Sunday, March 6, 2016

Review: The Bourne Legacy (2012)

James Bond went through this already. The series had its popular watershed debut, misunderstandings of it that spawned cash-grab sequels, and recasting that came a bit too soon. All we have to do now is wait for Jason Bourne to drive an invisible car.

This isn't good for us but it could be worse, I suppose... we could be watching Duplicity again. Maybe that's why: this is a For Hire gig. We could congratulate Gilroy for doing a competent enough job or scold him for withholding any personal flourishes that could engage us more. There is a pretty cool gunfight inside of a house and one or two memorable moments (Renner reloading his rifle in a single as a drone explodes in the background) -- rare occurrences that are no match for the time and special effects wasted on nothing, and here and there, the bafflingly stupid (that ridiculous scene where Renner wrestles with a wolf to shove a tracker bug into his mouth... did Gilroy want to avoid the put-the-bug-in-raw-meat-and-let-the-wolf-eat-it cliché that much?). I'd tell you to skip the first hour but then you'd miss out on some Oscar Isaac, and I cannot in good conscience do that.

It isn't like the Bourne series is anything special but it's really beginning to spiral out of control here. There's Earworm Cinema and there's Teflon Cinema. Legacy's incomprehensible plot about supersoldier drugs, its lack of risks and the apologetic nature of its producing staff make sure we won't remember too much about it. Would remaining inoffensive be its own reward, in this case? It is if they have to restart it again in four more years.

That Gilroy/Ray/Johnson parallel weakens. Rian Johnson is still on top and looks to remain there with the help of the Star Wars pedigree, and Billy Ray's trajectory looks more like a slope than a check mark. We should be more concerned about Renner. One of these days, he's going to be more than a sidekick or an A-Lister's ill-timed replacement. Maybe he'll have a franchise of his own.

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