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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Jeremy Renner
Rachel Weisz
Edward Norton
Oscar Isaac
Stacy Keach.
Directors
Tony Gilroy.
Screenwriters
Dan Gilroy
Tony Gilroy.
Running Time
135 minutes

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The Bourne Legacy
We want Matt not gloss


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Plot
As Jason Bourne closes in on his identity in New York, an even shadier division of the US Secret Service decides to tidy up loose ends. However, experimental super-agent Aaron Cross (Renner) isn’t so willing to be trashed.


Review
The Bourne Legacy
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Listen up, people. Treadstone was just the tip of the iceberg. This goes further than you can possibly imagine. Shit has metastasised. And further words to that effect, eloquently discharged by a fulminating Edward Norton in the role of decent-actor-at-headquarters-scowling-at-computer-screens. The Bourne Legacy, with erstwhile Bourne-scribe Tony Gilroy replacing the (as swiftly becomes apparent) irreplaceable Paul Greengrass as director, and Jeremy Renner imitating the (just as obviously) inimitable Matt Damon, certainly does what is expected of it. We’ll dash about the globe with our persecuted spy, trashing places in fevered vérité, while the suits lock horns back home. But this sideways-sequel is so ham-fisted, so constipated with gravid exposition, you’ll be dashing home to weep hot, bitter, Damonless tears over your Bourne box set. We’re in a Bond movie and stuck with 006.

Renner, already facing the uphill task of not being Damon, finds no sure ground for his character. He can do the physical stuff, but his deadpan keeps slipping into a sneer. We’re unsure we even want him saved. Renner is at his best with a faint note of sarcasm; Damon’s flickers of existential crisis are beyond him.

You can partly blame the script. Rather than shackled with memory loss, Cross is a military-grade junkie — he and fellow ‘Outcome’ agents are hooked on “chems”. Blue and green pills that boost healing and intelligence like videogame power-ups. Sound familiar? It’s the crazy “headache” subplot from The Bourne Identity Greengrass sensibly jettisoned. As explained by mires of virus-related gobbledyspeak, Cross and less adept black ops miseries are nigh-on bioengineered X-Men. And Renner plaintively informs us that if he doesn’t get some blues quick, he’s in grave danger of going full retard. Which, frankly, is spoof-grade blarney.

As a scientist who knows too much and hooks up with our hero, Rachel Weisz at least contributes some emotional gusto, running the gamut from sobbing wreck to nervy sidekick to (potential) love interest, but she is basically there to cling to the back of a motorcycle.

The original Bourne trilogy, fast resembling neo-espionage classics, was set within sight of the real world — we felt the heft and hardship of the action. For all the whip-pans and juddering momentum, Greengrass convinced us of the gravity-defying leap from roof to window, or the terrifying brunt of an incoming Trabant. When we finally get to the action, Gilroy does nothing honestly. As Cross plunges between vertical walls, the view cuts away before he lands. As he slews a motorbike down a stone partition, our sight is obscured. Essential Bourne-thrills reduced to the shredded facsimile of a master-craftsman. Being kind, you might say Legacy lacks its own identity. The reality is, this shit really has metastasised. Cue: Moby.


Verdict
As earnestly as they have tried to continue the formerly excellent spy series, everything Gilroy and crew concoct only serves to mock the excellence and passion with which Greengrass delivered his films.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Bourne Legacy
Empire Star Rating

I needed a Bourne fix and loved this movie as much as the others. Obviously, the rooftop and motorbike chases were lame. The fake wolf was a little silly but the idea was good and the lead up was very entertaining. Those drone operators were great! I thought the script was 2nd only to BI. Intelligent and intriguing with surprising ideas. Renner vs Damon? I love both actors, thinking Renner did an amazing job won't mean I'm betraying Damon. Renner did not play Bourne, he plays Cross... who rememb... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Taisher at 17:14, 30 July 2013 | Report This Post


RE: The Bourne Legacy

So who’s that familiar figure floating in the water at the start of The Bourne Legacy? Why, it’s Captain Birdseye! Jeremy Renner sporting a very unflattering scraggly beard the whole of the first act which just had me thinking of Monty Python: It’s… not Jason Bourne. Good idea that; reminding your audience that the star of the franchise has gone AWOL. The name’s Cross… Aaron Cross. (Cross? He was absolutely livid! Musta read the script.) Or was it Kenneth James? It could have been Kenneth ... More

