I’m sure I’ve had this rant many times before, but it really irritates me when the trailer for a film tells me more than I want it to. I noticed that the trailer for Total Recall (the new one) did this because I was already familiar with the story and they basically covered all the big twists in the two minutes they had to advertise it. Maybe I’m crazy, but that to me is not what a film trailer is supposed to. Don’t summarise the film for me, give me the initial premise for the action, or give me something that intrigues me to know more about the film and then that will entice me to go purchase a ticket upon release. One of the best examples of this, in my opinion, was the initial trailer for Cloverfield back in 2007. What began as a semi-documentary account of a going away party suddenly turned into electricity blackouts, a rain of debris and the Statue of Liberty’s head crashing in a New York city street; and then suddenly nothing but a release date. Now THAT was a movie trailer; no plot summary but a short series of events that were very intriguing.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because I felt that the trailer for The Bourne Legacy, while not revealing too many plot details, still showed me a thing or two I would rather have not known going into the film. Ah well, can’t have everything I suppose.
Now Showing this week is The Bourne Legacy, directed by Tony Gilroy and following on from the Jason Bourne trilogy of recent years. Now the film initially is very unforgiving to anyone who does not remember all the details of the previous trilogy with incredible accuracy. I have seen all the previous films, but not since the third one was on a the cinemas, so for the first half an hour of Legacy I was incredibly confused with all the talk of Treadstone and whatnot. I recognised the names, but not what they exactly were. But after all that confusion subsides, Legacy is telling the story of American agent Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) who is taking part in a secret government program to enhance the physical and mental capabilities of their soldiers. However, due to the prior events of the Jason Bourne incident, and the media slowly getting hold of very sensitive information, the program must be burned and Cross suddenly finds himself running from his own government. I suppose if I say any more than that then I make myself a hypocrite after my trailers rant, but it all feels fairly similar the story line of the Jason Bourne films.
One of the films strong points is its story line. My god it was intense and thrilling! Not only Cross being on the run from the government, but the scenes detailing the effort, precision and speed with which the government is tracking him are exemplary. It was rather intimidating and fascinating to see how a group of people in an office in New York could track a man with an extremely deadly special ops skill set. And I suppose I am a huge sucker for any film that deals with how ruthless and cunning the US government can be.
I wish I could say the script was as good as the story line was. Don’t get me wrong, the script wasn’t painful to listen to nor was it a broken script; it was just that some moments felt really weak and the dialogue lazy. I suppose the only moments this really came across was from the character of Dr. Shearing (Rachel Weisz) as she was always being asked why she was involved in the program or why she never questioned her role and her answer was never anything more than “for science! I was there for science!”. She could have said that the research they were conducting fascinated her, for the effects on the human body were huge advancements in the human potential blah blah blah, but instead all she could ever muster up was “for science!”.
Weisz’s Dr. Shearing is the only acting issue I would claim with the film as well. The combination of her performance with some of her poor dialogue made her a character that felt a bit over acted. This was a shame as I like Weisz as an actress, but here she just seemed a bit exaggerated. Renner was excellent as Cross, he really is very good at playing the like-able action hero. But I think he may soon be running out of variations of the character type after this, The Avengers and Mission Impossible. Everyone else was satisfactory, with Edward Norton’s sinister intelligence agent character being very intimidating.
All in all, Legacy was a good watch. It was action packed, thrilling, ethically interesting and good fun. Some minor script and acting gripes aside, Gilroy has made a good spy thriller and it is definitely worth a watch if that is your genre. Sadly though, it doesn’t really end and the production company is clearly wanting to go for another franchise. I get that it is a good investment and all that to go for a franchise, but can we not sacrifice the whole “conclusion” part of storytelling to do it? Please?
See you next time!