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93 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Legacy continues!
I confess I am addicted to this series of movies, but this one is quite different as it delves into the science behind the agents in the 'Program'. Don't expect Jeremy Renner to replace Matt Damon, as this is not the intent. Renner is quite a good actor in his own right, and has risen in the ranks of action stars recently, most notably as 'Hawkeye' in the Avengers. The...
Published on December 15, 2012 by redwings90

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bourne Legacy
This film should not be associated with the bourne films. It seemed as if someone created a script that just had one thing after another happen and then they put bourne in the title..
Published on December 20, 2012 by Dana


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93 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Legacy continues!, December 15, 2012
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I confess I am addicted to this series of movies, but this one is quite different as it delves into the science behind the agents in the 'Program'. Don't expect Jeremy Renner to replace Matt Damon, as this is not the intent. Renner is quite a good actor in his own right, and has risen in the ranks of action stars recently, most notably as 'Hawkeye' in the Avengers. The Bourne Legacy starts slow, but picks up tempo quite quickly as it intertwines with the plot of the Bourne Ultimatum. There is a great supporting cast including Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz. The car chase is replaced by motorcycles, but in all a great follow up to the previous three movies. If you liked them, this will not disappoint.
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164 of 187 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A movie in search of a director, August 11, 2012
Other reviewers have already recounted much of the plot. So, I'll skip that and go to a critique of the production itself.

I gave this an overall rating of four stars because I found the movie to be interesting, engaging, with a good story and some really good action scenes. I found that I cared about the primary characters - Renner and Weisz. This tells me that the characters were fairly well developed and interesting

Renner's character, Aaron Cross, would have been more compelling if more of his backstory came out sooner, and if his pathetic origin were presented differently. I think Weisz' character could have used more backstory too - all I know about her is that she's an attractive scientist with a top secret clearance.

The story is really good. But this movie could have been a classic if the plot were tightened up and presented differently - too much dialogue where 'showing' instead of 'talking' would have got it across to the viewer better - this is especially true during the first part of the film.

The camera work was excellent. With more experience, I think Gilroy's skills in this area will improve to a level near Greengrass' excellent abilities. Also, there's lots of good acting in this movie.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the critics are currently tabulating at 51% positive, while the audience is at 70%. I think the critics (overall) are getting it wrong - primarily, I think, because they're comparing it to the high standards set by the previous Bourne movies.

This is a high-quality production that tells a good story. In addition, I felt an emotional connection with the main characrters - I cared about them. For these reasons, I strongly recommend it.
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56 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clue for the 5th Bourne movie?, September 7, 2012
This review is from: The Bourne Legacy (DVD)
When the doctor (talented Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz) puts Aaron Cross (equally-excellent 2-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner) "under" in order to perform medical tests on him, she asks him to count backwards from 100. Probably very few people realized that he said, "You are beautiful...ninety-nine...ninety-eight...ninety-seven...." IN RUSSIAN. When non-native speakers of a language have to "think arithmetic," they almost always revert to their native language. Hmm... Perhaps there is more to Aaron Cross than meets the eye???
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Movie, December 25, 2012
This movie was surprisingly good after it got some pretty bad reviews. With a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I expected it to be a disappointment but this movie was engaging, action-packed, and very similar to the other Bourne movies. Its not a carbon copy of the 3 previous Bourne movies, but it still has incorporated the aspects of them and had it's own little twists. Great movie. I definatly recommend it. I'm a Bourne movie fan myself and this movie is another great installation.
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124 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the Bourne franchise, July 17, 2012
The Bourne Legacy does not feature Matt Damon's character, Jason Bourne. Instead a new agent, Aaron Cross played by Jeremy Renner, is introduced. Aaron Cross is similar to Jason Bourne in many ways and there are hints that he is a genetically improved version of the agents that Treadstone created. Rachel Weisz plays Cross' romantic interest, Edward Norton plays the main antagonist, and Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Albert Finney, and Scott Glenn return as Landy, Vosen, Hirsch and Kramer, respectively, all from previous Bourne installments.

The movie also attempts to tie in the previous Bourne movies and their plots into this installment. Most interesting about this movie is that it builds on what we have learned in the last three movies, but promises that Jason Bourne was just the beginning and that the conspiracy is much larger than just the Treadstone project.

