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Bourne Legacy, The (2012)
Friday, August 3, 2012
Volence and action sequences.
Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Albert Finney, Joan Allen, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Oscar Isaac
Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy
The narrative architect behind the "Bourne" film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: "The Bourne Legacy." The writer/director expands the "Bourne" universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films.
Bourne Legacy, The (2012) | Review
Evening With A Seven-Year-Old
"Is this a test?" --Kenneth
Cross, nee Kenneth J. Kitsom, is a part of Outcome, a companion program to Bourne's Treadstone. Outcome operatives are genetically modified via chems/program kit: green pills improve physical performance while blue pills provides mental enhancement. Like Captain America's Steve Rogers, Kitsom was scrawny when he joined the military, except his was a mental weakness as they had to lie and add 12 points to his IQ to make the bare minimum for service. Without the pills, he would revert to his previous, unmodified state, which would be a "long fall down" after he's had a taste of what he could be. So he partners with Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who has just survived a horrendous workplace shootout (which is particularly harrowing in light of the events in Aurora, Colorado).
Said shootout was only part of the less-than-subtle cleanup operation of Treadstone and Outcome led by Ret. Col. Eric Byer (Edward Norton). There's a tonal shift from the first movies as this one spends a lot of time with the machinations of the cover up, taking too long to focus on Cross. The plot comes across as unnecessarily convoluted when it boils down to "Bourne exposed us, kill all loose ends." More conspiracy, less action didn't work out so well for Star Wars episodes 1-3 either.
Aaron Cross is a lone-wolf cipher, dispatched to Alaska as if he's the Unabomber of the assassin set, in full possession of his memories. He knows exactly what he is and what he's supposed to do. His personality amounts to asking endless questions of everyone he encounters (and if you've ever encountered a seven-year-old who does this, you know how annoying this can be as conversation). Without any exposition of who he is (because his questions go unanswered), we're left with a character who lacks Damon's charisma, who's head we aren't in, but who we are expected to care about.
Director Tony Gilroy opts to make up for the film's lack of action by cramming as much as he can into the final act. This includes dropping in an agent from yet another program, LARX-3, which has Louis Ozawa Changchien mean-mugging his way through scenery like a T-1000 from The Terminator series.
"Who tells you that this is okay?" --Aaron
Our military and espionage agents often find themselves in moral and ethical quandaries, called to do things and make decisions no one should have to. They "take the moral excrement of others," as Byer puts it, and do the dirty work no one else wants to do. He describes them as sin-eaters.
During the Middle Ages, people used to place food and drink next to the recent dead. Their sins were said to transfer to the food. The sin-eater was someone who would come along, typically a beggar, then through prayer would eat the bread and drink the ale... and through the ritual, remove the sins from the dying/dead person and take them onto himself.
Aaron Cross as a sin eater points to the true/final "sin eater," Christ (get it? Cross!), through whom forgiveness for all of the moral excrement we wallow in can be found and experienced.
"Do you ever not care?" --Aaron
The answer to Aaron's question above is "no." In The Bourne Legacy, there is no sense of mystery, only information stingily withheld creating a narrative vacuum. There is an endless series of lethal CYA measures, repercussions from much more interesting movies, that masquerades as a plot. There is, as one character describes, a "bullshit scavenger hunt" which adds little to the mythos, so that in the end, the viewer still doesn't care.
Copyright © 2012 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
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