CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.
Film Review: Jeremy Renner Propels Clever ‘The Bourne Legacy’
CHICAGO – Tony Gilroy’s world of double crosses, super spies, and covert government programs returns in the writer/director’s clever expansion of the world he created as the writer of “The Bourne Identity,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.” The Oscar winner doesn’t just offer a traditional sequel, presenting a new leading man and a story that takes place in the same world of international espionage as its predecessors but feels more like a spin-off than a follow-up. To that end, there are some elements of “The Bourne Legacy” that feel a bit too much like the less-accomplished sibling of a successful older brother but not enough to offset what truly does work about this smart, engaging thriller.
As the tag line says, “There was never just one.” While Jason Bourne (Matt Damon in the first three movies, who is seen only in pictures here) is busy with his own action on the other side of the world, another participant in the program that turned him into a super-spy is traversing snowy mountains filled with deadly wolves in an effort to reach safety and more of the medication he needs to keep him above average. Meet Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a determined, old-fashioned action hero – the kind of direct, driven character that we don’t often see in Hollywood films any more. The lack of background in Cross could be seen as either a lack of depth in the character (and, therefore, a flaw) or a streamlined approach to action. I found Renner and Gilroy’s approach refreshing as they give Cross just enough three-dimensionality to make his driven approach worth watching and can expand on the character in future installments.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Bourne Legacy” in our reviews section.|
Where’s Aaron Cross going? He’s trying to save his own life. It turns out that the program that created Cross and Bourne is being burned to the ground before it can hit the public eye. In back rooms, nefarious government types like Col. Eric Byer (Edward Norton), Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn), and Admiral Mark Turso (Stacy Keach) try to track down everyone involved in the human experiment and eliminate them with due diligence. (Recognizable faces from the rest of the “Bourne” movies like Albert Finney, David Strathairn, and Joan Allen have little more than cameos.) As more bodies keep falling, Cross eventually teams up with Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), one of the physical architects of the program and someone else that people like Byer want dead. Cross and Shearing probably wouldn’t make it on their own but they just might survive if they stick together.
The Bourne Legacy
Photo credit: Universal Pictures