The Bourne Legacy [Blu-Ray] Tony Gilroy

The Bourne Legacy [Blu-Ray]Tony Gilroy
By now, the story behind the making of the Bourne series is nearly as compelling as the films. Starting with director Doug Liman's adaptation of The Bourne Identity in 2001, Robert Ludlum's Cold War-era novels about an amnesiac spy inadvertently became the model for action-thrillers for post-9/11 audiences. The first two sequels that followed, under director Paul Greengrass, extended the gritty realism with a kinetic energy and shaky camera that have been imitated just as much as criticized. The constant throughout all the films, including the most recent, has been screenwriter Tony Gilroy. As the series rolls forward in the conspicuous absence of its title character (and star Matt Damon), only Gilroy remains to pick-up the pieces, both co-writing and directing The Bourne Legacy. Gilroy's previous directing effort, Michael Clayton, gave promise to his taking the reins with this entry — even more so with the inspired way he writes around Damon's absence, setting the previous film, The Bourne Ultimatum, as concurrent to this one. With a clever set-up to tie this film into the past, but without a different director to counterbalance the script, The Bourne Legacy is too concerned with its lineage. Opening with an unnecessary shot of new hero Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) floating in the water, like the iconic one of Damon at the beginning of Identity, the film takes its time warming up, carefully laying out the crossovers into the events of Ultimatum. In trying too hard to harness the memory of the previous three films however, it loses their momentum and wastes its potential. Renner's character isn't on the run to piece together his memory, thankfully, but lacks an equally compelling motivation; he spends the film searching for a way to avoid withdrawal from his government-prescribed medication. There's burden of conscious here, just a desire to not get killed. Similarly, Rachel Weisz plays a questionably naïve pharmaceutical company employee that it's a little too hard to root for, especially when the actress has another better pharmaceutical thriller under her belt, The Constant Gardener. The DVD/Blu-Ray release has surprisingly little to offer. Besides deleted scenes and a making-of featurette about Renner wrestling an animatronic wolf (goodbye, gritty realism), the commentary track finds Gilroy talking with many other principle crew members, all equally boastful and unexcited. The self-serious tone matches the film, but doesn't bode well for a series that began as an antidote to bloated, lifeless action movies. In overthinking their place in the Bourne franchise, Gilroy and company have gone too far in the other direction and forgotten that summer films — action-thrillers and otherwise — should at least be exciting. (Universal)