Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: The Bourne Legacy

To celebrate the end of summer, school started today, yesterday I took daughter #2 to town for lunch and a movie. Okay, she became my date, because I wanted to review this movie and her dad wasn’t available. But I bribed her with shopping for a first day of high school outfit afterwards. There are a lot of things I like about the Bourne Legacy, but many things I wish were better, but let’s start with the positives…
and the biggest  positive is definitely Jeremy Renner, who plays Aaron Cross, a second generation Tredstone agent ( I talked a lot about him and my expectation for Bourne Legacy in this post So James Bond's wife is running away with Jason Bourne?), so wont say it again, but he is a pleasure to watch! I am very glad Renner is getting more leads, his next movie is  a remake of Hansel and Gretal...apparently he is a bad ass Hansel)
Of course, always enjoy Rachel Weisz, since she was the pretty, "bad ass" damsel along side Brenden Frazier in the Mummy Franchise...

I think there is still a lot that can be done with the Bourne Franchise and they will have a better go of it, going forward with Aaron Cross stories, instead of plot in a "prequel", I think the Bond franchise got lucky with that and the Star Treck franchisde crashed and burned. It is always easier to go forward than backwards. We shall see on the Hobbit!

Now for the not so positive... and I feel like a broken record... there just wasn't a lot of "meat" for Renner and Weisz to work with,.........again, the script was weak. I know, it was a no brainer, action flick, but that doesn't mean the story can't be good, which I talked about here...."I do like summer blockbusters"

To be honest, the Bourne Legacy felt like it should be named "A Bourne Primer", such a large amount of the 2 hour and 15 minute movie was spent setting up new characters in an old trilogy and being a fly on the wall of the CIA "how to we clean up our mess" meetings that's purpose was to inform or re-inform the viewer about the Tredstone history, there was little time to have a fullfilling, action packed story unroll itself.
Worse,Bournse Legacy used a penny pinching technique I call "just after" which was the demise of a quickly forgotten blockbuster from a few years ago that I reviewed here
I hate this and it ruined The Last Airbender in my opinion and couldn't believe when I saw it sneak into Bourne Legacy, where in one big scene, Renner pours gas all over Weisz's mansion in the woods, upstairs, downstairs, all around for a long time and then hands Weisz the lighter to torch her house and hide the evidence and a few dead "bad" agents who were sent to kill her. Next  whoosh of flames, no close up of the under restoration mansion being set a blaze. None,  the next scene was the two running through the woods, where in the far, far distance you see a probably CGI imige of a house a flame through the trees. Really?
Much was focused on the pills these super agents were needing to take to keep their bodies from rejecting the genetic alterations. A very confusing and long "set up" between two agents in deep snow Alaska happened that never really was "payed off" and so I wonder why they spent so much time on what seemed unnecessary.
Also, unnecessary and not entertaining at all and too close to real, was a calculated massacre in the drug lab by a scientist, a little too close to the mass killing as of late. A quick bang, bang, bang and then Weisz being clever and running would have taken half the time.
Plus, I hate it when we are asked to suspend belief in the rules of the universe and I am not talking about the amazing stunts in action movies, no motorcycles can not do that in real life, fine, it is fun to watch. I am talking about, not to be more of a spoiler than I am, you don't "detox" from your genetic altering virous drugs,  "almost die" in the night and then in the morning, run across tin roof tops above the street of Manila, with no ill effect. Fine be a super agent, but maybe puff a little, slip a little, sweat a little, demostrate a bit of the human side, something I have complained about in other action movies....
Angelina Joli never looks bad, never a hair out of place, never is  frustrated or takes a wrong step. Brad Pit, on the other hand, is endearing, because he shows he is actual human., tripping around, almost dropping bombs on his feet, funny.
There is an adage for writers in Hollywood, "never make the actor look bad" which is such a shame because it is in the human moments, even they are sandwiched in between the action moments, that we connect.
There is more, much more "just after" scenes, but that is enough to point out. It could be in the script, it could be in the budget, where the producers thought they had to scrimp everywhere else to have their cool chase scene  through the streets of Manila.
Yeah, another "just after" clean up scene ends the movie, but won't spoil it for you. Let us hope it is in the editing  and there will be a great Directors Cut version.
I like the Bourne Franchise, I'm not surprise they are wanting to milk it some more, and hopefully the next Bourne film will come soon, to finish the story, cause it certainly had no resolution at the end of this one, more a "intermission"!
Checked the IMDB site and am not seeing Renner dubbed to be in another Bourne movie. He is working on another Mission Impossible, #5..............yeah, don't get me started!