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The Designated Damon!

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THE BOURNE LEGACY (2012) Director: Tony Gilroy Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach Rating: PG-13 for some explosions, guns going off, and other spy vs. spy action.

The Bourne Legacy is a spinoff to the popular Jason Bourne spy movie series starring Matt Damon. A quick reminder; a spinoff is where a very minor character from a good movie is given his or her own film, and the results are usually sucktacular. For an example, I sight the 2011 abomination Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, which was spun off from the High School Musical series.

Do not get me started about Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. YOU NEVER MESS WITH A HIT! That’s all I have to say.

Actually, The Bourne Legacy is a “sidequel” to the Jason Bourne movies, with the action of Legacy taking place almost simultaneously with one of Damon’s three Bourne adventures.

Trouble is I’m not really sure which movie… I know it was the one where Jason Bourne was running around and making phone calls, and he fights a bunch of assassins, and they cut back to the CIA chiefs who shout “find Jason Bourne” over and over…

Is that the second one? No, it was the third one; The Bourne Equilibrium. Is that the title? I’m confused. And my back hurts.

Anyhoo, as The Bourne Legacy opens, the once secret events of the previous Bourne movies have gone public, and the big muckety-mucks in Washington are anxious to know how and why everyone working for the CIA (except maybe the janitors and cafeteria personnel) is trying to kill Jason Bourne and vice versa. Secret Ops overseer Eric Byer (a cranky Edward Norton), who’s a little peeved that one amnesiac loner has offed almost every covert assassin in the CIA’s Rolodex, decides to shut down the secret project that made Jason Bourne the one man killing machine he is today.

 It turns out Jason Bourne is just one of a small army of CIA “super soldiers” (from a unit known as Operation Outcome) who have been genetically altered to be better, stronger and more secret agent-ier than your average spy.  And since the CIA doesn’t “shut down” anything by merely asking people to clean out their desks and turn in their I.D. badges, (this is the movies, after all) we all know things are about to get messy.

Fellow Operation Outcome member Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) learns the hard way that his services are no longer required when a spy drone tries to blow up the huge chunk of Alaska he happens to be standing in at that particular moment. A little miffed about his crappy severance package, and jonesing for the “chems” that will keep him in tip top super soldier condition, Cross sets out to get some answers using his spy skills: cleverly avoiding every closed circuit camera in the country because the CIA can monitor every one of those at the same time, picking up his phony passport collection from his secret stash, and driving cross country in just a couple of hours. He is a super soldier after all. They don’t need bathroom breaks!

Cross hopes CIA genetics whiz Marta Shering (Rachel Weisz), one of the scientists who created the super soldier pills will be able to help him replenish his dwindling supply, but she’s been targeted for early retirement too because she’s part of the many loose ends that is Operation Outcome and she can’t fake an American accent for a tinker’s darn!

Now Cross and his pretty scientist pal are on the run trying to escape the remaining assassins Jason Bourne hasn’t killed so they can live free to be a covert spy and genetic engineer without the pesky CIA looking over their shoulders. Isn’t that what everyone wants?

Sadly, if you’ve seen The Bourne Identity, its two sequels, and every movie that has ripped off The Bourne Identity and its two sequels, there’s nothing very new or unique about The Bourne Legacy, because it’s pretty much like every other “rogue spy” thriller we’ve seen in the last nine years.

Sure, there’s plenty of gunplay and fisticuffs, which is always good, and Jeremy Renner is a decent stand in for Matt Damon, whose salary demands are probably in the billions of dollars by now, but I think maybe it’s time to give the Jason Bourne movies a rest for a while.

Then a few years down the road, you can reboot the series with Jason Bourne’s son picking up where his Dad left off!

They can call it The Bourne Conception…

You’re welcome, movie studio guys.

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