Blu-ray Review: The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Tony Gilroy | CAST: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Albert Finney
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 12/11/2012 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $34.98
BONUSES: featurettes, commentary
SPECS: PG-13 | 175 min. | Thriller | 2.40:1 aspect ratio | 7.1 DTS-HD | English, Spanish, French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The Bourne LegacyJeremy Renner (Marvel’s The Avengers) fills Matt Damon’s (The Adjustment Bureau) shoes nicely in The Bourne Legacy, the fourth film in the thriller franchise based on the books by Robert Ludlum.

While Damon headlined the first three movies by playing super-soldier Jason Bourne, in this film, Renner introduces new character Aaron Cross, who falls into danger because of Bourne’s actions. Hence the “Legacy” title. Cross is another super soldier, this time from a different government program. But when Bourne’s actions start an investigation on his Treadstone program, agent Edward Norton (Red Dragon) decides to pull the plug on all the super soldiers before they’re discovered. Cross, however, manages to thwart the government agency’s assassination attempts, along with genetics scientist Rachel Weisz (The Lovely Bones).

The Bourne Legacy is similar in plot to the original The Bourne Identity film, but it also broadens the basic story of the whole franchise and some nice flashbacks and connections to The Bourne Ultimatum, whose story is supposed to be running concurrently.

Director and co-writer Tony Gilroy (Duplicity) keeps the action high, with the characters on the run pretty much from the opening credits. Gilroy might be new to helming the franchise, but he’s not new to Bourne, having written all the first three films. From a script standpoint, Legacy isn’t as strong as the other movies. It doesn’t have as much heart, although there is emotion in the story. And it doesn’t have as much intrigue, but it moves so fast, it’s still enjoyable.

All looks great on Blu-ray. The high-definition picture is crisp and clear, and the 7.1 DTS-HD audio is outstanding, with the explosions and gun shots ricocheting around the room.

Kudos to Universal on the special features on this Blu-ray too. The menu offers a commentary with Gilroy and a handful of other behind-the-scenes filmmakers as well as three deleted scenes and a bunch of featurettes. And all are worth a look or listen.

In the commentary, Gilroy holds a conversation with his fellow filmmakers, talking about the actors, audition tidbits, the characters, location difficulties and more. They sound like they’re having a lot of fun chatting about the film. Gilroy reveals, for example, that Oscar Isaac (Drive), who plays #3, was almost cast as Cross. Gilroy also shows a special affinity toward actor Albert Finney, who shot two scenes for the movie, but only one made it in. The other is among the three deleted scenes, all of which are good enough that they could have made it into the final film.

The disc also has seven featurettes covering the making of The Bourne Legacy. All are brief and to the point, giving us plenty of good behind-the-scenes info without any fluff. Gilroy and the actors are appreciative of their fellow moviemakers, but they don’t gush, which is refreshing.

In “Re-Bourne,” Gilroy, Renner and others talk about the idea of the new film, the tangent in the franchise. The casting and work of Renner is discussed in “Enter Aaron Cross,” with footage of Renner doing his own stunts. More stunts are examined in “Capturing Chaos: The Motorbike Chase” and “Man vs. Wolf,” with Weisz admitting she really was terrified on the back of the bike, no acting, and the wolf scenes were developed with real and fake wolves. “Man vs. Wolf” includes a fun shot of a real wolf smelling the fake one. He was probably very confused.

The wolf sequence storyboards and tests are available, and “Crossing Continents: Legacy on Location” follows the filmmakers around the world. In the featurette, Weisz tells us how impressed she was with the poor people in Manila, who worked as extras in the film and smiled big despite their poverty.

Finally, “Movie Targets: Aaron and Marta” looks at the characters of Renner and Weisz and how they worked together.

The Blu-ray/DVD Combo also has a downloadable digital copy of the movie and instant streaming via UltraViolet.

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.