August 9, 2012
"The Bourne Legacy" has so much hype in this country not only because it rides on the coattails of the amazing Bourne Trilogy starring Matt Damon. Even more significantly, it is due to the fact that a considerable number of scenes had been shot right here locally, in such places as the San Andres Market, the Pasay Rotonda, the Navotas Fishport and Palawan. The shooting of the movie was front page news and was on the daily evening news shows. When the trailer showing the Manila scenes was released, it trended massively on online social networking sites. Everything pointed to a widely successful August 8, 2012 opening date. Unfortunately though, Mother Nature had other ideas, as one of the metropolis' worst monsoon flooding which inundated many parts of the city happened before and right on that day. All of a sudden, "The Bourne Legacy" did not seem that important anymore.
I personally felt that this movie, while exciting at parts, did not really live up to the first three Bourne movies. The lead actors Jeremy Renner (as Treadstone Agent Aaron Cross) and Rachel Weiss (as geneticist-virologist Dr. Marta Shearer) did very well in the acting department to keep the scenes vital. However, the story (for a Bourne movie) was uncharacteristically sketchy and really, barely there.
This film follows the aftermath of the third Bourne film when his agency Treadstone was already being investigated and threatened with exposure. All remaining Treadstone agents were being systematically eradicated. Cross and Shearer have to evade the government counter forces led by Eric Byer (Edward Norton), who did not really feel like a real danger for our heroes. We learn the "scientific" reason why Treadstone agents have super-human abilities, which was too incredible. The Manila connection was weak and unbelievable. The street chase scenes in Manila were a big blur, and basically what we already saw in the trailer. The ending felt rushed and too convenient. If you knew Philippine geography, the final scenes would be funny.
I don't know, but I think I simply expected too much from this movie. It has all the Bourne elements there, but it felt lacking. It was only the charisma and talent of the stars that carried the film. I was disappointed that it did not really show anything iconically Filipino to represent the country. I don't think the jeepney really counts. The slums used could have been any slum in the world. Nothing really positive about the Manila or its people was shown, which was a letdown. If ever there is a sequel though, I would still watch if only for Renner and Weisz, and maybe to find out what else can be done to liven up this series. I would not really count on that sequel too soon though.