Posted by chris kilby at 16:24, 31 October 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

I haven't seen this movie. When it was announced I was pretty excited to see it but after a few reviews that I've seen, It kind of disappoint me. hahaha... ... More

Posted by cherylsturgill at 06:33, 14 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: BREAKING NEW GROUND

L: Kid Twist As a fan of the trilogy, this movie did exactly what I wanted for a Bourne film...and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a subscriber, I used to trust Empire reviews, not any more. Five stars used to mean 'breaking new ground'. I guess it's all about expectation. For example, The Dark Knight Rises certainly didn't live up to the expectation of the previous Nolan film and was flawed in several ways - to give it five stars was nonsense, four stars I could've just about accepted. Ho... More

Posted by dseys at 21:08, 12 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Bourne Legacy

I'm not really sure what some of you are remembering when it comes to Greengrass' Bourne movies. ents like he was the only director who could master shaky cam and rapid cuts, or Gilroy cuts away from the action too quickly, are leaving me slightly confused. Every single action beat in the last two Bourne flicks is a puke inducing mess, with cuts literally occurring every second or so. Those rapid cuts combined with atrocious camera movement, which doesn't even stop shaking about when people a... More

Posted by captainrentboy at 14:52, 27 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Bored Identity

YOU'RE STILL ALIVE ... More

Posted by Deviation at 22:04, 25 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Bored Identity

It wasn't awful. To be honest it's probably on a par with Identity, but it falls a fair way short of Supremacy and Ultimatum. Renner was good, Norton was okay. The motorcycle and rooftop chase seemed a direct rip-off of the one in Ultimatum, and they pulled the chasing agent out of thin air really, but the stuff in the mountains was great and it could have been a lot worse. ... More

Posted by Piles at 21:31, 25 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Really don't get the hate for this, glad I never listened to the reviews. Thought the film was really entertaining. The two leads were strong. Aaron Cross is an interesting character that brings something different to the series with the pills storyline. And call me mad but the bike chase was better than any set piece in The Dark Knight Rises. Critics have been too harsh on this, reminds me of the hate On Her Majesty's Secret Service got when in fact that was a strong Bond film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by efc91 at 21:47, 23 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Overlong and even rather slow compared to the other, 'proper' Bourne films, this just about passes muster as a thriller, though is once again proof that only Paul Greengrass can do the 'shakycam/hyperfast editing' well and Jereny Renner is seriously poor in some scenes. 5.5/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 19:09, 23 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

I'd give it a solid three stars. main problem with the movie is we're not really given any rason to care about the main character. And given that all questions were answered over the last three movies there wasn't any intreague, few more flashbacks showing a more human side to him might have helped. Still taken as a movie in it's own right it's an enjoyable night out. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blackduck at 16:38, 23 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

The first half is incredibly dull and constantly offers reminders that there's a more exciting movie taking place elsewhere in the universe. It picks up at the half way point but unfortunately the story goes nowhere special and abruptly ends there. Also, I've lost count of how many "different" government programs there are with highly trained super soldiers that all do the exact same thing. I did like aspects of the film. I liked the realistic super soldier angle, the action is executed we... More

Posted by Gazz at 14:55, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE:

L: Con Broccolli " he’s in grave danger of going full retard. Which, frankly, is spoof-grade blarney. " What a pathetic thing to write in a review. I fear for the future of empire mag if this is the kind of material that's offered up (zoolander reference not acceptable as an excuse) I object to disablist language and views as much as the next guy, but the "going full-retard" is a (Tropic Thunder) reference to conceited actorly portrayals of mental disability, rather than the mentall... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 13:51, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE:

L: Con Broccolli " he’s in grave danger of ull retard, frankly, is spoof-grade blarney. " What a pathetic thing to write in a review. I fear for the future of empire mag if this is the kind of material that's offered up (er referenceceptable as an excuse) h dear... ... More

Posted by AxlReznor at 12:20, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE:

So it turns out that the "Treadstone without the inconsistency" guy they talked about in the trailer isn't even Aaron Cross! Why didn't they make a movie about that guy then?! ... More

Posted by QB at 12:16, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Didn't add a lot

