Thursday, 30 August 2012

FILM REVIEW: The Bourne Legacy

When hearing Moby's "Extreme Ways" is the most memorable part of the film, you know something’s up...

The Bourne Legacy feels like more than just a waste of time; it feels wrong. It feels wrong to take everything that we liked about such a highly regarded action series and replace it with an overlong, overly talky, pointlessly plotted "thriller" with wretched pacing and incomprehensible action sequences. It feels wrong to cast actors of the calibre of Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz and waste them in a screenplay that suits neither's abilities. It truly feels wrong to endure Ed Norton doing a poor David Strathairn impression just for the sake of it. When hearing Moby's "Extreme Ways" is the most memorable part of the film – in other words, THE END – you know something is up.

One of the strengths of the original Bourne trilogy was the "extreme ways" (sic) in which it showed us the consequences of being an amnesiac spy. Take away the "amnesiac", and you have Renner’s Aaron Cross in a nutshell – a blank slate of an agent who, like Jason Bourne, is targeted by the CIA for "knowing too much". And like Bourne, he has a female accomplice, this time in the form of Weisz’s Dr. Marta Shearing. The question is whether or not they will manage to dodge their pursuers, at least for the time being, and leave the door open for a follow-up. But will we care?

The sad thing is, we should care. With or without the memory loss angle, or even the action, the components are undoubtedly there for a truly suspenseful story. But The Bourne Legacy isn’t it. It's just one big nothing, with screenwriter-turned-director Tony Gilroy seemingly hell bent on merging post-9/11 James Bond, minus all coherence, with Syriana; a recipe for failure if there ever was one, especially considering the length and rambling tone of the George Clooney vehicle. That Gilroy's direction is less ADD than Paul Greengrass's (at least one will not get headaches when watching this "Bourne" in action) is hardly a blessing when the film is this much of a snore. Giving Brad Bird, JJ Abrams or even Martin Campbell the director's chair could have done wonders.

Perhaps, for the movies' sake, there should have only been just one Bourne.