edward Norton in The Bourne Legacy

Of course, that’s not entirely my fault since THE BOURNE LEGACY takes place during THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (and half of that movie fills a gap in THE BOURNE SUPREMACY) and you either see stock photos of Matt Damon or hear Jason Bourne’s name mentioned every five minutes for the entire film.  They could have had a life-size cardboard cut-out of Matt Damon running around and been more subtle. Director Tony Gilroy had a hand in the first three films, so it’s only natural he would tie this one in closely with those films, but I thought he laid on the Jason Bourne references pretty heavily, especially since they were trying to establish Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) as his successor.

Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz in The Bourne Legacy

Because of this, the film definitely feels like a Bourne movie, albeit a lesser version of one.  The hero this time is Aaron Cross, who was a part of another Treadstone-like program the CIA was running to create super soldiers.  But Cross isn’t suffering from memory loss, his goal is to stay alive after the CIA orders the termination of everyone associated with the various programs.  He also wants to keep popping those little pills that are making him a super soldier and that leads him into the arms of Marta (Rachel Weisz), a doctor who’s trying to stay alive as well.  Together, they travel to the Philippines in search of more pills, all the while escaping assassins and CIA agents trying to kill them.

Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz in The Bourne Legacy

So, let’s get this out of the way; THE BOURNE LEGACY is a significant step down from the prior Bourne movies, mainly because Jeremy Renner isn’t nearly as likable as Matt Damon.  One of the things that made the other films so great was that we couldn’t help but get behind and care for Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne.  Both Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass worked hard to establish Bourne as a character audiences could root for.  It’s hard to root for Aaron Cross since the only thing we know about him is that he needs pills to keep his abilities.  We don’t even care if he gets his pills or not since it’s tough to care whether he lives or dies.  He’s the focal character, so we naturally have investment in him, but at the end of the day, he’s just another action star.

Edward Norton in The Bourne Legacy

The other downside to Legacy is that we don’t get a whole lot of “spy” stuff.  The Waterloo scene in Ultimatum that featured Bourne trying to help the reporter was great because it showed off his spy skills.  You can even go through Identity and find great spy stuff that was missing in Legacy.  Legacy was more about Cross beating up the bad guys and saving the girl, where the other Bourne films were about a guy trying to figure out who he was.  In other words, THE BOURNE LEGACY has the action, it just doesn’t have the heart.

I’m a huge fan of the first three Bourne films, so from the beginning, it was hard for me to get behind the whole idea of THE BOURNE LEGACY.  Jeremy Renner did a better job than I thought he would, but the film just can’t live up to the strong “legacy” the first three films established.  With that said, I think there’s plenty in here to keep audiences happy, but I think most people will still be hoping Matt Damon comes back for the fifth film.


Video:  THE BOURNE LEGACY looks great, especially during the colorful chase scene in the Philippines.

Audio: The audio is also pretty great, utilizing the 7.1 mix wonderfully.

Edward Norton in The Bourne Legacy

Audio Commentary with Director /co-writer Tony Gilroy, co-writer Dan Gilroy, editor John Gilroy, director of photography Robert Elswit, second unit director Dan Bradley and production designer Kevin Thompson: That’s a lot of people on one commentary, but if you want the nitty gritty of the film then this is a must watch. These guys will give you every detail you ever wanted to know about THE BOURNE LEGACY.

Deleted Scenes (6:59): Three scenes with optional commentary from the director and friends. These are pretty lame and not really worth the time unless you just can’t get enough of the film.

Re-Bourne (6:02): A little featurette about the problem of trying to continue the Bourne series without Jason Bourne. Pretty interesting watch.

Enter Aaron Cross (7:02): This is about Jeremy Renner taking on a new character in the franchise but adapting it in his own way.

Crossing Continents (7:59): A featurette that talks about the locations used in the film.

Moving Targets (6:01): Cast and crews talking about the plot lines of Aaron and Marta.

Man vs. Wolf (5:01): A short bit about Jeremy Renner’s encounters with wolves of the real, hybrid and animatronic varieties.

Wolf Sequence Test (1:59): Animated storyboard for the wolf sequence.

Capturing Chaos: The Motorbike Chase (7:58): This is about the filming of the big motorcycle chase.

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