Back in September, I did a review of the original three Bourne movies and finished that with a note to say that it would be interesting to see how the Jeremy Renner film stands up beside them.
Time to find out…
I’ll start out with the good points: most of the acting was good.
The not so good points: Jeremy Renner. I’m sorry, but the man frecking MUMBLED through the whole film. Seriously; I could barely hear half his dialogue. I was also not all that impressed with his acting, for the most part. Aaron Cross was largely indistinguishable from Hawkeye. I can’t fault his physical performance because that was extremely good, but outside of the fight sequences it was all decidedly meh. Except for some of the flashback sequences, when he’s portraying Kenneth Kitsom – unfortunately, those couple of sequences underline just how otherwise wasted Renner is.
The down-right awful points: the plot. What was so good about the original trilogy is the realisim. The fact that none of what Jason does is anything other than the product of intensive training. They’re thrillers that I can believe. Legacy is all about chemical enhancement – Aaron Cross isn’t well trained, he’s a lab rat. It’s a sci-fi story first, thriller second and while I’m not averse to that sort of film, I am when it comes in this context. Second to this is the fact that for the first 45 minutes of the film, I was BORED. It was very clever to intertwine this film with Ultimatum, but ye GODS the opening act was dull as a consequence. It’s 45 minutes of not very much happening. Hell, the drone exploding the cabin and the murder-suicide sequence at the lab don’t actually get the story started. Now, you might say that there isn’t a lot happening in the opening half an hour of Identity, but there’s a sense of mystery in that opening that helps inject some tension and sustains the film until the first action piece with Bourne’s fight with the Swiss cops.
Finally, so as to not end on a sour note, the excellent: The actions sequences. They were all put together well. They were possible to follow who was who and who was doing what and the car/motorbike chase was superbly done. After the last two Bourne films failed so spectacularly on this count, this really was a refreshing change.
Overall then, when it eventually got going, this is as watchable as any of the other Bourne films, but fundamentally it ISN’T a Bourne film and good LORD did the first third of the film make me consider not going through with the rest.