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The Bourne Legacy(2012)
An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum's novels, centered on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three films.
For more about The Bourne Legacy and the The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray release, see the The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on December 2, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Tony Gilroy
Writers: Dan Gilroy, Tony Gilroy
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz, Joan Allen, Oscar Isaac, Albert Finney
» See full cast & crew
The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray Review
"That is the job. We are morally indefensible, and absolutely necessary."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, December 2, 2012
Attention. The filmmakers of 'The Bourne Legacy' would like to remind viewers that Matt Damon does not appear at any point during the film. While his likeness does indeed grace the screen via various photographs, the actor and series mainstay does not. The filmmakers would also like to issue a reminder that Damon's character, Jason Bourne, does not appear in the movie either. Rather than recast the titular black ops agent, the filmmakers have instead developed an entirely different character in the hopes of still creating future entries in the series starring or co-starring Matt Damon. As such, the fourth film in the franchise is an official sequel, a spin-off, a companion piece to 'The Bourne Ultimatum,' a reboot, an expansion, and a catchall in every conceivable way. To eliminate any further confusion, the filmmakers have inserted a barrage of additional reminders throughout 'The Bourne Legacy' via contrived bits of dialogue and copious exposition. Thank you. That is all.
Running parallel to the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy simultaneously shifts perspectives to a different war room, adds another layer beneath the already top secret Blackbriar and Treadstone programs, and introduces Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner, The Avengers), a U.S. Army private recruited into a separate program called Operation Outcome. There, Cross is chemically and genetically enhanced as one of several cutting edge super-soldiers, and sent out into the unforgiving wilderness to test his mettle in a series of survival trials. But when ties between Treadstone and Outcome surface, Cross and his brethren are unceremoniously marked for termination on the order of retired U.S. Air Force colonel-turned-CIA heavy hitter Eric Byer (Edward Norton, Fight Club).
Cross narrowly escapes death of course, and soon goes in search of someone who can supply him with "chems," a regiment of green and blue pills that regulate his body and keep the super in Cross' super-strength, super-intellect and super-abilities. Unfortunately for Cross, after Byer ordered the deaths of the Outcome field assets, he also activated Dr. Donald Foite (Željko Ivanek, In Bruges), a brainwashed sleeper agent from yet another sub-sub-black ops program dubbed LARX. ("Treadstone without the inconsistencies. Outcome without the emotional attachment.") Locking himself in the central Outcome medical lab, Foite murders the scientists who manufacture and distribute the chems. All except one lucky doctor, that is! (Detecting a pattern?) Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz, The Fountain) survives Byer's execution order, not once but twice, and eventually hits the road with Cross. Their destination? Manila, where Cross hopes Shearing can take chems out of his diet without sacrificing his super powers. Er... skills.
If The Bourne Legacy were a grainy, gritty, shaky-cam'd Avengers spin-off -- specifically some sort of Hawkeye origin story starring Renner and a bow -- the chems, brainwashed sleeper agents, super-soldiering shenanigans, chromosome alterations, jargon-littered sci-fi plot, relentless Terminator-like assassins, superhuman feats and motorcycle chases would go down a lot easier. But as a Bourne movie? It all feels off. Too over the top, too comicbook, too Hollywood. Over-plotted and underwhelming. Desperate even. Writer/director Tony Gilroy and co-writer Dan Gilroy have crafted a break-neck actioner in the vein of Bourne's best action beats, but neglected to provide a character that doesn't feel like a downgrade from Jason Bourne. Cross' past isn't nearly as interesting, his encounters are laced with inevitability, the dangers he fends off aren't as grounded or unnerving, and his adversaries exchange the veiled agendas and containment protocols of past films for cold villainy and "find that guy" and "kill that guy" barks and bites. Come to think of it, Norton and company say an awful lot, and yet don't say much of anything.
