Mini-Reviews: The Bourne Legacy and The Expendables 2
The Bourne Legacy:
When the first action sequence occurred roughly 45 minutes into The Bourne Legacy, I received a jolt of adrenaline and was convinced the film had turned a corner. Finally, we would receive some of the kinetic thrills this franchise is known for, and it would wake up my date, who was beginning to doze off! Sadly, what seemed to be another hour passed before its second of only three (!!!) action sequences during the film’s endless two hour and fifteen minute duration, and I realized for the first time in over a decade, Tony Gilroy had let me down. The Bourne Legacy is a non-stop thrill ride if you consider watching men in ties spout jargon with serious faces in front of computer screens for two hours “thrilling.” Nearly every actor is utterly wasted, nearly every opportunity for action is passed up, and while the film looks and sounds great, it feels like being draped with a wet blanket. Countless extraneous cutaways explaining to us how this film is tied to the first three don’t help. This Bourne is a bore. Sidenote: the budget is 125 million? Where did the money go? It’s not on the screen.
The Expendables 2:
If you hate plot and character development, and you love watching thousands of people torn to shreds by bullets and explosions, then your favorite film of the summer, Expendables 2, was just released. The first film was too interested in attempting to build some character, as the first half of the film was relatively actionless. They don’t make the same mistake here: mayhem on an insane scale appears from the film’s first frame. With no heavyweight performances or classic action sequences (though Bruce and Arnold in a smartcar is a nice touch), it does feel like a dispensable addition to the action oeuvre. Its self-referential nature doesn’t really help: the movie doesn’t want to create its own legends, it’s more than content being jokey about their past legends. Arnold’s made a career out of bad one-liners, but the rest of the actors– especially Norris, pretty painfully dull here– struggle handling the irony. The real shining star in the film is Van Damme, who boasts some impressive charisma and screen presence compared to his peers. He chews every line thoroughly before spitting it out, and he seems to be the only actor of that age range still doing roundhouse kicks. Expendables 2 is exactly what the title indicates, but it kept a smile on my face most of the way through and it brought Van Damme roundhouse kicks back into my life… that seems a worthy enough reason for its existence.