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Monday, October 1, 2012

"The Bourne Legacy" - a fun popcorn romp

Jeremy Rennner and Rachel Weisz in "The Bourne Legacy"
I don't usually do "guy movies." When the Tom Cruise Samurai movie came out, my husband took our daughter-in-law. He goes to Bond movies with our friend HB. He knows my rule for renting videos: Don't get a movie with a gun on the cover.

But Bourne? Jeremy Renner? It sounded good. And it was.

(There are no spoilers in this review.)

What makes the movie fun to watch:

- You get to see great villains. They're fun to watch, even though they're all cardboard cut-outs except for Edward Norton.

- You get to see fantastic scenes of Alaska or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Beautiful.

- You can play Spot-the-Star: Scott Glenn (one of my all-time faves ever since he played the heavy in "Urban Cowboy"), Stacy Keach, Albert Finney, David Strathairn (love him ever since "L.A. Confidential"). Watch carefully and don't take a potty break, though, or you'll miss one.

- Edward Norton is a great, great bad guy - a character in fun and creepy contrast to his Percy Milquetoast  demeanor and voice. (I think he's been pigeonholed for "off center" roles ever since "Fight Club.")

- Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz are fun to look at.

- There's a cool third-act twist. Let's just say that Jeremy Renner isn't the only hero.

- You can follow the plot.

- You can indulge in fun anti-government paranoia (or is it paranoia?).

- You get to think about the possibility of science-y things like "chems" that cause genetic mutations creating super-strong heroes with super stamina and super killers with no empathy.

- Jeremy Renner talks more than he did in "Hurt Locker."

- Jeremy Renner has his shirt off in one scene.

What makes the movie comical to watch:

- The hero, Jeremy Renner, has to travel fast from Alaska to Chicago. Somehow he gets a plane, which he pilots, of course. No explanation of where the plane comes from. Magic.

- Have you ever tried to "pill" a cat? How about a wolf? Can you imagine doing it even if you're super, super strong?

- The hero has unlimited resources. He's never short of cash even though he's fighting The Man.

What makes the movie not-so-good to watch:

- The wonderful Scott Glenn is used only about half of a minute and has a worse hairstyle than Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men."

- The climax is a too-long motorcycle chase scene, boring like all chase scenes. Its only redeeming factor is that it's kind of blurred and Impressionistic. That makes it easier to nod off to.

- Jeremy Renner has his shirt off in only one scene.


Even if you weigh double the fact that Jeremy Renner only takes his shirt off once, as you should, the positives outweigh the negatives. This movie is a fun, mindless popcorn romp.

Robert Ludlum is one lucky author. I'm sure he got a fat paycheck for the rights to the "Bourne" name in this first film after the movies that follow his Bourne trilogy. That's a cool break for a guy who apparently slept through the writing of his third "Bourne" book or perhaps hired an ape to type it (I couldn't get through it).

Matt Damon was great in all three Bourne movies, and Jeremy Renner is a worthy heir to the Bourne cha-ching.

Teacher Gail Movie Grade: B.

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