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Capone believes Jeremy Renner and a strong supporting cast pull together the Bourne-less THE BOURNE LEGACY!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

Is there even precedent for a franchise losing its title character/main actor and continuing on? SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT 3, maybe. Still, I have to admit, THE BOURNE LEGACY makes a daring leap of faith and comes out the other side pretty strong thanks to an ambitious script by Tony and Dan Gilroy (Tony directed as well) and a nicely conceived lead performance by Jeremy Renner, who continues to impress me as a thinking man's action star in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE–GHOST PROTOCOL and THE AVENGERS.

Set in a timeline that is largely parallel with THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (which we're aware of thanks to key shots of some of that film's supporting players like David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney and Paddy Considine), the new film reveals that Jason Bourne was not the only chemically enhanced government agent. But because Bourne went rogue and exposed the role of one particular division (led by Edward Norton, in full-on bad-guy mode) in this project, those in the know decide it's time to shut down the project in a hurry. And they don't simply call in the agents; they kill them all, mostly by poisoning their daily meds. But Renner's Aaron Cross (a slightly more rugged version of Bourne) is targeted for a missile launch at a small cabin in the snowy mountains where he's hiding out. He doesn't die but those trying to kill him think he did.

Concerned that his meds (or Chems, as he likes to call them) have run out, he makes a clandestine run for Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), the scientist that does his blood work every few months when he comes in from the field. Turns out Norton wants anyone with knowledge of this project dead, so agents are sent to kill her as well, and Cross shows up in the nick of time. The rest of the film is the two of them running for their lives, trying to get him more meds so that a virus-like element in his body can be eliminated as a danger to his health, and attempting to expose the program to the world.

Like all of the BOURNE movies, the cast is critical to selling some of the more outrageous plot elements, and this chapter has some great actors, including Donna Murphy, Corey Stoll and Zeljko Ivanek to add some substance to a film that already has an impressive list of returning cast members and Norton. The one thing that may shock some audience members is that the film features a whole lot of talking and exposition, which, quite frankly, it needs. The first two-thirds of the movie are light on action, but the final third makes up the difference, including a fantastic foot/motorcycle chase through downtown Manila.

I'm not sure too many actors outside of Renner could have kept me as interested in his plight; it doesn't hurt that his adversary is a heartless prick like Norton's character, and you don't realize until the end that, if memory serves, the two only share the screen once, and that's only in a flashback. There isn't a huge mystery hanging over this story, since we know most of the agency's secrets thanks to the last film, so Gilroy and company can focus on making one of the most intriguing cat-and-mouse stories I've seen in a long time.

With all of these pluses, the biggest negative I have to offer about THE BOURNE LEGACY is that I don't think I want another film with the name Bourne in the title if Matt Damon isn't a part of it. One time is clever; two times is a cheat. Hell, some may think one time is a cheat, but it all worked for me. Renner is on a real nice run right now playing slightly detached heroes who we still care about a great deal, so bring on (gulp!) HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS.

-- Steve Prokopy
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Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 11, 2012, 2:18 a.m. CST


    by BD Mahony

    in a row?

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 2:19 a.m. CST

    I'm still not sold on Renner

    by BD Mahony

    He was a good fit for Hurt Locker. But that's about it so far.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 2:23 a.m. CST

    Liked It

    by cleetdog101

    I saw it this morning & I liked it. Didnt feel the sense of urgency like in the previous 2 films (i think the "shaky cam" supplied that feeling) - but over all it was good.

  • The Bourne Pursuit - where he searches for Jason Bourne. The Bourne Alliance - When Matt Damon returns to Help Aaron take down those government officials.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 3:09 a.m. CST

    saw it, didn't hate it

    by drave117

    Didn't love it, either. The movie kept name-dropping Jason Bourne, to an almost comical extent. Like, I think the name Jason Bourne was said out loud more times in this movie than in all the previous three movies combined. People were all like "We need to Jason Bourne our Jason Bournes before they Jason Bourne the Jason Bourne out of us!" I liked a lot of the action, but they sorta forgot to give the movie an ending.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 3:15 a.m. CST

    Good to hear from a reviewer that seems invested in the Bourne universe

    by heyoucantlaughatthat

    But Capone makes a valid point- one Damonless Bourne episode is a unique exception, the next one may be quite disappointing without him.