It starts off quite well I thought, I was enjoying the bits up in Alaska but I got bored after that and it actually started to annoy me fairly soon. Some of the acting and dialogue was awful I thought, starting mainly with the scene in Rachel Weisz's house with the two agents, painful to watch. The action isn't great and the bike chase finale is a big let down. I like Renner but he's only ok here, a few ropey moments and he doesn't really grab you. I quite like Rachel Weisz as well but my god s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by talpacino at 09:52, 20 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable

I liked it. Maybe doesnt go as quite as deep into its lead character as in the previous films, but involving and exciting and Renner and Weicsz are very good together. Much more in line with Identity than supremacy and ultimatum. 7.6 out of 10 ... More

Posted by MartinBlank76 at 15:29, 19 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

Yes, but your point is just that you don't agree with the ratings some films have been given. UTB's point was simply that Empire see them in the same category BUT that doesn't mean they don't think one isn't better than the other. Your particular opinion on certain films doesn't change that. ... More

Posted by elab49 at 15:49, 17 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

I answered to UTB's last post about the definition of the star raking (4-star = excellent, 3-star = good, 2-star = fair), to say that no, all 3-star movies aren't "good", and that the 2-star reviews usually trash a movie instead of saying it's "not good, not shit, but fair". Thought my post was understandable :) ... More

Posted by dseys at 15:44, 17 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

L: dseys Sorry but NO, all 3 star movies aren't "good", and all 4 star movies aren't "excellent". I don't think "Piranha 3D" or "Captain America" or "This Means War" are GOOD movies. They're incredibly bad and stupid, but all of them got 3 stars!! I don't think that movies like "Thor" or "Antichrist" or "Cosmopolis" or "Puss in Boots" or "Shrek 4" are EXCELLENT ones. But yeah they got 4 stars!! Plus, maybe the 2-star rating means "Fair", but the fact is that every 2-star... More

Posted by Whistler at 14:59, 17 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

Sorry but NO, all 3 star movies aren't "good", and all 4 star movies aren't "excellent". I don't think "Piranha 3D" or "Captain America" or "This Means War" are GOOD movies. They're incredibly bad and stupid, but all of them got 3 stars!! I don't think that movies like "Thor" or "Antichrist" or "Cosmopolis" or "Puss in Boots" or "Shrek 4" are EXCELLENT ones. But yeah they got 4 stars!! Plus, maybe the 2-star rating means "Fair", but the fact is that every 2-star review is bashing... More

Posted by dseys at 13:05, 17 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

Was a massive fan of the first 3 in the series, but this was so pointless. Full of characters who I couldn't give a couple of shiny shites about (it says something when you want to see a threatening truck crush both the good guy and damsel in distress). The whole "Guess what? There's another programme. We're going to burn it to the ground, but we have several other programmes just in case we get to do more sequels and need a threat for the main character" thing really irked me, along with ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mattdavies86 at 20:56, 16 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

Why don't you look at what the rating means instead? Look at two 3-star movies. Are they exactly as good as each other? No. Are they of equal merit? No. Are they both good films? Yes. This particular motion picture has been classified as fair. Its not good, but its not shit. It doesn't need a fucking algorithm to figure out the 47.65%/100 score. And it doesn't mean it is EXACTLY THE SAME AS TRANSFORMERS 2. Deal with it. ... More

Posted by UTB at 13:55, 16 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

L: AxlReznor I think rating things out of 5 causes far too many problems though. Rate out of 10 or 100. It gives you a lot more leeway. You'll still get people complaining, but you'll never stop that. But the greater scale makes it harder to choose an exact number, surely. Choosing whether a film is 3 star or 4 star is surely a lot easier than deciding if it was 67%, or 85%, or 8 out of ten, and so on. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:54, 16 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

I think rating things out of 5 causes far too many problems though. Rate out of 10 or 100. It gives you a lot more leeway. You'll still get people complaining, but you'll never stop that. ... More

Posted by AxlReznor at 11:43, 16 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Empire wrote "SUMMER'S SMARTEST SEQUEL"...

L: st3veebee I'm been saying this for a while now: get rid of Star Ratings and let people judge the review itself. If anything, I think that would be worse. People see star ratings and barrel in with BUT ATTACK OF THE CLONES HAS FIVE STARS comments without even reading the review. Instead you'd have people not reading the review and having a pop at Empire for not telling them if the movie sucked or not. ... More

Posted by cerebusboy at 11:33, 16 August 2012 | Report This Post


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