HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10193[/img]Title: The Bourne Legacy
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
Directed by: Tony Gilroy
Written by: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Main Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA
Studio: Universal Studios
Runtime: 135 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 11th, 2012
HTS Overall Score:84
Bourne is back! Ok, well, maybe not Jason Bourne exactly; more like another highly trained assassin in the same universe. Many people were surprised when “The Bourne Legacy” was announced, and even more surprised to hear that Matt Damon wasn’t going to be reprising his role as the assassin with a conscience. Instead Jeremy Renner takes over the lead role as our hero. Obviously, the studios are hoping that Damon’s lack of presence will not hinder them from adapting a new hero into a spinoff franchise that will make them buckets of moolah like the three original Bourne films. Whether that is true or not is still up in the air, but in the meantime, Jeremy Renner fills the void of sadness that many of us had when we learned that there would be no more films involving Jason Bourne.
Taking over for Jason Bourne is one Aaron Cross (Renner), another CIA experiment in a program called “Project Outcome” that runs parallel to the events in “The Bourne Ultimatum.” While Jason wrecks havoc in London, Madrid, and New York, Aaron Cross is off in the wilds of Alaska, honing his skills as a super spy. Realizing that Jason can throw a monkey wrench into their whole operation, heavy hitting CIA manager Eric Byer (Edward Norton) decides to scrap Project Outcome and sweep it all under the rug, and by sweep it under the rug, we mean they decide to burn EVERYONE in the program: the experiments, the super agents, even the researchers working on the specialty drugs for the program. Luckily for Cross, he manages to escape the kill order and slips under the radar. At the same time, ANOTHER sleeper agent is awakened in the research facility and goes on a psychotic killing spree, slaughtering everyone he can, except one Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz). With Dr. Shearing a loose end, the program sends a few agents to take care of her and make it look like a suicide. All this is foiled when Aaron Cross bursts through the window and single handedly takes out a squad of assassins without breaking a sweat. Teaming up together Dr. Shearing and Cross go on the hunts for his “meds,” green and blue pills that artificially boost his intelligence and strength respectively. As the CIA hunts Dr. Shearing, they also realize that Cross is back and the game and decide to try to take out two birds with one stone by activating an even MORE secret program called LARX that, supposedly, is the culmination of both Treadstone, Blackbriar AND Project Outcome. Basically, a super duper spy who can spit bullets, leap tall buildings in a single bound, AND follow orders without emotional complications. Cross and Dr. Shearing have to figure out how to get Cross his meds, escape the CIA, and take out the Larx agent, all while still staying alive.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10196[/img]I liked the original Bourne series quite a bit. I never expected skinny Matt Damon to pull off a hardcore spy roll so well, but he did. Cross does a surprisingly good job of living up to the big boots that Damon left behind. Charismatic, athletic, well-built, and with some good choreography, he plays the super spy extremely well. All you have to do is look at “Mission Impossible : Ghost Protocol” to see how smooth and cool he is in that type of roll. The problem with the film isn’t Jereme Renner, it isn’t Rachel Weisz, and it MOST CERTAINLY isn’t Edward Norton (I swear the man can’t turn in a bad performance). Rather the issue stems from too much talking, too much science fiction, and a most troubling trend in modern movies….a film where you feel like you just got punched in the face with a sign that says, “Sorry, we can’t end the film properly, we have to leave this open for the VERY obvious sequel.” When Cross gets down to action, it’s just plain awesome: jumping across buildings, down ladders, taking out multiple targets single handedly, and shooting down an attack drone with nothing but a high powered hunting rifle. All of that is great, but unfortunately, there are too many scenes that just lag with exposition and CIA agents running around wondering, “How on earth this could happen?" While the first three Bourne movies teemed with action and memorable chase scenes, this film is a bit light on the action. As I mentioned there was a bit too much science theory explanation for its own good. While the super drugs that make one into an “Uber Soldat” work well in other movies, they just seemed out of place in the gritty realistic setting of the Bourne franchise.
Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10195[/img]Universal studio presents us with an excellent 2.40:1 AVC encoded picture. The first thing I noticed was just how razor sharp the picture was for not being a digital film. Facial detail is through the roof, once again the ravages of HD video shows every pore and every crease of the face, even the ones that weren’t meant to be seen such as Jeremy Renner’s five o’clock shadow or the occasional razor burn along the throat. Every once in a while, I noticed an occasional softness to a random scene, but other than that, the image sharpness was outstanding. Background detail was every bit as impressive as the facial close-ups. The snowy forest scenes were fantastic; even the far away snow covered branches were presented in breathtaking detail. Blacks were great for the most part, every once in a while I noticed a bit of black crush, but it wasn’t distracting or for very long. There were a few stylistic choices which made it hard to focus, such as the use of shaky cam and slightly off color palette, but on a technical side, the encode is about flawless, devoid of any macroblocking or other such compression artifacts.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10194[/img]The audio for “Bourne Legacy” was very, very well done. The dialogue is clear and balanced right in the center channel, and dynamic range is excellent. The effects are right in line with the dialogue, although I did notice the track seemed to be recorded at a slightly lower volume than your average DTS-HD MA track (all you need to do is crank up the receiver a bit more to fix that). The surround use was superb; bullets whistled by your ears and a drone carrying a missile streaked from one end of the sound stage to the other with startling clarity. The entirety of the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track uses all channels and doesn’t let up the entire movie - whether it be an exploding missile, a frenetic motorcycle chase, or just the ambient noise of a city, the audio switches channels with ease and totally envelopes the viewer. The LFE is deep and accurate here; no wild over bloating where you can hear the rumble in every step and every door slam, but rather a subtle use of ambiance and depth that blends seamlessly into the background and comes out with a vengeance when needed. I was really impressed with how “unobvious,” if you will, the track seemed. Instead of feeling like it was drawing your attention TO the audio track, it blended in and seemed almost innocuous, yet impressive at the same time.
• Audio Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Enter Aaron Cross
• Crossing Continents
• Moving Targets
• Man vs. Wolf
• Wolf Sequence Test
• Capturing Chaos: The Motorbike Chase
While not nearly as excellent as the Damon entries into the Bourne saga, “Bourne Legacy” is a fun romp filled with great action scenes and the same haunting score that made the originals so well-loved. Jeremy Renner is a solid replacement for Damon as a lead character, and Rachel Weisz has never failed to deliver a solid performance. Combine those factors with fantastic audio and video scores and you have the recipe for a solid action night where the only other thing needed is a big bowl of popcorn. It’s safe to assume that those who love the original trilogy will at least have a good watch with “Bourne Legacy.”
Buy The Bourne Legacy on Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Rent It