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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bourne This Way -- THE BOURNE LEGACY Movie Review


In the tradition of Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum comes another suspense action based on Robet Ludlum's novels via The Bourne Legacy.  And indeed the legacy continues, it's Bourne this way!  :)  And this is what I witnessed at the Asian red carpet premiere of THE BOURNE Legacy organized by Solar - UIP Philippines at Resorts World Manila. 
After co-writing the three Bourne films, Tony Gilroy this time directs (and still co-writes) the new Bourne movie but  he expands the universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films.   For The Bourne Legacy, Renner joins fellow series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles.

In the wake of Jason Bourne's dismemberment of Operation Blackbriar, the CIA decides to dispose of their other black ops programs, which includes the termination of their field agents. However, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), an agent from Operation Outcome, escapes from being executed and, with the help of an Outcome scientist (Rachel Weisz), sets out to expose the crimes of his superiors.

Direction / Screenplay / Editing / Sound
Being part of the first three films makes me believe that Tony Gilroy was able to indeed continue the legacy of the Bourne series.  The plot is still thought provoking, the suspense glues the audience from start to finish, and the scenes are heart stopping!  THE BOURNE LEGACY is well weaved in with the first Bourne movies that the idea of resurrecting Jason Bourne with Aaron Cross could be possible (just a thought, this is a Bourne fan speaking hehe).  Jeremy did not portray the role of Jason but of Aaron who is also part of the Operation Outcome.  They kept the Bourne title to continue the franchise.  But the way Aaron was introduced is logical and makes a connection with the first Bournes. Editing and sound did catch up with the fast paced story and they contributed a lot in the build up of suspense and the intensity of the scenes.  The sound is so crisp that when there are guns fires and explosions, the audience can actually feel it.  The insertions of past scenes and flashbacks were creatively integrated to the film's narration. 

The action scenes and stunts were given another dimension with Aaron Cross exploring different worlds, shooting in different locations (Canada, Korea, The Philippines), hence doing a lot of different and exciting yet deadly stuff.  Jeremy climbed snow mountains, did some death defying motorcycle scenes, fought deadly assassins, and many more.

Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton were also exceptional in their respective roles.  Jeremy was able to show his hunger for truth and his thirst for survival.  He was amazing in many scenes including his adventure in Alberta, Canada and the chase in Manila, Philippines.  Rachel was able to express fear, confusion, compassion and her wanting to fight for her life.  She was commendable in the scenes in her house and in her scenes in Manila as well.  Her action scenes were justified, it's realistic and it was a call for the situation.  There's no major highlight in Edward's part but as it is, he was able to show the mystery that he is keeping and why we should be afraid of him.  John Arcilla, in his brief yet notable stint in the movie, was able to portray the role of a reluctant yet respecting security guard of a pharmaceutical laboratory.

Production Design
Bourne movies are known for its spectacular settings as well which spans the globe.  And The Bourne Legacy is no different.  In the story, they explored both the cold region (USA, Canada) and the tropics (The Philippines, Thailand).  I could say that the set design is both realistic and aspirational because as we are exposed to actual setting, we are also left in awe and amazement in the places they've shown.  The shots in the mountain were spectacular, and I could actually feel the altitude while the scenes in Manila made me feel I am also in the place while the chase is happening.

For someone who grew up in Manila, I felt like as if I'm watching two kinds of movies, Hollywood and Filipino (especially that I heard a lot of Filipino lines).  :)  And of course, I fell in love with shot in El Nido, Palawan! 

Filipino Perspective
I would like to give a Filipino audience perspective in this review.  So for my non-Filipino readers, please allow me to explore this part.  At the moment Manila was mentioned in the movie, the audience at the Asian premiere already gave a loud applause.  I was happy to hear it because not only that Manila is mentioned in the screenplay, but for the reason that the city actually played its part in the movie.  Then you could imagine the moment Manila, and some Filipino actors, were seen in the movie!  It was another gigantic applause.  I could say the traffic caused by the shooting is all worth it.  Even producer Patrick Crowley said in his speech at the premiere that the reason they held the Asian premiere in Manila is to give back to the city that welcomed them and made this movie possible.  And when El Nido was shown, everyone were put into a magic spell. 

I only wish that the Manila Police shown is really as excellent as featured in the movie.  Just to be clear, I am not questioning their skills, I just really wish that it's true because I haven't witnessed it in the media.  But still, I want our police to be that way.  And then, the woman who shouted "Mga Kapitbahay" is quite not convincing.  Most Filipinos are hospitable to foreigners, so for someone who looks like Rachel Weisz, the instant reaction would not be a scream but a friendly smile.  And lastly, the film is really good, highly entertaining and captivating, but the story isn't complete.  I enjoyed the movie and I wanted it to be much longer.  In Filipino, we call it "Bitin" (not enough).  But I guess that's a call for a next Bourne movie. And for fellow Filipinos, you'll be excited with the possibility of where it can be shot again.  You'll see the clue in the film.  Perhaps, the sequel can be called BOURNE AGAIN?  :)  Hehe, of course that's a joke.

And with that, I could say that THE BOURNE LEGACY is successful franchise of the Bourne series and is worthy to be watched by fans of the Bourne movies, suspense action flicks, and of course the Filipino viewing public.  From a scale of 1 to 10 claps, I'm giving an 8 with motorcycle stunts!  Here's the official movie trailer:

From Solar-UIP, THE BOURNE LEGACY opens in theaters on August 8!

Note: Solar-UIP is running a promo for you to win tickets and merchandise items of THE BOURNE LEGACY.  Here's the link: Solar-UIP THE BOURNE LEGACY Promo

And that has been the TaDi way!  Let's pray for a sunny day!  :)

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