After Treadstone was revealed by Bourne and Landy at the end of the third movie the CIA and top government officials attempt to erase all traces of Operation Outcome which includes disposing of Aaron Cross. Operation Outcome is similar to Treadstone in that it creates assassins but the main difference is that the Outcome agents are 'created' with the use of genetic modification. The central plot of the movie revolves around Renner's character, Aaron Cross, as he attempts to find more pills to sustain his super strength, intellect and ability, while dodging men sent to eliminate him and other Outcome agents.

The movie itself started very slowly while they attempted to tie in everything from the last Bourne movie into this. New scenes were inserted into Bourne film #3 to explain why the CIA was attempting to eliminate Project Outcome and then moves towards silencing Landy. While it is much slower paced than the last Bourne film, the action scenes that were shown were amazing! The rooftop chase was my favorite, and the ending seems much more carefree than the last three Bourne movies. They also introduce LARX, another program where agents were genetically improved, and one of their agents goes after Cross. Without any ties to Treadstone or Outcome, LARX seems to be given a free pass. I wish more of that was explored or that the antagonist was harder to eliminate. Hopefully there will be more to come!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Breed of Bourne, August 10, 2012
The Bourne Legacy explodes with all the typical screen-writing panache, exotic locations, explosive action sequences, hand-to-hand combat, and car chases that we've lovingly come to expect from any movie in the Bourne franchise, and it was so awesome to finally get to experience one of these movies again after Gilroy's 5-year hiatus from writing the Bourne movies. This film fleshes out the Treadstone/Blackbriar/Outcome programs universe, but also offers so much that is completely new to the franchise and doesn't feel in ANY way to be a repeat or rehash of the previous movies. I continuously marveled at everything from the shooting locations (the Canadian Rockies to the tropics of the Philippines), the stunning acting talent, (Weisz and Renner never disappoint!), and a new story that instilled far more empathy for the characters than the other Bourne movies. This is a must see! Strong argumentation could be made to reinforce this film as the best in the franchise. One of four films I've seen this year that was actually worth the cash paid out. Will I pay to see it again? Absolutely.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bourne Legacy, December 20, 2012
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This film should not be associated with the bourne films. It seemed as if someone created a script that just had one thing after another happen and then they put bourne in the title..
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85 of 121 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bourne Legacy (Theatrical), August 10, 2012
(Note: I will update this when I get the Blu-ray).

The Bourne movie franchise has made quite the name for itself. In the hands of Doug Liman, he not only managed to introduce an interesting character with a lot of mystery and intrigue to his background, but also a character we were able to sympathize for. He was a character that lost his memory, re-discovered himself, then tried to leave his dark past behind and escape a corrupt system. After Paul Greengrass took the reigns, he improved what Liman left on the table, further exposing the humanistic side of this character as we see him lose the part of his life he cares about the most. But despite that loss, his humanity would prove to be stronger than his vengeance, as even more memories start to surface, making his journey for revenge turn into a search for redemption. And after finding his inner peace, he takes pursuit of those responsible in an effort to destroy the very system that had created him and brought about so much pain and suffering, not only to him, but many of those involved throughout its history. At this point, I think it's safe to say that Matt Damon's portrayal of Jason Bourne has really cemented itself amongst the iconic spy heroes (next to James Bond and maybe Bryan Mills from Taken). Actually, for a while Universal Studios had been negotiating another Bourne movie with Damon, but he said he'd only take the role if Greengrass was directing. The two of them had signed on for something, at the very least, but things never fell through for another sequel, and the tandem would go on to make Green Zone (a pretty engaging military conspiracy thriller in itself, but that's for another review).

Instead of Damon and Greengrass doing another Jason Bourne entry, we have something of a spinoff. The Bourne Legacy was written by Eric Van Lustbader and merely inspired by Robert Ludlum's work, so I guess you can't say there's really a "direct" correlation in terms of source material deviation. On the other hand, this new entry was written and directed by Tony Gilroy who wrote the screenplays for the first 3 films, wrote/directed Michael Clayton, and wrote the story for State of Play (both being excellent thrillers in their own right). He also wrote/directed Duplicity, which I guess could technically fall under the thriller genre, but the romantic comedy elements made it feel like something else entirely. So how did Gilroy's third directing project go?

