Disc/Transfer Information: Region “1” (U.S.) Disc Tested; Dual Layer 2.39:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Release Date: 12/11/2012
Running Time: 135 Minutes
Tested Audio Track: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Director: Tony Gilroy
Starring Cast: Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz
THERE WAS NEVER JUST ONE.
I must admit, I was never a big fan of the Bourne series films; my wife, and, subsequently, her late dad, were more hardcore enthusiasts of the superengineered-spy-run-amok stories…to me, they were even more long-winded and confusing than the Bond installments, and while he definitely kicked tail in them, I never especially bought Matt Damon in the lead role as a lightning-quick deadly assassin designed by the U.S. CIA – indeed, after awhile, Damon grows on you in the Jason Bourne role, but for some reason, I was never a huge fan. I can tolerate the first one, Bourne Identity (which we actually own on DVD because the aforementioned ball and chain – err, I mean wife – likes it), but the releases since then never did anything for me. Still, when I saw the trailers for this latest installment by Tony Gilroy to keep the franchise going – which didn’t feature Matt Damon in the lead but rather a seemingly super-strong Jeremy Renner – I must admit I was intrigued, what with the action sequences hinted at, a plot that seemed to somehow tie in Damon’s Bourne character without actually being about him and some seasoned actors including Ed Norton and even Rachel Weisz. The end result, as happens time and time again, wasn’t as satisfying as I hoped – but I’m sure diehard Bourne fans will disagree and “got” what was going on here in a much more dynamic manner than I did…
First, let me say I like Jeremy Renner in pretty much everything – he was sort of terrifying as the loud-mouthed Irish heist man in Ben Affleck’s The Town and he played the iconic “Hawkeye” character from Avengers purposefully and effectively. Tony “Michael Clayton” Gilroy’s vote to include Renner in a new Bourne was probably the best move made for green-lighting Bourne Legacy, as I definitely bought him as one of the super-stamina-injected uber-spies churned out by the CIA. The problem is, it takes nearly an hour into this for the action to heat up and when it does, the action setpieces are kind of…flat – case in point: Towards the end of the film, it’s suggested another super-engineered assassin of seemingly Asian origin is going to confront Renner’s character in a hand-to-hand combat sequence that would rival anything seen in the previous three films – it never happens. Instead, our intercepting spy falls flat on his face after being kicked off his motorbike during a chase scene by Rachel Weisz’s scientist character. I’m not kidding. Let me back up for a moment and try to analyze and describe what was going on in Bourne Legacy – the film opens depicting Renner’s facial haired character surviving in the wilderness somewhere in Alaska, where apparently the CIA send these engineered operatives for rogue training, most of which includes knowing how to live in the wild, fend for themselves and learning how to fight off packs of murderous, ravenous wolves. The opening sequences of the film flash back and forth between CIA boardroom meetings and Renner’s character walking through the arctic wilderness, and, to be honest, the plot ends up already being too confusing; apparently, members of the CIA attached to the Bourne and other projects (that is, the group responsible for engineering and controlling these master assassins), played by the likes of Edward Norton and Stacey Keach, are attempting to shut all these superspies down by infesting the “chems” and “meds” in pill form they swallow with some kind of virus that makes them ill, and then bleed out from their noses and die. All around the world, we see these assassins die off – all except Renner’s character, who, of course becomes the new rogue superagent now defying the orders of his superiors. After escaping a bombing in the Alaskan wilderness by a drone plane designed to take him out – and subsequently escaping a near-death tangle with the same wolves who were hunting him earlier – Renner’s character manages to cut the tracking device out of his arm and stick it in the mouth of one of the aforementioned attacking wolves, thus painting him as the target for the drone. Meanwhile, the action continues to shift from Washington DC to many other places trying to tell this story, which basically boiled down to this: The government realizes they have another rogue assassin on their hands and they need to stop him and kill him; the problem is that Renner’s character has hooked up with Rachel Weisz’s character, who is one of the scientists responsible for engineering the serums and “medications” the government uses to “power” these superspies. Renner’s character is mysteriously and rapidly getting sicker and sicker, due to one of the meds he is missing from his regiment, and the remainder of the film concentrates on the two of them trying to make their way to Manila in the Philippines, where the factory the pills come from resides, all while, of course, dodging local police hot on their trail, the CIA operatives sent to kill them both and all the other stuff you see in these films.
