In a nutshell this film features a genetically enhanced super-spy (Jeremy Renner) who runs out of performance enhancing drugs and wants a refill, with references to the previous trilogy along the way. To add peril the powers that be are closing down the project in which he is the 5th operative of 9 because of the publicity Jason Bourne triggered around the related Treadstone project. To add an audience connection a non-spy character / love-interest is added to the mix in the form of a culpable scientist who helps do the tests on the subjects of the super-spy project – Rachael Weiss.
Why did Matt Damon not want to do another Bourne film? – I think Legacy demonstrates why…
There is nothing new here. The plot seems to be an amalgamation of other themes already explored in the original trilogy without the amnesia angle. As an action film viewed in some parallel world where there is no connection to a preceding highly successful three film franchise, this film could be viewed as a relatively uninspiring action film. It is almost as if the filmmakers are scared to ‘go big’ and do anything that remotely deviates from the original formula. We have close-up fisticuffs, we have running around on rooftops, we have sniping, we have an innocent woman who needs protecting, we have the powers that be trying to track down our hero, we have a rival super-spy sent to clean up where local agencies cannot. It’s all been done before and it was better the first time around.
The true Bourne Legacy in my opinion was to give the makers of the Bond films a right royal kick up the backside and force them to revise their cliche-ridden camp hyper-reality offerings and introduce grit and realism to their flagging franchise, which they did with great effect in Casino Royale (and in places Quantum of Solace). Bond won’t be driving around again in an invisible car anytime soon, and we have Bourne to thank for that.
I left the cinema feeling a little disappointed at the lack of spectacle and a sense that the filmmakers had missed some glorious opportunities for some wonderfully exciting scenes. The film is full of slow-paced clumsy expositional scenes, two-dimensional bad guys and at the end some rather far-fetched motorcycle stunts. The ending is too clichéd and not big enough. Most of the time we get car chases in the middle of films and something bigger at the end. Poor show really.
I’m torn between a six and seven, but based on previous scorings for other films I am sadly going to plump for 6/10.