I am not sure why this film is worthy to bear the Bourne title. It is like watching a Spiderman movie without Spiderman. Or Lord of the Ring without the ring. Jason Bourne is nowhere in this movie. OK, a photograph of his has shown up like a couple of times. The beginning of Bourne Legacy is – if I remember correctly – the ending of Bourne Ultimatum. Jason Bourne was swimming underwater. That’s it. If Jason Bourne has indeed left a legacy, I can’t find it in Bourne Legacy.
To give credits to the actors, Edward Norton plays a fine antagonist. His primary role – I think – is to shutdown an operation by killing off their agents on the ground who rely on a regular intake of some super power pills to enhance their physical and mental ability. Jeremy Renner plays the main character. He looks like someone who is ready to take over the helm of 007. Unfortunately, Jeremy Renner is no Matt Damon. He just doesn’t seem to radiate the same level of mental intelligence like Matt Damon does in the last three Bourne movies. When I look into Matt Damon’s eyes, I see a smart agent. When I look into Jeremy Renner’s eyes, I see someone who is ready to fight instead.
If there is one thing that Bourne Legacy has exceeded the previous Bourne movies, that would be the on-screen chemistry of the main character and his love subject. The 42 years old Rachel Weisz has bettered my expectation. She has a better role to play too. Her character as a scientist has some major contribution to the plot. Not always the case for the previous installments.
This time, the scriptwriter of the previous movies, Tony Gilroy, has moved onto the director seat. First 30-45 minutes of the film can be rather confusing and uneventful. There seems to be a constant escalation of situation but I had no idea what it is or what it really does. Had Bourne Legacy been a TV-series, it would have been a dead series. But like some good storybooks that are utterly boring in the beginning, once passed the halfway mark, Bourne Legacy gets exciting. Especially when the backdrop has moved to Manila. It is action, action, and more action, without the shaky camera effect like the last Bourne movie.
The core of the story is about the blue pills and the green pills. One boosts physical ability and another one boosts mental ability. To keep the agents loyal to the agency, they have to receive a constant dosage throughout their missions. Or they will face degeneration. This idea does not sound original to me. I have seen a similar story in Limitless. There is a twist to this story too. As in, there are ways to permanent lock the enhanced ability. That is when the scriptwriter lost me. It trivializes the entire plot making me wonder what they are fighting for in the first place. I also found the need to separate the blue and green pills due to some plot twists rather unsatisfying.
A rather average film that would have done better had they lost the Bourne title.