As I mentioned earlier, a moment comes when it looks as though Gilroy is setting up what appears to be an awesome hand-to-hand fight sequence between the ill Renner and another master assassin sent out from the Philippines to stop him – but all that happens here is an overtly long motorbike chase in which the Filipino assassin races through the streets of Manila along with what seems to be the entire Manila police force trying to run down Renner and Weisz on their bike. This sequence goes on and on, reminding me much of the opening chase sequence of Casino Royale between Bond and the African bomb maker…though that film’s chase scene was a lot more interesting and palpable due to Daniel Craig’s charm in the role and his character’s ultimate desperation to get to the bomb maker and kill him. I was really expecting a great super-engineered spy vs. super-engineered spy fight sequence between Renner’s character and the Filipino assassin, but this never happened – Weisz ends up kicking him right off his bike when he gets close to her and Renner, and that’s how he meets his end. Just lame.
The concluding frames of Bourne Legacy were equally as disappointing – nothing happens. We see Weisz sailing off on a boat with Renner, with no tip off as to where they’re going, what will come next, nada – before you know it, the end credits are rolling to the backdrop of this concluding boat scene. I don’t know; this film just didn’t do it for me. An entertaining rental? Yes. But if I never saw it again, personally, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.
[img]http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSZkfWGgW-xY2BJlo6KFdWrUCvMn5rPZnfPqVJfrgkekYr28HIiUA[/img]VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS:
For a DVD transfer upconverted via my OPPO Blu-ray player to 1080p, Universal’s Bourne Legacy was an average to above average effort; there were no compression artifacts to really speak of, which is something one looks for first in upconverted DVD media, and I did not detect any jagged edges/aliasing. There was a noted, obvious cool color temperature push to the 2.39:1 image, rendering some sequences very steely and cold to look at – darker scenes in particular came off looking cold and uneasy. Detail rendition was about what you’d expect from upconverted standard definition; that is, you could make out a lot of facial close-up elements on the characters faces, notably Renner’s, but you could also tell this was DVD and not Blu-ray: Most shots exhibited that “soft around the edges” look that Blu-ray eradicates and takes to the next level. Still, overall, the transfer was solid with no twitchiness to it, video noise was kept to an absolute minimum and it ended up being far from unwatchable.
[img]http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSsaQeD1BxdgY4K2h7UER9ZeMWVQIpK1_K-za-XmbfdaafhBlNMtA[/img]AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS:
The disc’s English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix was actually a little disappointing – and that was surprising, given the nature of even the first film’s excellent Dolby 5.1 track on DVD (which I recall). Everything was a bit on the low side in terms of overall dynamics and volume delivery – not hushed, at all, but requiring more of a master volume goosing on my system than I am used to, especially with lossy legacy tracks that seem to be mixed a bit hotter than lossless Blu-ray soundtracks. I noted a distinct lack of surround activity on the track until late into the film when some rapid gunfire makes its way into the rear soundstage, and LFE was also kept to a somewhat limited minimum for some reason. The overall fidelity of the mix was a bit flat and uninvolving, to be honest, even through the front three channels where most of the track resided, but towards the end of the film, the audio seemed to “perk up and be noticed.”
If you’re compelled, give this a rental. Dedicated fans of the franchise will most likely be satisfied, but as a casual observer, I was actually more entertained by the very first Bourne Identity, and I will even take any of the latest Craig-helmed Bond films over these any day.
Come on, Shacksters! Let's discuss Bourne Legacy if you have seen it, or are planning to...and, as always, thank you for reading!!