I was on IMDb the other night, browsing a whole slew of upcoming nerdly movies, particularly sequels. The reason I was there at all actually, was to see if there really was going to be a fifth Indiana Jones movie.
I found this user-made list called “Movies I’m Looking Forward To”. So I scroll down the list and I see The Bourne Legacy.
I’d heard rumors of there being a fourth Jason Bourne film since Ultimatum came out in 2007. At the time I was pretty excited by the idea, but now…..not so much. It’s not because they’re out of Robert Ludlum books to adapt. The Bourne movies used their titles, and not much else. The plot of the whole movie trilogy was kinda like the story of the first book stretched over three movies, with bits of the other two crammed in where appropriate.
I know, cause I read The Bourne Identity when I was staying in the psych ward.
Anyway, after the success of the movies, a guy named Eric van Lustbader decided to revive the book series, because Ludlum was busy being dead. He’s written like seven of them now. And who the fuck is Eric van Lustbader, I assume you ask.
Well, believe it or not, I knew who he was pre-Bourne. He wrote a series of novels in the 80s called The Ninja Cycle. They were about a half American, half Japanese guy who’s really a ninja and his dark past comes back to ruin his comfortable little life.
They were the ultimate weeaboo fantasy. All my friends read them, and I read a couple too, just to shut them up. They weren’t bad; he’s a competent writer. I like stories with samurai/ninja culture in a modern setting. There’s a lot of suspense, a lot of violence, and a lot of sex scenes so graphic I almost masturbated to ’em.
I’ve never read any of his Bourne books, but he wasn’t a totally bad fit. Jason Bourne is an American guy who’s kinda like a ninja and his dark past that he can’t remember always comes back to haunt him.
So, after The Bourne Ultimatum came out and it was fucking awesome, people wanted to see a fourth. The main plot was resolved, but they did leave it open for a continuation.
Hollywood likes money, so of course, there’s another one coming. But I’m telling you right now, internet: It’s going to suck. Hard.
First of all, the biggest problem is that Matt Damon isn’t in this movie. In fact, the Jason Bourne character isn’t even in this movie. Instead we’ve got Jeremy Renner playing some tool named Aaron Cross, who just happens to have the same conditioning Bourne got. Bull. Shit. Edward Norton’s in it too. I like him, but I don’t know what he’s doing here, exactly.
What the fuck? Why? Jason Bourne isn’t James Bond. You don’t just pass the mantle onto somebody else. He’s not really a character built to be reused time and again every time there’s a new adventure. The Bourne movies are one of the few examples where the films were better than the books. It was the story of one rogue agent trying to figure out his past while fending off a bunch of assholes who want to kill him. It’s a story that’s specific to the character, not an adventure story with a guy named Bourne in it.
When the trilogy was over, those plot threads were tied up. Bourne’s memory is restored, and his enemies are finally off his ass. So even if you had Bourne you’d still need to tread carefully. This is not a story you just hand off to some random fuckhat when Matt Damon isn’t available. If you want to make a new character, fine, but why is Bourne still in the title? Why not just make a new movie? Oh, wait we can’t do that, heaven forbid people have to take a chance on a new IP.
The other big warning sign is that Paul Greengrass isn’t coming back to direct. Now, he’s not the most amazing director who ever lived, but he did bring a unique style to Supremacy and Ultimatum that elevated the series beyond the good but not special Bourne Identity. I know not everyone likes the documentary-style camera, but I thought it really suited those movies, and gave them a bit of realism and grit visually.
That’s what I liked about the Bourne movies compared to Bond or Die Hard. They felt very down to earth and real. The hand to hand fighting was fast and brutal, and I liked that the characters would use the objects and architecture of their environment to their advantage. It gave the fights a kind of improvisational feel. It didn’t look choreographed.
In fact, Greengrass not returning is the reason Matt Damon’s not in this one. He told Universal he wouldn’t come back without ol’ Paulie. He’s sitting this one out, but might come back in the future if they can get Greengrass.
So, instead, we’ve got Tony Gilroy directing this one. While he did write the screenplays for the other three movies, his only other directing credits are Michael Clayton and Duplicity. Let’s hear it for mediocrity.
To sum up, we’ve got a film series that was a single ongoing story about one central character being needlessly extended and refocusing on some other douchebag no one cares about. The director who gave the series its distinctive style is gone, replaced by someone who makes boring shit.
Maybe I’m wrong and it will be a competent film, but if I know Hollywood it’ll just be loud and dumb, made for the sole purpose of selling tickets. It won’t be a Bourne movie. Bourne’s not even in it. Don’t fucking lie to me Hollywood, you know I hate that.