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The Bourne Legacy (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 8, 2012 by  



“The Bourne Legacy” shows promise of being something greater for future sequels.  The first film featured good acting, clever and intelligent writing and amazing action sequences and cinematography (and also music).  But its action sequences eclipses its plot quite a bit.  Still, “The Bourne Legacy” is an awesome Blu-ray release and fans of the Bourne series will surely enjoy this film in HD.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Bourne Legacy

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 2 Hrs. and 15  Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, DTS Digital Surround 5.1, DVS 2.0, Espanol, francais DTS Digital Surround 5.1, Subtitles: English, Espanol, Francais

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Violence and Intense Action Sequences)

Release Date: December 11, 2012

Directed by Tony Gilroy

Screenplay by Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy

Story by Tony Gilroy

Based on the Bourne Series by Robert Ludlum

Produced by Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall, Ben Smith, Jeffrey M. Weiner

Executive Producer: Jennifer Fox, Henry Morrison

Music by James Newton Howard

Cinematography by Robert Elswit

Edited by John Gilroy

Casting by Ellen Chenoweth

Production Design by Kevin Thompson

Set Decoration by Leslie E. Rollins

Costume Design by Shay Cunliffe

Starring:

Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross

Rachel Weisz as Dr. Marta Shearing

Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer

Joan Allen as Pam Landy

Stacy Keach as Retired Adm. Mark Turso, USN

Edward Norton as Retired Col. Eric Byer, USAF

Donna Murphy as Dita Mandy

Michae Chemus as Arthur Ingram

Corey Stoll as Zev Vendel

Zeljko Ivanek as Dr. Donald Foite

Albert Finney as Dr. Albert hirsch

The Bourne Legacy takes the action-packed Bourne series to an explosive new level. On the verge of having their conspiracy exposed, members of the government’s intelligence community will stop at nothing to erase all evidence of their top secret programs – even the agents involved. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) must use his genetically-engineered skills to survive the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse and finish what Jason Bourne started. Also starring Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz and Academy Award nominee Edward Norton, critics are calling this a “thrilling, edge-of-your-seat heart-pounder” (Meg Porter Berns, WSVN-TV (FOX), Miami).

For over a decade, action/thriller spy fans have been entertained by Robert Ludlum’s “Bourne” series.

Featuring a film adaptation of the trilogy (“The Bourne Identity”, 2002; “The Bourne Supremacy”, 2004; and “The Bourne Ultimatum”, 2007) by Tony Gilroy (who co-wrote each film), it was thought by many that “The Bourne Ultimatum” would be the final film in the series.

Of course, the Bourne films were a tremendous success but by 2008, a fourth film was being planned.  But with Paul Greengrass (who directed the second and third “Bourne” film)  not returning as a director, actor Matt Damon said he would not do another Bourne film.

But Tony Gilroy along with his brother Dan Gilroy would begin working on writing a fourth film that didn’t include Jason Bourne titled “The Bourne Legacy”.  Not wanting to re-create a Bond series with a different actor, he would only work ona fourth film if none of the original cast or filmmakers were involved.  And with the events of “Bourne Ultimatum”, it would lead to “Bourne Legacy” post-Bourne.

The film which was budgeted around $125 million would go on to earn over $276 million in the box office and now will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in Dec. 2012 courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

To help understand what is going on in “The Bourne Legacy”, the film revolved around Operation Treadstone, a CIA black ops program and a top secret program by the U.S. government created for assassinations.

“The Bourne Identity” began with a failed assassination attempt by agent Jason Bourne on an African dictator and with CIA wanting to destroy any evidence connecting to Jason Bourne, the first film features the CIA sending three of their operatives to kill Bourne.

This leads to “Bourne Supremacy” and Jason Bourne who has amnesia is starting to remember his former life as a CIA agent.  Meanwhile, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy has uncovered information that perhaps show that Jason Bourne and Deputy Director Ward Abbot were working on a top secret program known as “Operation Treadstone”.

The third film “The Bourne Ultimatum”, Simon Ross, who writes for “The Guardian” wants to write a story on Jason Bourne as Operation Treadstone.    This leads the CIA to start trailing Ross and when they find out that Ross is meeting with Jason Bourne, the journalist is killed by  Operation Brackbriar director Noah Vosen.  And CIA Deputy Director is brought in to assist Vosen to find Jason Bourne.  In this film, Bourne sends Pam Landy a tape which reveals the corrupt dealings of former Treadstone director Ward Abbott.  And also, to expose Operation Blackbriar.

