The Bourne Legacy (2012) a (mildly) belated review

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:  Operatives within a top secret government agency are suddenly being killed off.  The heads of the secret government agency, it turns out, are destroying all evidence (human included) of the existence of said operation.  But one (or more) of the agents in that secret agency survive the initial massacre and take on their bosses, all the while watching out for more assassins coming after them…

Despite much to recommend the movie and partly because of the above, The Bourne Legacy falls short of what one hoped it would achieve.  The original Bourne movie legacy featured Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, an (initially) amnesiac agent who has to figure out his role in a cloudy government conspiracy.  The films were high energy and featured intriguing twists and turns and, while Matt Damon himself noted (If memory serves!) after the third movie that each film was essentially remaking the first film again and again, these films nonetheless delivered.

When I first heard of The Bourne Legacy, I wasn’t put off by the fact that Matt Damon wasn’t returning to the franchise.  I like Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz, the protagonists of this film and hoped for the best.  I did my best to stay away from all spoilers and, over the weekend, finally had a chance to catch the film on DVD.

As mentioned before, there is much to recommend the film.  For the most part it is entertaining enough to keep you going and never does get dull.  The action sequences were clearly designed to emulate those found in the previous Bourne films and, for the most part, delivered.


As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this film sure had a very familiar plot.  Even worse, despite a long run time (the movie clocks in at two hours and fifteen minutes in length!), we finish off roughly where we started, with no serious closure and, most astonishingly of all, without the hero and villain ever having confronted each other.

To put things bluntly:  By the film’s conclusion The Bourne Legacy didn’t so much feel like a complete piece of entertainment so much as the opening chapter of a new series.  We’re left with so much unresolved that you can’t help but wonder what the point of this exercise was.

Look, I know that if successful, films inevitably get sequels, and the entire Bourne film series has been nothing if not successful.  However, even if you’re already thinking about a new franchise with a new star (or, perhaps, a future Bourne film featuring both Mr. Renner and Mr. Damon), the least you can do with the product in hand is deliver something that stands on its own.  In the case of The Bourne Legacy, once the film was over you realized that despite all the gobblygook concerning enhanced abilities via meds and shady government departments, it was all window dressing meant to kill time before getting to the next action sequence.  And by the time all that was over, we still have the villains in place and the hero on the run.  Pretty much the way the film started.

Despite this, I was entertained enough with The Bourne Legacy to give it a mild recommendation.  If you can shift your brain to neutral and ignore the lazy plot/story, you’ll have a decent enough time.  Otherwise, beware.