  • ...criminally underwritten as Hawkeye, and this looks like the worst Bourne yet, even if it is passable. He's gonna kill it in Fast 7 though.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 3:40 a.m. CST

    Lowest scoring Bourne film so far on.....

    by Torben

    rotten tomatoes, doesn't enthrall me with excitement, and it's seems more of the same -super agents trained by the government go rogue, government gets more agents to get rid of the last agents but then more agents turn up from another secret programme and we have to take those down aswell, so why don't they just not hire any more agents, save the trouble and save some money and invest it into making an original Hollywood movie

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 4:36 a.m. CST

    Oh, and this film?

    by BiggusDickus

    Not interested in the slightest.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 6:56 a.m. CST

    Bourne was on pills too?

    by Steve Lamarre

    That's new to me.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Jason Bourne = smurfs?

    by Steve Lamarre

    how smurferific.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 7:40 a.m. CST

    don't understand Renner as "action star"

    by DukieMichaelNamondRandy

    the first time I ever saw this guy he was in a movie called "12 and Holding". You saw he had awesome acting chops in that flick. I said "what else is this guy from?" About a month later, "The Hurt Locker", which has been super-hyped, wins the Academy Award. I had no idea he was in it 'til I saw him at the Oscars. Now, since "The Hurt Locker" was not exactly an action movie yet not exactly without it's physical demands, the world seems to see Jeremy Renner as an action star much in the way Jason Statham's career began. The difference is, Statham is more of an entertaining than "good" actor, so the action role fits. Maybe Renner's trajectory is more akin to Daniel Craig's, in that we know he can do straight up drama, but he's still 007. I like Renner plenty, so I just wonder if he'll forever be Hawkeye or we'll see what he's truly capable of. He WAS slated to play the Joaquin Phoenix role in PT Anderson's "The Master", but judging from that movie's trailers...well, let's just say that Phoenix was beyond a perfect choice in the end.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Bored me to tears

    by Robert

    I loved the first three movies, but found "Legacy" to be one big bore. The whole movie is about... Renner trying to get his medication. Really? That's it? During the big motorcycle chase at the end, I stared at the screen in complete apathy. To be fair, the direction is solid, Renner enjoyable, Weiss still beautiful and Norton appropriately villainous. The problem is with the subpar script... the same problem that derailed "Total Recall." My theory is that there was no one who would say "no" to Tony Gilroy. He already wrote the first three movies, which were wildly successful, so no one wanted to upset the golden goose, as it were. Someone needed to shake him and say, "The whole movie is based around a guy trying to get his meds. Should we hand pillows out to the audience before or after the movie?"

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 9:03 a.m. CST

    They could expand the universe and plots...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Why not have Cross in the next one go up against a terrorist who wants him to help take down the government. So he fakes that he's into and takes down the terrorist cell from the inside or... Have some bad guys track Cross down to mimic his genetics. Just something different than the usual CIA wants their agents dead thing. Four movies now it's beyond beating a dead horse.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Saw it yesterday

    by bourne7855

    It was the least of the four movies but it's still badass. I enjoyed the beginning. It's cool to see him on a training mission. there's not enough fighting in it for me but the fights there are are cool. I think the complaints come from that it seems like a 2 act movie instead of 3. So it feels long The climax feels like it shoulda been in the middle of the movie and a bigger climax later. It would be like if ultimatum ended right Bourne saved Nikki in tangiers. Renner did a great job but Damon's absence was definitely felt

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 12:57 p.m. CST

    I like Renner, but...

    by SenatorJeffersonSmith

    I really don't have any interest in Bourne movies without Damon.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 4:19 p.m. CST

