Theatrical Review: The Bourne Legacy

Taking place concurrently with the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, we discover in short order that the reach of the Treadstone project goes much further than originally thought with more Treadstone subjects still out there. Jason Bourne’s sheer existence and defiance to the project leads to what could be an even bigger public relations nightmare than what was suggested from the events of The Bourne Ultimatum. Now, a CIA division lead by Eric Byers, the man behind most of the major black ops missions, is out to erase any sort of trace of Treadstone that still exists, though one other Treadstone subject now stands in his way, a man by the name of Aaron Cross.

That’s a broad version of the premise to The Bourne Legacy a new movie designed to expand the Bourne franchise’s life further. What you have here is a movie that feels like the TV pilot for extending the series, and while I think for the most part it’s a pretty enjoyable ride, it’s still has a few problems.

The biggest problem that I see with the film is that it’s just too long and it feels it. The film could probably be tightened up by a good 20 minutes or so. But, there’s also an advantage to its length and that’s with what it does to build up the Aaron Cross character, which I think is actually quite well done. I just wish there had been a comfortable medium here, something that could’ve kept a quicker pace but still give us the Cross build-up.

Another problem that I see with this is that it’s ending is pretty abrupt literally with our central protagonists, Cross and Dr. Marta Shearing, sailing off into the sunset when there should be something more to it. There’s been rumor floating around that Matt Damon could possibly return for a fifth movie in the series and while there was probably no chance that this would happen, this could’ve been punched up considerably if there had been an actual appearance by Damon near the end. Or at the very least, some sort of suggestion that Jason Bourne now also knew of the existence of Aaron Cross.

Some might be disappointed with director Tony Gilroy’s new inclusion of genetic enhancements to the Treadstone subjects, but I thought it was pretty cool and reasonably explained by Shearing once she and Cross have made their way to Manila. It’s basically taking the ideas behind a character like Marvel’s Captain America and trying to make it as real as they can.

The biggest pluses come with the new cast additions. Jeremy Renner plays Aaron Cross and I’ve been a huge fan of Renner’s for quite awhile now. the thing that I really like about Renner’s character is that he’s not playing this part as a tortured pawn, but more embraces what he’s become. He’s done some horrible things in service to his country, but the trade-off , at least from what I see with him, has been worth it, especially as the movie reveals his true origin. Renner has terrific intensity and certainly can sell the action in just the right way. He is terrific here, though I have to say my preference for him is more with the character that he played in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

Rachel Weisz plays Dr. Marta Shearing. Shearing is part of a program called The Outcome and she specifically monitors the Treadstone subjects after their genetic enhancements. Shearing becomes a major component here after a tragic shooting incident occurs at her workplace which of course wipes out anyone who would have any knowledge of what’s really going on. Shearing is the lone survivor and becomes Cross’ lone avenue of keeping himself alive. Weisz, does a pretty good job here and I was particularly impressed with the above-mentioned scene in which she explains to cross just how the subjects are enhanced.

Edward Norton plays Eric Byers and like Renner, certainly brings the right intensity to the part. I don’t necessarily think it’s one of his better parts, but he does command the room once he enters it and has a great flashback scene with Renner that tries to put Cross right with something horrible that he’s just done. Filling out the film and basically giving this continuity with the other Bourne movies, you have Scott Glenn, David Strathairn and Joan Allen all reprising their parts from the previous films in the series.

While I enjoyed The Bourne Legacy it’s still somewhat of a mixed bag, it’s long and it feels it and it’s ending is forced and just doesn’t feel right, but it does introduce a great new character with Aaron Cross, who certainly has potential with this series. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing a fifth film in the series, but if such a thing does happen, I can only hope that they manage to bring back Matt Damon as Bourne and team him with Cross.


Theatrical Review: Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D

For two seasons, extreme sports superstar Travis Pastrana and his tightly-knit group of friends (all extreme sports stars in their own right) had an extremely entertaining show on MTV called Nitro Circus in which they would perform all sorts of truly amazing stunts. Essentially, the show sort of followed in the same style as MTV’s Jackass but with one major difference that’s perfectly outlined by Jackass star and creator Johnny Knoxville during the course of this movie. Knoxville says that at it’s core, the Jackass stunts are sort of designed to fail with the humor coming out of that, but with the Nitro Circus, those stunts are designed to succeed and true failure there just isn’t a funny thing. While precautions were certainly taken on both shows, it really was way more of a matter between life and death when it came to the Nitro Circus.

I really enjoyed the TV show; I was almost always guaranteed to see something really amazing on it and I’ve just been waiting to see if there was ever going to be a third season. Well, the third season obviously didn’t happen but what did was this movie; Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D and It’s a very entertaining ride.

While there’s no story per se here, it is set against a backdrop of telling an overall story about this group of people, why they do what they do and their dream to take what they do and make it a live show that they perform in Las Vegas. Some of the stunts performed in the movie have also been done on the TV show, but here they have a little bit more of a production budget and the added bonus of 3D. And here, 3D is really an added bonus and it’s right on display during the opening stunts of the film. This stunt is a massive recreation of one of the greatest stunts from the TV show, involving motocross cycles, trophy trucks and buggies (and I’m sure I’m missing something else) all jumping over each other in a criss-crossing pattern, with each of the bike riders all performing stunts as they take to the air. It’s a dazzling display of talent and the 3D just really makes it even more impressive, making you feel more like being there than anything else. Now none of the other stunts that follow in the film are as impressive as it’s opening, but they’re still fun to watch nonetheless. There is humor in the film as well, but don’t go expecting the same variety that you’ll see in a Jackass movie- most of the humor comes from the interview situations and narration through the film.

Travis Pastrana is certainly the most recognized name amongst the crew of the Nitro Circus, but this isn’t the Travis Pastrana show by any means. The main core of the Circus includes Jolene Van Vugt, Jeremy Rawle, Gregg Godfrey, “Streetbike” Tommy Passamante, Erik Roner, Jim DeChamp and Greg Powell. Everybody gets a chance to shine, though “Streetbike” Tommy gets just a little more play than the rest of the group, sort of acting as their comic relief- if there can be such a thing here. You can tell that this group of folks genuinely enjoy what they’re doing and genuinely enjoy doing it with each other.

If you were a fan of the show, then you’ll probably have a great time with Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D, I know I did and just sort of look at as a bit of a palette cleanser amongst the other movies out there right now. It packs quite a lot into it’s short 90 minutes run time and doesn’t wear out it’s welcome in the slightest, and as I said above, the 3D here is just incredible.