First up this week is the latest result of Hollywood’s Remake/Remodel program, The Bourne Legacy. When first mooted, the idea of a Damon-less Bourne made me roll my eyes. Why, I wondered (as I often do when faced with one of Hollywood’s “new” ideas) what’s wrong with just giving it a new name and starting a new franchise? But, as we all know, once Hollywood has a cash cow, they’ll milk it dry, even if – to extend the metaphor beyond breaking point – when Greengrass and Damon left, they lost their two best shepherds. With Greengrass creating such a kinetic, hard-hitting style for the second and third film (arguably one of the franchises key components), this was one of the rare instances in a franchise in which replacing the director would almost be as difficult as replacing the actor…
Replacing Damon with Jeremy Renner though (who, with Marvel’s Avengers Assemble coming out any day now, is having a pretty good year) was a canny decision in my eyes. While he has been very good in the past (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Hurt Locker, The Town) I still remain unconvinced about whether or not he has that true star quality, that certain something, be it the charisma or whatever of the true Hollywood A-list. What he does have though is a face that looks like it’s hiding something, a darkness of mind, or a tendency to violence perhaps and it’s exactly this quality that makes me think he could bring something cool to the party.
Whether or not director Tony Gilroy (writer of the original three Bourne movies and director of Michael Clayton and Duplicity) can maintain the style and pace of the series so far has yet to be seen, but he clearly knows the world well enough. The trailer is peppered with shots of big action sequences that are intercut with a few returning faces (Joan Allen, Albert Finney, David Strathairn) and a few new ones (Edward Norton, Stacey Keach) while a voice-over tells us (and I’m paraphrasing here people) that Bourne was a weed but this guy is the real deal.
Whether or not he can knock out cinema audiences with a rolled up magazine will be discovered when the film opens later this year. Tomorrow I’ll be looking at the trailer for the remake of Total Recall.