Monday, 20 August 2012

Bourne Again One Too Many Times

It's notoriously hard to get a trilogy right but the Bourne trilogy wasn't too bad at all.  There was a great opening film, a sequel to develop Jason Bourne, the title character, a little further and an intriguing third to end the trilogy.  In the end The Bourne Ultimatum was received  better than its predecessors (Identity and Supremecy) and could be argued to be the best of the three.  However, adding another to a well known trilogy has not often worked.

Skip forward 5 years and The Bourne Legacy arrives in cinemas across the world, number four in the series.  We follow one moreof the CIA's secret experiments in Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross, a secret agent using pills for enhanced physical and mental abilities.  The project that 'created' Jason Bourne, attempting to engineer fighting machines, has been exposed and this experiment is to be terminated as a consequence, along with those participating in it, including Cross.  Legacy involves Cross searching for more of his medication, searching for truth and escaping the termination.

The film takes quite a while to get going.  You would have thought, being the fourth in a series of films, you wouldn't need so much build up and explanation to get the plot going but the nature of the story, loosely taken from the respective book in the novel series by Robert Ludlum, is that more explanation is needed.  In fact, the opening half hour, set mainly in Alaska, is quite confusing as the film flicks to the CIA headquarters and back, introducing mostly new characters.

However, when the action finally gets into gear and sets off, the pace is thrilling and stunt-filled action sequences very exciting.  This is Renner's first major lead role and he shows why it's been a long time coming.  He has a good balance of relating to the audience and being distant in his role as an engineered secret agent. It's still a Bourne film with exciting chases, stunts and fights, for sure, but just seems slightly recycled with different characters and plot line.

This is maybe its downfall.  Like with the novel series, there has been a long wait for the next instalment and the relative cliffhanger audiences were left on in regards to Jason Bourne is still not resolved (though it wouldn't be right if it was!).  So the hype surrounding the film didn't really materialise.

Don't get me wrong, as a stand alone film it isn't too bad and fans of the Bourne series will enjoy Legacy, in how it does interweave with the previous instalments, but it just doesn't live up to its predecessors.  This may be a case where a movie trilogy would have been better left at number three.