The Bourne Legacy

“There was never just one.”

Serving as the fourth film in the Bourne series, this movie follows the story of a genetically modified CIA assassin named Aaron Cross who has to fight to preserve his life when he becomes the next target of his program’s leaders when they are forced to terminate their clandestine program know as “Outcome.”

Thinking that he is being a true patriot serving his country, things are going well for Cross until Jason Bourne starts causing trouble (as seen in the previous films.) With Treadstone and Blackbriar failing, Outcome’s leaders know that their program is going to be next. In order to protect themselves from scandal and having their illegal and unethical actions made public, the government is forced to obliterate the programs that they created and that includes doing away with all the assassins and operatives that they “enhanced.” This is not good news for Aaron Cross.

Will Cross be able to preserve his incredible strength and amazing problem-solving capabilities before it’s too late? or will he be burned in the government’s attempt to set fire to its dubious program? In solving these issues, Bourne Legacy follows the journey of Cross along with Marta Shearing, a scientist from the Outcome program, as they search for answers together.

The Honorable

After the enjoying the previous three Bourne films, this is worthy to join the series. Appealing to lovers of spy-flicks and adventure films, this movie is filled with practically nonstop action.

I appreciate the character of Aaron Cross almost more than Matt Damon’s portrayal of the infamous Jason Bourne in the other movies. Albeit, he is still a government-commissioned assassin, but he didn’t seem to be as callous and cold as Bourne. Jason Bourne is a deeper and better-developed character, by far, but Aaron Cross was much more accessible and somewhat easier to relate to. Cross displays many heroic qualities and, even though his motives were somewhat tainted by selfish reasons, he does put himself at risk to aid Marta who is also a victim of Outcome’s demise.

In like manner, even though Marta really does need Cross’s protection in an earlier part of the story, she does stand by him and aid him in a later instance, even when she doesn’t have to. Both of them show loyalty and a desire to help the other.

Another refreshing aspect of the film that is worth noting is the absence of any romantic or intimate content. It’s rare to find movies like that today and I enjoyed being able to just enjoy the spy-story without having to worry about anything inappropriate or romantic being added in.

The director of this movie opted to set the story simultaneously with Bourne Ultimatum, the third film in the series. As a result, both stories overlap in intriguing ways. I enjoyed this approach to telling Cross’s story, but it is worth realizing that this would make Legacy confusing for those who haven’t previously seen the other Bourne films.

The Corrupt

The MPAA rated this film PG13 for “violence and action sequences.”

This film contains quite a bit of profanity (like uses of “s-“, “h-“, “s.o.b”, etc.) and taking the Lord’s name in vain, so that’s something to be mindful of. One character remarks on how she mistakenly believed another character to be homosexual.

Violence is heavily saturated throughout this film. Aaron Cross is a deadly assassin and he acts like it. People are killed in brutal ways during the entire course of the movie. One scene includes someone murdering people who are locked in a room with him. Cross fights with wolves and all through the film many of the characters show no mercy as violence is acted out again and again. Cruel and brutal combat tactics are used. Needles are prevalent and Cross cuts himself open in order to remove a tracking beacon from his body. Explosions, crashes, gun fights, murder, and hand-to-hand combat make up the majority of this movie.

Because these assassins are “enhanced,” they have a dependence upon the pills and drugs that provide them with their incredible physical and mental strength. A great majority of this film is spent with Cross pursuing those drugs in order to obtain them in any way necessary; no matter the cost.

Does the end justify the means? According Outcome’s leader, who tells Cross, “Do you know what a sin eater is? We take the sin and bury it down deep so the rest of the world can live pure” and “We are morally indefensible and absolutely necessary” it does. Nevertheless, morality must be taken into account and I strongly disagree with these quotes. The end never justifies the means if those means are unethical, sinful, and cruel.

Another thing that disappointed me about Bourne Legacy was the lack of emotional connection to the characters. We are provided with a few vague details about Cross’s past, but not enough to really feel for who he was or care about who he is becoming. It’s a thriller, filled with intellectual spy-games; it’s not a drama. It’s action-oriented; not character-focused. Even still, at times, the action scenes became drawn-out ordeals that grew mundane by their excessive length. After the stereotypical road chase scene, I will admit that I was relieved that it was finally over.

Oh, and this film is not going to give you an ending; let alone a satisfactory one. To be perfectly honest, I was sorely disappointed by how anti-climatic the end was.

The Art

Even if Bourne Legacy isn’t necessary one of best films that I’ve seen, the acting, special effects, and cinematography are still worth being complimented. As doubtful as I was about a Bourne film without Matt Damon, Jeremy Renner did an fantastic job as Aaron Cross. He fit the part perfectly and brought a lot of personality to his character. The special effects and stunts were incredible and, even though the cinematography was somewhat fast-paced and jumpy at times, it worked well in the film and helped in creating the sense of panic that matched the mood in the film.

The story-telling technique used in Legacy differs from the previous Bourne films. Especially in Bourne Identity when the views take a mental journey with Jason Bourne. We share in his confusion and figure out his identity along with him. Unlike this approach, in Legacy, we know more about what’s going on. We know more than Cross does so we have more of an outsider’s perspective. Each way has its pros and cons and it really comes down to what the individual viewer prefers.

With the three previous Bourne films scored by John Powell, Legacy differs from the series by instead having a soundtrack composed by James Newton Howard. The music is diverse and well-rounded with some more synth-heavy tracks along with tracks with more tender strains that reminded me of the first film, Bourne Identity. In my personal opinion, the score didn’t become a favorite, but it does suit the film well and it was enjoyable to listen to.

To Conclude

I enjoyed Bourne Legacy; it was an entertaining movie filled with spy-action and government conspiracies. If you enjoyed the first three Bourne movies, then you would probably like this one as well. Despite all of that though, I would not recommend it to everyone due to the violent content and all of the blurred gray areas between right and wrong and the unclear view of morality that the writers of the film failed to address.

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