The fourth entry for the highly successful Bourne franchise is now helmed by the franchise's screenwriter, Tony Gilroy, and he chooses to shift the focus away from the main character, Jason Bourne, in favour of fellow covert government assassin, played by Jeremy Renner. This new protagonist is not without his issues, for he is rumoured to be brainwashed to become an assassin, and likely played a role in either Operation Treadstone or Blackbriar from the previous Bourne films. Rachel Weisz will co-star as his love interest, while Edward Norton will play the villain.
Review By Siti Munawirah Mustaffa
When former director of the Bourne franchise, Paul Greengrass, decided to pull out from the fourth film, together with Jason Bourne's Matt Damon, questions began to pop inside Bourne fans' heads: Will this latest sequel supersede 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum" under Tony Gilroy's direction? And will "The Bourne Legacy" be able to make it, even without the ultimate Bourne man?
To answer such questions, it's best for the reviewer to reveal the down sides of the film prior to letting out some positive remarks. The first half hour of the film is wasted just by placing a sole focus on Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), who is seen running across the snowy mountains of Alaska, without uttering a single word. Whilst it might be the director's intention to incite viewers' curiosities by slowly unfolding the layers of the story of ruthless government agents, led by CIA manager Eric Byer (Edward Norton), whose attempts are to eliminate guinea pigs trainees, the long introduction somewhat becomes bland, not placing Renner under any special limelight in a way which Damon did in the previous sequels.
Bourne followers who look forward to seeing action fuelled car chase and physical fistfights should be aware that the only excitements that keep the film alive and kicking would only come out during the motorcycle chase in Manila, Philippines. Those scenes, unfortunately, provide all of those familiar moves that one can already acquaint with most action flicks. If there's one major thing the film lacks, it's the thrill expected from an espionage related action film, despite having a wide selection of scenes being shot in various exciting locations around the world - added to the fact that Gilroy seems to overcomplicate the whole story with a series of convoluted dialogues that sound more gibberish than anything else.
The only strength of this film comes from the spectacular performances given out by talented casts such as Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz (who plays Dr. Marta Shearing). Those familiar with Renner in "The Hurt Locker" and "Marvel's The Avengers" would surely be pleased in seeing him pulling off the stunts in this one. It's also no surprise for the audience to be overwhelmed by the emotions let out by Weisz, as she plays the traumatized Dr. Marta Shearing so well, knowing her to be the excellent performer she is. The only drawback is that there is not much development made in both their characters as well as the connections between them, thus making the chemistry (including affections, if any) between them less engaging. Norton, a great actor who's known to always hold the cunning, confident role, seems to be rather under-utilised in this film as the villain. None of us knows what happens to Byer after the climactic chase as the film reaches its end. Perhaps it's a hint for another sequel? Only time will tell.
While it may not carry the consistent, stirring waves from the previous Bourne trilogy, "The Bourne Legacy" is not exactly a nadir of disappointment. It is, however, doubtful if the two and a half hour long film would leave a remarkably memorable impression on viewers, noting the fact that none of the characters, including top-dog Col. Eric Byer, even comes across as striking.
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