These events now lead us to “The Bourne Legacy”.  We watch as Aaron Cross (portrayed by Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”, “The Avengers”, “Mission: Impossible – The Ghost Protocol”), a member of the U.S. Defense Departments black ops program, Operation Outcome, is deployed to Alaska for a training assignment.  As part of Operation Outcome, these operatives have been taking pills known as “chems” which enhances their physical and mental abilities.  While crossing through the rugged terrain to a remote cabin, he meets with exiled Operation Outcome operative known as Number Three.

Back in the U.S., with the Blackbriar and Treadstone programs being exposed to the public, the FBI and U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigate CIA director Ezra Kramer, Deputy Director Pamela Landy (portrayed by Joan Allen, “Face/off”, “The Notebook”, “The Bourne Ultimatum”, “The Bourne Supremacy”), Blackbriar supervisor Noah Vosen and Treadstone clinical researcher Dr. Albert Hirsch.   Kramer turns to Eric Byer (portrayed by Edward Norton, “Fight Club”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “The Illusionist”), a retired U.S. Air Force colonel to oversee the CIA’s private operations.

On the job, Byer finds damaging video on YouTube featuring lead researchers for the Treadstone and Outcome appearing at professional functions in public.  So, to prevent the Treadstone investigators from finding out about Operation Outcome’s new scientific advances using the “chems”, Byer decides to end the private operation by having all of its operatives killed.  Especially since the government are now experimenting with new supersoldier programs such as LRX.

Byer sends an unmanned drone to Alaska to kill Aaron Cross and Number Three.  But when Cross goes outside and away from the cabin, a missile from the drone is shot and destroys the cabin and kills Number Three.  With another drone sent out to make sure all are dead, Cross tries to find a way to make the drone think he’s dead.  Byer orders the death of the other Outcome operatives by having poisoned yellow chems being given to them.  Also, going as far as to eliminate the research lab that creates the chems by chemically brainwashing scientist Dr. Donald Foite into killing all scientists including himself in the lab.  But one manages to escape, geneticist Dr. Marta Shearing (portrayed by Rachel Weisz, “The Mummy”, “The Fountain”, “Constantine”).

So, Byer sends CIA to Shearing’s home to assassinate her.  But as the group are about to kill her, Aaron Cross arrives and kills them and escapes with her.  Cross tells her that he saw the press coverage of the murder-suicide at the lab and when he found out that one had lived, he sees Dr. Shearing as the last resource to obtain the chems, so he can continue to be enhanced and also not suffer from any withdrawals.  But is learned that Cross has been taking a modified green chem which has genetically modified him but needs to “viral off” by taking blue chems.  But Shearing reveals that the blue chems are in Manila, Philippines.

So, as the two leave to the Philippines, Byer knows the importance of having to kill both Aaron Cross and Dr. Shearing, so he sends out the governments new supersoldier LARX-03 to kill them.

Will Aaron Cross and Dr. Shearing survive the ordeal?

VIDEO:

“The Bourne Legacy” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1) and while watching this film, I was pleased with the clarity and detail.  Wonderful contrast and I detected no aliasing, no banding or artifacts.  No problems with the picture quality whatsoever.  Videophiles will be pleased with the overall picture quality especially the cinematography courtesy of Robert Elswit (Magnolia”, “Michael Clayton”, “Syriana” and “There Will Be Blood”).

Thanks to the many gorgeous location shots and great coverage of the action sequences, “The Bourne Legacy” is a film that looks amazing on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Bourne Legacy” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, DTS Digital Surround 5.1, DVS 2.0 and Espanol, Francais DTS Digital Surround 5.1.  “The Bourne Legacy” is a film that features plent of action and as one can imagine from a big budget action film, this film is absolutely immersive on Blu-ray.  From Aaron in the the frozen area of Alaska, the sounds of a missile being shot and a cabin being blown up, wolves growling from the distance, gun shots being pumped, a motorcycle chase-scene, a laboratory being riddled with gun shots and the ambiance of crowd scenes galore, “The Bourne Legacy” sounds amazing on Blu-ray, great use of surrounds for panning and directional audio and also LFE for explosions.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Espanol and Francais.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Bourne Legacy” comes with the following special features:

  • Deleted Scenes – (6:48) Featuring three deleted scenes with optional audio commentary with Director/co-writer Tony Gilroy, co-writer Dan Gilroy and director of photography Robert Elswit
  • Re-Bourne – (6:11) A featurette about the challenge of continuing the Bourne series without Jason Bourne.
  • Enter Aaron Cross – (7:11) A featurette with Jeremy Renner about playing the lead role of Aaron Cross.
  • Crossing Continents – (8:22) A featurette on the various locations where “The Bourne Legacy” was shot.
  • Man Vs. Wolf – (4:36) A featurette on creating the Aaron Cross vs. Wolves fight scenes and what was real and what was animatronic.
  • Wolf Sequence Test – (1:39) The animated storyboard for the wolf attack scene.
  • Moving Targets – (6:11) A featurette featuring the cast and crew discussing the focus on the characters of Aaron Cross and Dr. Marta Shearing.
  • Capturing Chaos: The Motorbike Chase – (7:49) A featurette on the filming of the motorcycle chase scene.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Director/co-writer Tony Gilroy, co-writer Dan Gilroy, editor John Gilroy, director of photography Robert Elswit, second unit director Dan Bradley and production designer Kevin Thompson.