The story begins in the snowy mountains of Alaska where Outcome agent Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is undergoing survival training. Meanwhile, news of Blackbriar's demise and the controversy surrounding it have forced Outcome's director Eric Byer (Edward Norton) into action after evidence had surfaced linking the founders of both Treadstone/Blackbriar and Outcome together. In an effort to stop this trail from leading back to them, Byer decides to shut the program down and burn it to the ground, eliminating any and all personnel involved. When a scientist for the program, Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), witnesses the murder of her colleagues, she and Cross become the remaining loose ends and must survive on the run to discover the answers behind the conspiracy.

My favorite thing about the movie is its maintaining of realism. Just like how cool it was for Bourne to escape every situation by a hair's breadth or for him to set up the ultimate of break-ins and steal something vital, I'd say this was about as realistic as what was shown in Greengrass' films. Not "realistic" in the sense of believability, per se, but in the sense of how things could work out. The element of improvisation is still there in Cross, and while his end results may not be as flashy as when Bourne is outsmarting or outwitting an entire task force, many of Cross' scenes are still entertaining to watch. And a lot of it has to do with Renner's performance. The character he portrays isn't nearly as mysterious as Damon's originally was, but it's a very likeable one. This is only the 4th movie I've ever seen him in (the others being The Hurt Locker, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and The Avengers), but it's really the only other starring role I've seen him do, and I think he does a great job. He has a good amount of charisma and enough ferocity in his action sequences to be revered and feared, and depending on where they go after this, I hope he really gets a chance to shine like Damon did as Bourne.

I also love that they got Edward Norton to play the antagonist. He's a brilliant actor to begin with, and to see him as something of a villain was a real treat. He's always had a natural ability to take command on screen, and his role as Byer is no exception. Pretty much any time he's talking, it's hard not to pay attention to him, even if the other characters on screen with him are of a higher rank. His performance feels very intelligent and shadowy enough, but I was hoping the story would've allowed for him to show a meaner side every now and then. It's a very convincing role, and again, if they end up making a sequel I would love for him to return and hope that they write even more opportunities for him to become a well-developed character.

And finally, I thought the scientific approach to the black ops program was a nice touch. Jason Bourne was more about the personal side of a cold-blooded assassin re-discovering his humanity and atoning for all the people he killed, which, symbolically, makes for great cinema. But the explanation on how he became so skilled in everything was just a given. We're to assume he's just good at what he does, and that's that. Here, the capabilities of an agent are, perhaps, less cool to think about in terms of "yeah, he kicks ass," just because he can. Aaron Cross seems more like he has the knowledge of things, but the lack of extreme force makes the overall tone of everything he does seem more down-to-earth. Although, I guess a lot of it has to do with the cinematography and editing as well (most of the trademark Greengrass shaky-cam is gone this time around). All in all, it feels nice to know where some of these talents and skills are coming from.

Now on to the actual movie. It's slow, but fast. I know that's a weird way to describe it, but it really is. When I say "slow," I mean the pacing is at about the same speed as The Bourne Identity. Throughout the film, you're given pieces of the plot, the occasional flashback to fill in some of the gaps or to develop Cross, and it all slowly builds towards a climax. And when I say "fast," I mean that I was so engrossed in trying to fit the pieces together, by the time I knew it, the movie was over. It's odd that for barely over 2 hours I was really wanting to know more about Cross' and Byer's pasts, what the true scope and reach of the genetic engineering project was, and just how many of these black ops programs really existed. And then there was this big chase sequence at the end, and it was done. I will say that if you go into this expecting a similar style to Identity, you'll be disappointed. The amnesia thing for Bourne was unique and his working backwards to find the truth was even more so. It was a plot of mystery and intrigue that was kind of pre-established already and Bourne just had to pick up the pieces. That's not the case here with Cross.

As a character, the flashbacks work as a device to build him, slowly and thoroughly, but he already knows who he is. I firmly believe that if this film is financially successful enough that they'll continue to try and develop his character forwards, instead of backwards. I think that if they're smart enough to write a good story arc for his character, they'll include more and more flashbacks working their way up to a realization of what he can or does become. And to achieve this, I'm a little on the fence about the inclusion of Shearing. As talented as Weisz is, her character felt a tad over-reactive and panicky at times, which added a little too much of a "damsel in distress" quality to the rest of the film (i.e. makes her look weak). I suppose it makes sense to mimic the male-female coupling for the search of truth so they can rely on one-another. But like Franka Potente said about playing Marie, her character wasn't as cliché and the chemistry between Bourne and her was purposely sporadic. I just hope the relationship between Cross and Shearing doesn't become too melodramatic at some point. Then again, they could always kill her, too.

