My Bourne Legacy Review

2012 the bourne legacy movie wide

Over past decade, like millions of others I had become a fan of Jason Bourne movies, even though they liberally modified the original Robert Ludlum books. In fact, I liked them so much that I bought all three on DVD. So it was hardly surprising that last night (for the first time in a long while, mind you) I ended up at the local cineplex to watch The Bourne Legacy.

This was the movie where Jason Bourne played by Matt Damon gives way to a new star – Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner. Damon had opted out of the Bourne series for multitude of reasons. Nevertheless, given that Chris Nolan had reinvented the Batman franchise and made its even better, I was excited to go see the Bourne’s legacy.

The movie, started off in a spectacular fashion and for about twenty minutes kept me on the edge of the seat. Aaron Cross battled the Alaskan cold, wolves and drone planes in a series of stunts and action shots, that while improbable, didn’t seem impossible. In other words, very Jason Bourne.

But what followed was couple of hours of mediocre, uninspired and tired movie making. It became clear that Matt Damon as Jason Bourne is what made the franchise, not the other way around. Renner seems like a competent enough actor but seemingly lacks the skills that inspire empathy with his character. (Or perhaps it is the fault of the director and scriptwriter.) The same goes for rest of the actors including the actress Rachel Weisz who like rest of the cast mails in a caricature of characters from the past three movies.

The Bourne Legacy was depressingly predictable in its story line – an agent being hunted down by his own government, him finding a damsel-in-distress to help him fight evil and the two of them running through some third world shanty town chased by an assassin and the cops.

Now if they had made this predictable fodder more exciting by using new cinematographic styles or used more inspired music score or interesting fight sequences and breath-stopping stunts, I would still put up with the tired meandering and and predictable script. Unfortunately, director Tony Gilroy failed spectacularly – which is curious considering that he was the screenwriter for the first three movies. He is no Paul Greengrass, who had directed the previous three Bourne movies.

What I find amazing is that there are professional reviewers who are giving it a A- or B+ kind of reviews. Metacritic is giving it 61 out of 100, with 22 positive, 14 mixed and only three negative reviews. As a casual movie goer (and not an expert in movie making) and a fan, I can never recommend this movie to a friend.

Here is the bottom-line: before this movie, I would watch any Bourne movie, no questions asked. No more. Bourne’s legacy means that I wouldn’t be standing in the queue on a Friday night to see the next version of the money.


  1. tonyfratto says:

    August 12th, 2012 at 5:17 am Reply

    Thanks fir writing up your review. Sadly, you’ve described my expectations for the movie just from watching the trailer. I must see the movie, anyway, of course — I couldn’t not see one of the series. Maybe with lowered expectations going in something will surprise me. t

  2. r361n4 says:

    August 12th, 2012 at 1:55 am Reply

    I gave this movie a 5.5 in my review, which means I didn’t hate it but it was still very disappointing in comparison with how good it should’ve been considering the quality of the source material and the talent on screen.

    I completely agree with you that a lot of the characters felt like charicatures, especially Norton (who I usually love but just felt like a new version of Noah from The Bourned Ultimatum. Even Rachel Weisz who I love just wasn’t that compelling. What I loved about Marie in Bourne Identity was that she wasn’t just some damsel in distress that he was saving but an innocent bystander that got pulled into Jason’s world by his own need than any will of her own. She was a much stronger character and no amount of acting on Weisz’ part could’ve equalled that

    Anyways feel free to check out my review and I look forward to reading more from you :)

  3. JustMeMike says:

    August 11th, 2012 at 11:24 am Reply

    I too came away disappointed. Not that the film was terrible – it just wasn’t good enough. If you have to rank the 4 Bourne films – this one has to come in 4th. In my own review I called it – the old Bourne with new actors. I guess they wanted it to be the both the Old Bourne AND the new Bourne.

    Rooftop chases – check
    stolen motorcycles – check
    gal pal alongside – check

    Biggest difference – we couldn’t tie in with the Cross character as we did with Bourne.
    Damon’s Bourne was chasing down his past to find out who he was today, while Renner’s Cross had no past.

    1. Om Malik says:

      August 11th, 2012 at 1:23 pm Reply


      I found the movie pretty big letdown – considering all the hype that had built around it. Not sure I can be convinced to stand in a queue to watch this movie again :-)

  4. Sapinder Singh Grewal says:

    August 11th, 2012 at 11:03 am Reply

    next version of the money? good review..not watching.,thanks

  5. Dennis Scales (@dennisscales) says:

    August 11th, 2012 at 11:00 am Reply

    Well put. I went away not wanting to say anything bad about it, but having a hard time faking any sort of joy. I like Renner, but he seemed to play the regular guy with cool skills, that weren’t on display very often. I can understand the angle, but it just didn’t grab me. I think what was missing was how Damon as Bourne looked clearly to be in control of the situation, enough to make you jealous at how awesome he is at his job. Renner seemed a lot more normal and therefore fallible and in some ways; lucky to be alive at the end.

    It seems that they didn’t want to say “do it like Damon”, but if you’re going to change it, you really have to do the other parts well and they fell short. Edward Norton played Mr. Snarky Pants, more mouth than substance. I couldn’t understand why he’d be in charge of such an operation. There were also a lot less majestic shots of the locations. With being in DC and the Phillippines, there wasn’t much about the location to grab you like the other films.

    I sooooo wanted to like it, but it was unremarkable.

  6. Mayank Kishore (@thepotenza) says:

    August 11th, 2012 at 10:48 am Reply

    Doug liman(& not Paul Greesgrass) directed arguably the best Bourne movie aka The Bourne Identity.

  7. Wells Baum (@bombtune) says:

    August 11th, 2012 at 10:42 am Reply

    What I thought, just saved me an iTunes+ album. Thanks.

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