Legacy is essentially two competing films: one that wants to be a Bourne contender and one that wants to be a Bourne competitor. When everyone stops talking and Cross does his thing -- take out a drone with a sniper rifle, clear a farm house of heavily armed agents, fight off a team of security guards, race to save Shearing, hop from rooftop to rooftop or weave through traffic within an inch of a bitter end -- Legacy fits right in, Damon or no Damon. When the Gilroys' story is given room to breathe, though, the film falters. Broadening the scope of the Bourne universe was a necessity; injecting more and more unreality into that universe was not, especially in a series that, for all intents and purposes, is Bond stripped of the girls, gadgets and cheeky humor. (So much so that Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were criticized for being more Bourne than Bond.) Yes, The Bourne Legacy has a lot going for it. Renner is strong (even if Cross is underdeveloped), Weisz delivers, Norton elevates his scenes, the brief nods and connections to the events of Ultimatum are fun bits of fan service, the fight and chase scenes are staged with hard-hitting gusto, and the film ends with enough promise to suggest a second Aaron Cross outing wouldn't be a terrible idea. Sadly, it also has a lot working against it as the tug of war between the Gilroys' smart and not-so-smart decisions knocks it down time and time again. Of the four Bourne movies, Legacy comes in last.
The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray, Video Quality
Fortunately, The Bourne Legacy's 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer doesn't disappoint. Robert Elswit's stark, stylized palette is almost perfectly represented, minus the problematic reds of Renner's heavy coat in the film's opening scenes, which are prone to crush. Contrast is quite striking on the whole too, with crisp, wintry whites, relatively lifelike skintones, tenacious primaries and deep shadows. Black levels are occasionally muted, mind you, but it's a non-issue that traces back to the original photography, not Universal's presentation. More impressive is the detail on display. Shaky cam or no, edges are clean and well-defined (with only a few instances of exceedingly minor ringing), fine textures are nicely resolved, closeups look terrific, grain is intact and delineation is as revealing as Elswit allows. Moreover, the technical encode is precise and proficient, without any macroblocking, banding, aliasing or other errant distraction to be found.
The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Bourne Legacy boasts a top-tier DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track that commits its all to the mission. The soundfield alone makes the film more immersive and engaging than it would be otherwise, and the rear speakers never relent. Whether it's a windy mountaintop, a quiet cabin, a hushed conference room, an old farm house riddled with bullet holes, a busy factory floor or the crowded streets of Manila mid-motorcycle chase, the mix takes full advantage of every channel at its disposal. Directionality is accurate and convincing, pans are transparent, dynamics are exacting and James Newton Howard's pulsing, pounding, pouncing score is granted power and presence. LFE output is weighty and bombastic as well, bolstering every hit, hail of gunfire, drone approach, explosion, screaming engine and crashing car. And dialogue, ever the unsung hero, is clear, impeccably prioritized and, above all, masterfully grounded in the action and intrigue erupting on screen. The fourth Bourne film may fall short, but its lossless track sets a new franchise standard.
The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Pretend The Bourne Legacy is Avengers Origins: Hawkeye. You'll enjoy it a lot more. Otherwise you'll merely be left with a hit-or-miss entry in a franchise in flux; a solid actioner that has trouble gaining and sustaining momentum. Renner and Weisz are great, though, and suggest the Bourne series might just have life beyond Jason Bourne. Only time -- and a fifth film -- will tell. Universal's Blu-ray release won't leave anyone wanting. A few more special features would have been nice, sure. But with a near-perfect video transfer, an outstanding DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track and a solid selection of extras, The Bourne Legacy fits in a bit better with its predecessors.
The Bourne Legacy: Other Editions
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The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: December 11-18 - December 9, 2012
For the week of December 4th, Universal Studios Home Entertainment is bringing The Bourne Legacy to Blu-ray. This picture, the fourth installment in the Bourne franchise, works as a "sidequel." Much of the film runs parallel with The Bourne Ultimatum, and Gilroy ...
• The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray (Detailed) - October 18, 2012
Universal Studio's The Bourne Legacy bursts onto Blu-ray this holiday season. Directed by Tony Gilroy, the man behind previous Bourne films, the action thriller stars Jeremy Renner (The Avengers), Rachel Weisz (The Fountain) and Edward Norton (Fight Club). The ...
• Pre-Order Universal's The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray with Fandango Cash - August 8, 2012
Amazon has listed Universal Studios' The Bourne Legacy (Tony Gilroy, 2012) in a two-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack with UV digital copy for $24.99. When you pre-order you receive a promo code for $8 in Fandango Cash (while supplies last) to see The Bourne Legacy ...
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The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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