SECOND OPINION: Why You Shouldn’t Watch 'The Bourne Legacy'

Editor's note: I explained in a recent article about why I think fans won't be disappointed by the upcoming film The Bourne Legacy. My position on the movie came after a good-hearted debate with friend and fellow blogger Jason Chen. I challenged Jason to write a rebuttal to my earlier piece, and he surprised me by putting one together for you! So, here is Jason's argument in its entirety. I'm excited about this, because it's the first guest-written article to appear on Professionally Incoherent. Here's to more guest articles in the future (but that doesn't mean Jason's right about the movie!)

Before I launch into a (relatively) short tirade about how The Bourne Legacy is a farce and shouldn’t be made, let me just say that I was a big fan of the first three films. It’s not often the third installment comes out on top, but that’s how I felt with The Bourne Ultimatum and thought it was a great end to a fantastic trilogy.

My biggest gripe is with the title. The film will not feature Matt Damon at all, but instead have Jeremy Renner as the main character. Renner got his big breakthrough from the overrated The Hurt Locker, and even though he delivered a fantastic performance, he’s followed that up with some poor career choices, choosing to pick up the scraps vacated first by Damon, and then Tom Cruise in Ghost Protocol, and then a small role in what will be a disappointing The Avengers… but, I digress.

The point is, if the titular character will not appear in a film, it has no right to use “Bourne” in its title. It’s a cop out – a money grab from an industry that is clearly drawing blanks in the originality department, and in tough economic times, choosing to extend franchises with poorly constructed sequels to make a quick buck. It’s been five years since the release of Ultimatum and a Bourne Films Production company has been set up to help distribute it, which hints at a slew of sequels to come.

I understand that Legacy is set in the same universe and will feature many of the characters in the trilogy, but it’d be like The Chronicles of Riddick without Vin Diesel, or the Underworld series without Kate Beckinsale. Rise of the Lycans, which featured Rhona Mitra as Sonja, had the weakest domestic gross of all the Underworld films. The film’s only saving grace was Michael Sheen. (This is assuming that Awakening, which sees the return of Beckinsale, will crack the $50 million barrier).

Could you imagine a Saw movie without Jigsaw or an Indiana Jones movie without Harrison Ford? (I don’t believe for a second Spielberg ever gave much thought to turning the franchise over to Shia LaBeouf). The Bourne trilogy has become iconic and set the gold standard for international espionage thrillers (Daniel Craig’s Bond films come close, but Quantum of Solace was disappointing). It just doesn’t work. It’s misleading and a misrepresentation of the film.

It’s fortunate that Legacy will feature an all-star cast with the return of Joan Allen and David Strathairn, and the addition of newcomers Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. But the key piece isn’t there. A Bourne film isn’t a Bourne film without Matt Damon.

I will, in all likelihood, end up watching the film, proving that Hollywood is right – moviegoers can be herded like sheep, easily convinced into seeing a sequel or a spin-off even though we know it’ll never match up to the original. My expectations aren’t very high and doubt it’ll ever have the same impact as the trilogy.


So, what did you think of Jason's view on the fourth Bourne film? Does he have a point? Should a movie have to include a character if they're used in the title? Share your thoughts in the comments section down below.

If you're curious to read more of Jason's writings, you can check out his blog, Armchair Hockey, where he covers the many permutations of the sports world. You can also find him on Twitter here.