If you are looking for ultimate entertainment for the eye and the brain, then The Bourne Legacy is just what the doctor prescribed. This flick is fast-paced, smart and beautiful, paving the way for a new kickass character Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), after three amazing ‘Bourne’ instalments with Matt Damon playing Jason Bourne. A lot of the movie is set in the same space and time that The Bourne Ultimatum was, which is a wonderful way to provide continuity of the series while putting a new spin on events the viewer is already aware of.
In the opening sequence, Aaron Cross is swimming through icy Alaskan waters, on a test mission, and while he painstakingly succeeds at every twist and turn of the crazy exercise, the nasty officials in Washington and NYC decide to obliterate all the six super-agents, chemically enhanced to be almost indestructible, in case info about Jason Bourne’s case goes viral. When it dawns on Aaron Cross what his bosses are up to, his mind goes into strict survival mode and the tricks he comes up with are a joy to watch.
Cross has to get his body to work for him on a shrinking supply of the ‘meds’ in order to outrun his programmers so he teams up with plucky scientist Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who can help him do just that because she was the brains behind his artificial enhancements. Rachel Weisz does an amazing job at portraying a character so willing to survive she will march through any insane task Cross gives her, with a clueless, blank expression on her face – but with an air of confidence that his plan will work out each and every time.
Edward Norton is cold as ice as a government official Eric Byer, bent on evaporating Cross to stop the leak threat from causing major havoc. Byer seems psychotic at times and he will stop at nothing to do his job, which is proven by the impressive amount of dead bodies that only gets crazier as the movie progresses. Tony Gilroy co-wrote The Bourne Ultimatum with his brother Dan, and the duo do a magnificent job in presenting plot twist after plot twist destined to blow all spy thriller lovers out of the water with gorgeously choreographed action sequences (breathtaking Alaskan landscapes, the crumpling Maryland house and narrow Manila streets are the best bits).
The fact that The Bourne Legacy works, complete with a new protagonist, further proves the assumption that Bourne is on par with Bond in its potency and potential. But the Bourne series is much closer to reality: grimmer, grittier; its characters are more human and paranoid, realistic and vulnerable. Bond could never be seen in agony or desperation; in Bourne anything is possible, even animal fear, and that kind of fear is good.
Bourne is devoid of humor of any kind; it’s the kind of franchise that leaves the viewers a little uncomfortable: it’s closer to skin, it hits home, and after the credits roll, some of the paranoia remains. Both The Bourne Legacy and Skyfall comment on the new possibilities of the information age. But if the Bond film showcases how Silva can reign supreme in the World Wide Web, Cross questions the ability to spread the truth online fast enough for it to be heard – or believed – by anyone at all.
The Bourne Legacy is offered by Universal in an AVC-encoded 2.40:1 widescreen presentation which is a great way to handle the beautiful movie. The picture is clean (each snowflake being discernible in the opening Alaskan sequence, for example). It’s also free of noise and DNR. The colors are gorgeously reproduced with no saturation issues.
The viewers have a choice of a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless surround track or a traditional Dolby Digital 5.1; both of them are really good. Dialogue is easily discernible at all times, effects such as bullet hits and explosions are all perfectly rendered to provide as life-like movie experience at home as possible.
The extras include a commentary by Tony, Dan and John Gilroy with cinematographer Robert Elswit, production designer John Thompson and second unit director Dan Bradley. The commentary will offer a wealth of information about the casting, production, crew and other aspect of making The Bourne Legacy. The feature also touches upon the incorporation of other Bourne instalments into the movie, and how those challenges were met by the team.
Additionally, the package boasts three deleted scenes (6:48); an examination of the film franchise called “Re-Bourne” (6:11); “Enter Aaron Cross” (7:11) which focuses on the introduction of the new character to the franchise; “Crossing Continents” (8:22), dedicated to the international locations where the film was shot; “Man vs. Wolf” (4:36), about capturing wolf vs. man scenes; “Wolf Sequence Test” (1:39), featuring interesting previsualization footage.
“Moving Targets” (6:11) is another feature that includes ruminations of the cast about how both characters of Cross and Bourne intersect in The Bourne Legacy while “Capturing Chaos” (7:49) demonstrates the amount of skill that went into the beautiful Manila motorcycle chases.
This package of the film also includes a standard definition copy of the film, a redeemable code for streaming via Ultraviolet and an iTunes copy – something for every device out there. Overall, it’s a great treat for fans of the film and all movie lovers.
Verdict: The Bourne Legacy is a great new twist on spy movies that isn’t at all comforting or predictable but is immensely entertaining.