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The Bourne Legacy

February 8, 2012

Sometimes you don’t know what the crucial element of a movie or TV show is, until it is gone. Case in point, Michael Crichton’s ER.  I loved the first three seasons of the show, but when Sherry Stringfield (Susan) left the show to spend more time with her family, that was it for me.  Her character was one in an ensemble cast, but apparently, Susan offered something important to the mix and when she was gone, I was done.

And so it is that I find myself thinking about The Bourne Legacy. I am not concerned about the absence of Matt Damon. Jeremy Renner looks capable enough. Nor am I going to miss Paul Greengrass, for he was just following the trail brilliantly blazed by Identity‘s (and Swingers’) Doug Liman. Similarly, I am not concerned about the screenwriter either, as Tony Gilroy has written the scripts for all four movies. My concern is that I am going to really miss Jason Bourne, himself. The essence of this series is two fold: 1) fast, unrelenting, lethal action, and 2) sublime pathos. Jason Bourne, as David Webb became, is a tragic, redeemed and moral character. He is the conscience and heart, the mirror, of the cold, license-to-kill, serve-ourselves, ever-deceiving world of espionage. And he will be absent in Legacy.

I don’t mean to offend, but the Paul Greengrasses and Matt Damons of this world are a dime a dozen. Capable, and starving, thespians can be found in every city and small town. Equally capable, and also starving, directors are almost as numerous. Creating interesting characters for them to play, as Hollywood’s grab for movie scripts from board games and comic books demonstrates, is a rare and coveted thing. I think that swapping out Jason Bourne for some bio-enhanced terminator is a mistake that will cost this film far more than the cycling of directors or actors ever could.

The high entertainment value of the first three films has guaranteed that I will be seeing this for myself, but I am hesitant, and kind of disappointed already.

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