EXTRAS:

“The Bourne Legacy” comes with the Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy and UltraViolet version of the film.  Also included is a slipcover case.

I have to admit that prior to the theatrical release of “The Bourne Legacy”, I was skeptical of a film based on the Bourne Series but yet doesn’t feature Jason Bourne as the primary character.  I asked myself of how would Tony and Dan Gilroy create a story without its lead character, which many of us have enjoyed!  And one can only wonder if Tony Gilroy was going to follow a similar 007 style of storyline with its treatment of the character but with a different actor.

Thankfully this was not the case with “The Bourne Legacy” as the Gilroy brothers really planned this film out with future potential in mind.  Consider it a storyline within the world of the Bourne series, it’s storyline of hidden government black ops groups, testing of soldiers using chemical pills but then the secret side of government who wants to hide any lead to this secret black ops groups by trying to eliminate those who were involved.

Enter Aaron Cross, a member of the black ops group, Operation Outcome, one of the many operatives that is to be killed, so no traces of Operation Outcome can be discovered during the investigations of Operations Treadstone and Blackbriar.

But due to his enhanced thinking and ability due to the pills he had been taking as part of Operation Outcome, he manages to thwart his death, but letting the retired Col. Eric Byer, USAF and his staff think that he’s dead.

For those who thought about comparing actor Jeremy Renner to Matt Damon in this action-role, the first half hour literally makes you forget Damon as Renner is able to show that he can do action scenes.  And it helps that his popularity as Hawkeye in the summer blockbuster “The Avengers” showed that he’s more than capable of taking on the role as the primary operative and protagonist.

With two talented actors with Renner and Edward Norton as the antagonist, the film is strengthened by its female lead, Rachel Weisz.   Playing a geneticist, Dr. Marta Shearing, fortunately this is not your banal sexpot, short-fling character.  She’s a smart intelligent woman that has been pulled into danger as she is also targeted for death and now the character along with Aaron Cross are doing all they can to survive and run.

The film not only features very good acting but also exciting action sequences.  And the cinematography to cover the fast action was exciting to see.  Robert Elswit may be known for films such a “Magnolia”, “Michael Clayton”, “Syriana” and “There Will Be Blood” but when it comes to action films such as “Mission Impossible: The Ghost Protocol” and “Salt”, he is a cinematographer with a great eye when it comes to action films.  And so far this is one of his best best films yet.  Thanks to the many gorgeous location shots, “The Bourne Legacy” is a film that does look quite amazing!

But what about the film’s faults?  The primary fault that I found with “The Bourne Legacy” is not setting up of what happened in the previous three films.  For those who haven’t watched the trilogy, and those who have and have not seen it in several years, will probably not remember Pam Landy’s character and what took place between Jason Bourne and the CIA Deputy Director and what the CIA was secretly doing.  I suspect many viewers will be lost of what is going on and just setting up of what took place in three films, and getting people up to speed.

Also, what made the Bourne films so exciting is its plot.  While “The Bourne Legacy” is well-acted, I felt there was too much action over substance, too much of the cat and mouse game than delving deeply into the characters which was done in the previous three films.

Still a film that will have tremendous potential but I rather see more of the deep intelligent plot co-existing with the action, than the film being all about the action.

As for the Blu-ray release, videophiles and audiophiles will absolutely enjoy the presentation of “The Bourne Legacy” on Blu-ray. The video is well-detailed, amazing clarity and picture quality features no blemishes or anything problematic.  The lossless audio because of the intense action is immersive and impressive!  And there are a good number of special features included as well.  Also, the additional extra of having a DVD, Digital Copy and Ultraviolet version is a plus.

Overall, “The Bourne Legacy” shows promise of being something greater for future sequels.  The first film featured good acting, clever and intelligent writing and amazing action sequences and cinematography (and also music).  But its action sequences eclipses its plot quite a bit.  Still, “The Bourne Legacy” is an awesome Blu-ray release and fans of the Bourne series will surely enjoy this film in HD.  Recommended!

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