I don’t know whether i can call this movie a reboot attempt or a disjointed sequel from the first three Bourne series, all i know it is just another expansion from Robert Ludlum Bourne novel’s universe. With all the mixed-to-negative reviews i’ve been hearing (not reading though, do not want ANY spoilers!), i could not help but to drag a friend to watch the first showing when it finally screen at Blitzmegaplex PVJ.
Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is a special Outcome agent, with enhanced physical and mental abilities, dubbed as Number Five, who got deployed to Alaska for a training assignment where he met another agent code-named Number Three, who then got killed when an operation to eliminate all Outcome assets destroys the cabin where they stayed at. The operation carries out by Eric Byer (Edward Norton) under the supervision of Blackbriar’s Noah Vosen (David Stratenhairn) and CIA Director Erza Kramer (Scott Glenn). The operation also includes the termination disguised as a masacre in a science facilities, where they produced the physical and mental enhancer, where a scientist kills all his colleagues and then commits suicide, leaving Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) as the lone survivor. Cross, in attempts to gain access to his enhancer drugs saved Shearing from being killed by CIA assassins. And thus, the chase begun…
For the first 20-30 minutes, i just sat there in the theatre, wonders if i’m the only one who did not understand ANYTHING happen on screen. The dialogue was concise but pregnant with espionage terminology that i did not understand, the scenes were well captured but almost seems disjointed, unrelated from one to the other, the plot is a big blur for me at that point. When the story reaches its turning point (when Cross saves Shearing), the knots started to unravel and puzzles started to fit. This is not another story about Bourne but rather revolve around something triggered by Bourne. Jason Bourne did not physically exist in the movie (merely as a wanted poster on TV or a name scratch onto a wooden bunkbed) but i can see how this movie is a reaction to Bourne actions. While still loyal to espionocracy, government vs agents storyline, The Bourne Legacy has a scientific edge to it. The premise was actually quite feasible, human gene alteration by virus to create neurological behavioral design. Basically, redesigning these human into agents to suits government need, not only enhancing the physical and cognitive responses, but also can eliminate unwanted human emotion, like what can be seen in LARX-3 (another version of energizer bunny killing machine, much like The Raid’s Mad Dog if you will, which benefits from the lack of humane emotion). One thing that i still question, despite the drawback that explains about Aaron Cross’s past and his dependency to the drugs, was why did he join in the program in the first place? A possible hook for a further sequel i hope.
The cinematographer, Robert Elswit captures the motion in this movie beautifully, still keeping the cool-toned palette of Bourne series and combining steadicams and hand-helds. The movie involve several major chase scenes that includes Parkour-ing across the rooftops and motorcycle chase in the crowded streets of manila. Since this movie was shot in several location abroad; like Alberta, Canada (as a sub for Alaska); Seoul, South Korea; and also El-Nido, Palawan and Manila, Philipines (potrayed like Bangkok were in Hangover II); I imagine it is quite hard to navigate the action shoots in the traffic condition of Manila (which was quite heavy but still better than Jakarta, imho). When asked why he choses Manila, Tony Gilroy said that he did not want to go to Europe (since it had been done in previous Bourne series) and went to Southeast Asia instead. He and the producer travelled to Jakarta (Indonesia), Ho Chi Min City (Viet Nam), and Manila, and felt that the last destination felt so Bourne-ish, gritty and raw (pep.ph). This actually explains why they had a premiere there, 5 days before the US release. Wouldn’t it be so abso-frickin-lutely awesome if he were to chose Jakarta though and had a premiere here instead?
I think Jeremy Renner is a legit enough actor to pull off the lead of the series, giving the character enough charm and wry humor, and despite his still murky background. I found him to be more fun and grounded than Damon’s Bourne.
Although, i have to say i miss his Hawkeye-esque arm porn and think he should wear sleeveless shirt for the entire movie. Rachel Weisz, is her usual amazing self, serve as a female counterpart to Renner, it is still unclear what kind of relationship they developed maybe more of a companionship and equal dependency rather than damsel in distress romance, but i like that she’s not falling into the stereotypical sexualized female. I did not expect to see Norton here wondering if the salt and pepper hair made him look way older and mature, sort-of as the main villain of the movie, without having a direct confrontation to Cross but more as a man behind all the evil plan.
The Bourne Legacy has been getting mixed reviews by movie critics, some saying it’s pale in comparison with the previous trilogy. I personally enjoyed this 135-minute movie (dare i say, more than the original trilogy? but hey thats just me). Despite the murky beginning and the end that came almost way too soon, it ends with a delicious possibility of a further sequel. In its opening weekend, The Bourne Legacy grossed approximately $38.7 million in the United States and Canada and debuted at #1 of the box office charts, surpassing Universal’s expectation of $35 million. It grossed $46.6 million worldwide in its first weekend. So far, this movie has earned $130 million world wide (fingers crossed fo a sequel?).
The Bourne Legacy has been screened since August 22nd on IMAX (at Gandaria City, Jakarta) and August 27th on Blitzmegaplex and CinemaXXI. Available in 35mm and digital 2D format. No news about home media release yet but the thrilling soundtrack by James Newton Howard has been released digitally on August 7th. The soundtrack includes Moby’s Extreme Ways as the end credit songs following the tradition of the previous Bourne movies.
all pictures are taken from IMDB
I re-watch the movie again on September 4th, i was immersed by the first half of the movie (yes i’m aware most people found it boring) but i think they are setting quite a solid foundation for further sequels. More questions raised and need answering, i want the damn sequels to happen. Obviously.