The Bourne Legacy

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The Bourne Legacy (2012)

“Wag mo pakawalan yan bro! Magnanakaw yan.” 

Translation: Don't let that escape, bro!  It's a thief!

It's strange to watch a Hollywood movie where you don't need subtitles for the non-English dialogue.  And it's true, the Tagalog in the movie does NOT have subtitles.  LOL, sucks for you.  Kidding!  But really, it was a weird and very interesting experience.

When they announced that Jeremy Renner will take the wheel for the new Bourne continuation, I was excited.  I love espionage movies and the Bourne trilogy is one of my favorites.  And when they said that part of the movie will be shot in Manila, Philippines... I was bitter.  Why wasn't I there too?  Imagine how many classes I'd skip just to see his perfection in person?  (Mind you, this was BEFORE The Avengers world premiere, as per my previous post.)  At the same time, I was glad that they decided to feature a Philippine city; how dirty and populated and polluted it is for all its worth, and not just the beautiful islands and mountains which they also showed at the very (abrupt) end of the movie. 

FYI, there is a Bourne Legacy book written by Eric van Lustbader where the late Robert Ludlum's "bestselling character Jason Bourne returns."  In the books, it is still Jason Bourne.  This movie does not follow van Lustbader's books which, I think, is a good idea.  Not only because Matt Damon is not attached to the project anymore, the Legacy book is just so tedious and boring that it literally puts me to sleep.  I find myself reading a few chapters and dozing off after.  I have not finished it but with about two inches of book left, I might... eventually.

Unfortunately, the story in this movie was also lacking.  It starts off very slow.  We see Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner in his yummy shirtlessness) in the mountains of Alaska on a training mission of sorts.  Then it cuts to Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) spewing medical jargon left and right and then to comparably very tame antagonist Eric Byer played by one-time Bruce Banner, Edward Norton.  Yay, HawkEye and The Hulk!

We find out that there wasn't only one agent trained ala-Jason Bourne.  As I understand, the events in the movie happens simultaneously with the events in The Bourne Ultimatum.  But you don't have to have watched that in order to understand this one.  It's just slow going.  So they say that agents take meds to keep themselves physically fit and mentally/psychologically sound.  But these spy agencies are at the risk of being exposed, thanks to a journalist somehow got wind of it (it's an Ultimatum plot).  Organizations are shut down and the agents are assassinated one by one.  Aaron Cross managed to escape but he was running out of meds.  He tracks down the doctor who treats him, Dr. Shearing, and she said that the drugs and antidotes are manufactured in Manila, Philippines.

I must say, I wanted to watch this movie for Mr. Renner but Renner + Manila = my brain has melted.  Before the movie, I tweeted that the final 30-45 minutes of the movie will be interesting for me.  And it was.  It's been a while since I've been home and I honestly missed seeing the cramped shanties, squatters, polluted streets and alleyways of Metro Manila.  If you want the Philippines, that is it for me.  Sure, the nature and islands and whatnot are beautiful but this concrete jungle is my idea of the Philippines.  And for a while there, it was comforting.  

The whole movie can be summed up with one epic motorcycle chase in the middle of Manila traffic.  And man, that's one tidy traffic jam you production guys did there.  In Manila, there is no such thing as lanes.  As long as you can jam your car in that space, do it.  Well, that's the Hollywood part of it, I guess.  

Also, the Tagalog in this movie.  And this is me nitpicking because I can haha.  Okay, you're chasing a Caucasian woman, would you try to stop her in your mother language when you can well talk in English?  Hinto!  Stop.  My co-workers and I have laughed about this.  Most of us would've said Tigil! instead of Hinto!  Oh the beauty of the Filipino language. 

Basically, it went like this:  pan shot, Jeremy, flashback, real time, exposition, Rachel, jargon, jargon, flashback, Jeremy, jargon, Edward, shaky camera, jargon, flashback, exposition, running, running, Jeremy, flashback, chase, PINAAAAAAS!!!, epic chase, bang bang bang, chase... END.

Yes, it just... ends.  In Palawan with character actor Lou Veloso on a boat.  And Jeremy says salamat, thank you.  I will definitely see it when it hits the dollar movies and of course, the DVD.  I hope, if they decide to continue these Bourne movies with Aaron Cross, the sequel to this will start in the Philippines.  Say, Aaron and Marta settling down in Palawan, the same way Marie started her life in Greece in the end of Identity.  

It wasn't as electrifying as the previous Bourne movies but I had fun.  Partly because of the Manila scenes and my love for Jeremy Renner.  Understand that they had a lot to do in terms of introduction... who is this new person, where is Jason Bourne, why are these people doing this?  I do hope a sequel is in its future.