    The movie was pretty good. Rachel Weisz was pretty excellent.

    by annie_michael_hall

    It was the first Bourne since Identity to have a decipherable plot, and Rachel Weisz did more to sell the fear and terror and excitement that one might expect someone might have when they are on the run than Renner did. Then again, I guess he was "used to" this sort of stuff. Also, to those who have seen the film, did they ever kiss? I hope not, I actually thought that was kind of cool.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Saw it this morning. I liked The Bourne Legacy, but...

    by Greg McCambley

    I was somewhat disappointed that the story took away the emotional impact of Ultimatum. By the end of that movie, the operation had been publicly exposed and Bourne was free to live in peace as a dead man. So after going through the wringer over 3 movies, Bourne gets as close to a happy ending as he could hope for. All well and good, right? Not so fast. Along comes The Bourne Legacy where, it turns out, all of Landy's work to help Bourne comes to nothing. Turns out they were well into damage control afterwards, and while Treadstone may be compromised, it's Landy who gets raked over the coals. So pretty much all the scumbag villains left from the first 3 movies get to walk away and pick up where they left off (after all, it's clear there's more than one program still running). Not only that, we get more government villains thrown into the mix. All in all, I would have preferred it if the story had actually been able to give us Cross' story without compromising Bourne's. But my disappointment with it doesn't damper the fact that I enjoyed the film. I'd watch another movie in the series, Damon or no. That's probably just me, though.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 6:08 p.m. CST

    Just got back from it

    by MainMan2001

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 6:08 p.m. CST


    by MainMan2001

    its really great. Not sure why people are hating on this.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 6:30 p.m. CST

    annie_michael_hall re:did they kiss...

    by Greg McCambley

    I don't believe they did. The closest they came was in the room they were holed up in in Manila, but in the end they just comforted each other.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 8:54 p.m. CST

    re: i age

    by mcgillj

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    arrgh.. damn tablet.

    by mcgillj

    I agree on the Bourne title.. hell even Bourne's name wasn't Bourne. It was Webb. Which got one who line in the finale of film 2. Seriously even before the reviews i thought the whole super soldier bit was lame. I think they should have delved into the whos and whys of the identity. Why was it created? Who else used it? Who was the real jason bourne? Why did Webb so willingly give himself up to be Bourne? All things covered in the first book.. and great stuff that could and should have been mined for a fourth film with Damon.. or cast Renner as the REAL Bourne and have them meet up. So many possibilities. This one is on my plate for tomorrow i think..

  • Renner didn't need the blue and green pills (chems) to kill a virus in his body. The blue pills make him smart and the green pills made him Captain America lite. But he was given a VIRUS that the green pills were made from so he wouldn't need them anymore. What he had been taking was a placebo. But without anymore blue pills, also made from a virus, he was going to go back to being 12 IQ points from being too stupid to be allowed in the military, so, the doc and he went to Manilla to get the virus the pills are made from to inject it in him, so he wouldn't need the blue pills anymore. There, now do you understand?

  • It was better than all of the first 3 until the end, which just kind of happened too fast.

  • Aug. 11, 2012, 9:05 p.m. CST

    oh, and Capone, Jason Bourne wasn't chemically enhanced

    by antonphd

    he was brainwashed

  • Aug. 12, 2012, 8 a.m. CST

    great new drinking game

    by stvnhthr

    If you drink a shot everytime they say Jason Bourne in this movie, you will be drunk or dead from alcohol poisoning. Wait, maybe not such a good drinking game after all.

  • Aug. 12, 2012, 1:17 p.m. CST

    I shouldn't be mad about this

    by calrabjohns

    There was almost no chance that there would be any movies based on the MGS games, but the broad strokes for the plot in this movie will make any MGS movies superfluous before they're a thought. Wanted to see Eastwood as Old Snake. Ah well.

  • Aug. 14, 2012, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Jeremy Renner is like a hot Maggie Gyllenhaal.

    by TheMark

    Am I wrong?