Picture-wise, I saw this on a digital projector at my local Cinemark. The movie itself was shot on 35mm and processed digitally and looks pretty spectacular. As much as I loved the documentary shaky-cam aesthetic Greengrass employed in his films, the one drawback to it was that the picture never really stayed still long enough for you to just look at something in a still frame and enjoy it, aside from the occasional scenic overhead shot of a city that lasted for all but 2 or 3 seconds until it zoomed in and cut to the next shaky shot. Here, Robert Elswit's photography has a much wider lens view, and yes, more static shots. Elswit also worked on Mission Impossible 4, which also starred Renner, ironically, and I think that may have influenced the wider shots after working with the IMAX cameras for that one. In terms of editing, the task is performed by Tony's brother John, and is also a lot less kinetic. Closeup shots are used about as much as they had been in the other Bourne films since the dialogue is so important, but I like that even without the quick cuts during action sequences, it sacrifices intensity for appreciation of the actual choreography. For the stunts, they brought back Dan Bradley who directed all the stunt work in the previous films, and the fights were coordinated by Jonathan Eusebio who was an assistant in the fights of Ultimatum and the lead choreographer for Haywire (really love the fights in that movie).

Music-wise, James Newton Howard takes over for John Powell. I will stress that I absolutely loved Powell's work for the first 3 movies and that Bourne's main theme and the pulsating drums of his action pieces are one of the best sounds I've heard for any action movie outside of Hans Zimmer. Howard doesn't quite capture the same essence, but again, this is a completely different cast of characters. Thematically, he does manage to sneak in a little bit of Bourne's theme into some of his pieces, but only faintly and probably as a reminder that this movie is part of the franchise. The overall sound, however, is a lot more contemporary and even has some electric guitar in it. The more upbeat percussionist pieces used for the action sequences also carry a similar beat akin to Powell's, though are a little more variant with other instruments around it. In listening to the soundtrack, there doesn't seem to be a central theme or motif within any one piece to represent Cross' character, which is a little disappointing. As a whole, though, the score makes for great ambiance. And hopefully, if any sequels are made and become more action-packed, Howard will reach into his bag for some more up-tempo tricks.

Overall, my expectations weren't set too high, but I was pleasantly surprised at this new character. The story has less mystery and intrigue, but instead a more linear approach to it, with Jason Bourne only being a reference point. The "Legacy" is more so about the super-soldier learning to think for himself and bailing a corrupted system as per Bourne's example. Even Greengrass stated in his commentaries that the villains weren't really bad guys, they were just part of a bad system. And with the potential to take the franchise in, hopefully, a newer, even fresher direction with Aaron Cross, something will come of it, be it Gilroy returning to write, direct, or whatever. Nowhere left to go now, but forward.

Overall: 3.5 / 5.0
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Travesty, July 7, 2013
This review is from: The Bourne Legacy (DVD)
This film is a travesty to the trilogy created before it and especially to the books written by Ludlum and Lustbader. If you are attracted to this title because it says Bourne, don't bother watching. On the other hand, if you like movies with one really long, pointless chase scene, this movie is definitely for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big surprise!!, April 5, 2014
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This review is from: The Bourne Legacy (DVD)
I, as I'm sure a lot of people were, was skeptical about this movie living up to the previous Bourne series. I was so happily wrong!!! Just watched it for the second time and enjoyed it as much as the first time. I loved Jeremy Renner's performance in "The Hurt Locker", but he out did himself in "The Bourne Legacy" as the very human Aaron Cross. Renner made the character totally believable and empathetic. His physical performance was great and his emotional performance convinces us of his good heart and character. Rachel Weiz gives a great performance, as well, as an in-the-dark doctor who works in the lab that monitors and tests the effects of physical and cognitive enhancement chemicals on agents. The story is interesting and the action is thrilling. I was engaged from beginning to end. I highly recommend this really great sequel to the popular Bourne movies. Just read that it has been announced that "The Bourne Betrayal" will be coming out in 2015!
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The Bourne Legacy by Tony Gilroy
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