The Bourne Legacy (2012)

The Bourne Legacy
Director: Tony Gilroy
Writer: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy
Based on: Robert Ludlum‘s novels (kinda)
Sequel to: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz, Oscar Isaac, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Joan Allen, David Strathairn

While the events of The Bourne Ultimatum are unfolding, a government group spearheaded by Eric Byer (Edward Norton) tries to get the situation under control by shutting down all programs related to Treadstone. That means that they start killing operatives. But one of them, Aaron (Jeremy Renner), manages to escape and subsequently tries to get back his independence and freedom with the help of Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who designed the drugs that gives the operatives a mental and physical edge.

The Bourne Legacy has a terrific cast, but falls flat in pretty much all other departments: The writing is a mess, the camerawork sucks, as does the editing, but worst of all is the direction.

I hadn’t expected the action movie of the year before watching this film. But I thought, “the other Bourne movies are decent, you have to love that cast, so it should make for a good night’s entertainment.” Well, even those expectations were too high.

The script was weak and rarely made sense. It never even bothered to explain who Byer is actually working for. And when Marta explans that the pills make you more sensitive and at the same time feel less pain, I just wanted to cry. Nerves don’t work that way, people. Science doesn’t work that way. But that was only a small moment: generally the most impressive thing was how all the actors managed to say their lines with a straight face. I guess that’s what makes them professionals.

I could harp on and on about the script (the flashbacks! the wolves!), but I also need to trash the camerawork (tripods, steady-cam contraptions are awesome things. But if that’s too complicated, here’s the best rule of thumb: the less shaking, the better. It’s not that hard. Plus, matching eyelines are pretty cool), the editing (film is a visual medium. I should be able to see what’s going on) and most of all, I really need to bitch about the direction.

I remember Duplicity as perfectly entertaining, so I know that Tony Gilroy should know better. But here he failed so utterly that what you’re left with is a boring mess. The only scenes that really work out are the ones with Aaron and Outcome #3 (Oscar Isaac). I just wished that the movie would have stayed in the woods with them.

Summarising: I guess that crappy tagline (yeah, we know that there was never only just one – we met the first other “Bourne” in the first film) should have been warning enough.


  1. So, here I am, finally starting my round-up of your reviews, and decided to start with this movie. I wholeheartedly agree. Like you, I was especially disappointed by Tony Gilroy, wo proved with “Michael Clayton” and “Duplicity” that he knows how to shoot stylish thrillers, and to make some really tense scenes. Here, instead of sticking with what he does best, he decided to copy Doug Liman (for the quieter scenes) and Paul Greengrass (for the action), and failed miserably. The script sucked too. Overall, a disappointing mess.

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