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August 23rd, 2012

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01:16 am - The Bourne Legacy
Hurrah! I saw a Hollywood film that I didn't hate.

I really enjoyed The Bourne Legacy, which is a sequel to the Bourne trilogy. It stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, a genetically modified super-soldier, the next phase of the Treadstone project. It does not insult your intelligence. The fight scenes make sense - they are strategies within real spaces - and there is some kind of recognisable causality. It's an SF film in that the plot relies on technology that does not exist. It's not realistic of course ('genetically modified super soldier') but it kind of hangs together well enough.

Renner and Rachel Weisz are both good. I like Renner as an action hero as much as I like Matt Damon and Bruce Willis, which is quite a lot. Action heroes have to show vulnerability and suffering, and Renner is good at that, his face is expressive.

The film is formalised rather than loose and open in structure. However I quite like that; as I say it's not going to be realistic is it, and I like non-naturalism. For example the script explicitly alludes back to most of the tropes of the previous Bourne films, but in a fairly graceful way, not in the clonking way that Prometheus referred back to Alien. And secondly there was a plot-device that they deployed in multiple variants (Cross needs to beat a deadline that he is not aware of) and it was interesting to see the different ways that this worked itself out. In the first instance he completes a training exercise, beating a record he didn't know about. That's just a throw-away event. Then that same device comes cycling round in many different guises. I personally like that. It makes me feel the writers have crafted the story with care, rather than chucking events together, like the final Batman film.

They could have made more of some of the plot points, for example there's a kind of Flowers-For-Algernon thing going on at one point, about him fearing the loss of his intellect which doesn't develop as fully as it might but is pretty touching.

The first half an hour is relatively demanding on the viewer, as the new franchise is spliced onto the old. Individual scenes from the Bourne Ultimatum are cut with scenes from the new scenario, and there is little exposition. There's one scene where a character says to another 'Well, you are the deputy head of the CIA' and I'm like, no, don't recite someone's job title at them, nobody does that. But on the whole, they just plunged you into the story and expected you to pick it up. Whether that puts the average film-goer off, I don't know, I hope not. Would definitely like to see more of these.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 23rd, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
Were there any jokes? I've only seen one film from the Bourne series, and what I remember about it was that there was only one joke. It was a good joke, but I didn't feel it really made up for the amount of time I'd been sitting in the cinema.
[User Picture]
Date:August 23rd, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
It's not a film with jokes in it. I was with my son and we both laughed out loud several times at outrageous events, for example boisterous motorbike riding, but that's jollity rather than wit.

I'm trying to think what the joke was in the first Bourne film. I'll kick myself when you say.
[User Picture]
Date:August 23rd, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
It wasn't the first in the series (this was probably why I couldn't entirely follow the plot); it was just the one I happened to see. The joke concerned the Bad Boss Guy's office.

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