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Monday, August 20, 2012

Legacy Re-Bourne

So, what can I say?  I love this movie.  Okay, there you have it.  No need to keep reading below and just go see it now.  What, you can't just take my word for it and would like to know why?  Alrighty then, here goes.

'The Bourne Legacy' is the fourth installment of the popular Bourne franchise based on the novels of Robert Ludlum, and the first not featuring its titular hero Jason Bourne, portrayed by Matt Damon, who in the previous three movies foiled numerous assassination attempts on his life by being 'better, stronger, faster' and succeeded in his quest to expose the black heart of the covert CIA black ops programs Operation Blackbriar and Project Treadstone to the public.

Failing to stop Bourne, the CIA went into full-on crisis damage control mode and tried to cover up everything, which includes liquidating everyone involved in these programs, whether they're highly trained field 'assets' like Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross or brilliant civilian scientists such as Rachel Weisz's Dr. Marta Shearing.  The lengths to which these 'deep black' agencies with no accountability are prepared to go in order to cover their asses under the pretext of national security and 'plausible deniability' is staggering to the extreme. 

While 'The Bourne Legacy' has a decidedly familiar feel to fans of previous Bourne installments, what really set it apart are its two main protagonists played by Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz, whose paths cross as they came to depend upon one another for their mutual survival against the evil machinations of 'big bad brother.'  Their actions and decisions are authentic and believable in their desperate context, giving this film an emotional depth I haven't seen in the first three movies.  As the movie's villain, Edward Norton is quietly ruthless in the role previously filled by Joan Allen as the 'chaser,' determined in his single-mindedness to hunt down and terminate Renner and Weisz with 'extreme prejudice.'

Like its predecessors, I love 'The Bourne Legacy' the most when it 'cuts to the chase.'  There is an extended chase scene at the end that will leave you breathless and set your heart racing, starting on the rooftops parkour style (yes, I know there was the one in Tangiers in the last movie but this one's even better!) and ending with an exhilarating motorcycle chase through the streets of Manila. 

Quite simply, 'The Bourne Legacy' delivered the goods and then some.  It is gritty and intelligent, and packed with the tightly wound tension and suspense we've come to expect from the franchise.  Some people doubted the viability of a Bourne movie without its title character, but Renner's Aaron Cross filled in quite nicely, fulfilling the movie's promise with its tagline that "there was never just one."  The chemistry between Renner and Weisz is utterly riveting, and I would love to see a follow-up sequel that's left as a possibility at the end of this movie.

9 out of 10

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