Brought by the Bourne Trilogy [‘Identity’ (2002); ‘Supremacy’ (2004); ‘Ultimatum’ (2008)] starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Julia Stiles and a whole lot of recurring crew, the “Bourne Legacy” is an expansion of Robert Ludlum’s novels and hits the Philippines by storm.
This movie which came out last August 8 in Manila cinemas, features the fairly rising action star, Jeremy Rener (The Hurt Locker, Mission Impossible 4, The Avengers) who portrays “Alex Cross”, an ex-army soldier who commits himself to the ‘Blackbriar’ program. For those who got to watch the previous trilogy would understand that Jason Bourne (Damon) was under the same program and was not the only ‘super assassin’ secretly being made by the CIA. Thus the tagline of the movie posters and trailer: “There was never just one”.
Set in the same timeline as Jason Bourne, the story of Bourne Legacy shows a different side of the story where Alex Cross is one of the assassins currently being enhanced by the program to allow him to have enhanced physical and intellectual capabilities by taking a set of blue and green pills over time. The pills can make them run faster, think better, jump cliffs without fear, etc.— still human but not far from a superhero level.
The story evolves as the Blackbiar program was divulged and contested by the society (which connects this movie to Jason Bourne’s previous stories), and thus needs to be shut down (or so they say). One by one, those involved in the program are being terminated by the higher officials and includes the recruits like Cross in the massive cover up. He escapes the killing attempts and seeks to find more of the blue and green pills which he was made to believe will help him with whatever near-death experience he is having. Enter Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, Constantine, Lovely Bones) as Dr. Martha Shearing, one of the scientists involved in the creation of the pill. She is seeked by Cross who wants more of the enhancement pills but due to the attempts in their life, had to flee and go to where the pills are being manufactured—in Manila,Philippines.
Filipinos are not new to this idea since the shooting of the movie has been in the news before. However now that it is finally hits the big screens, everyone falls in line in the cinemas to see how Hollywood transformed Manila into a venue of one of their action scenes. From the familiar streets of Sta. Mesa, Intramuros and Navotas, to the captivating waters of El Nido in Palawan, it was surprising how their own cameras captured the Philippines into an international level. If one wasn’t familiar with the places mentioned, it wouldn’t have been easy to guess where the shooting of the movie happened.
What’s more surprising is that some Filipino actors were also in the movie namely John Arcilla (one of the guard at the manufacturing site), Antonette Garcia (the hysterical mom of the little girl watching TV) and Lou Veloso (the fisherman who helped Cross and Shearing escape in the ending part of the movie).
The movie which lasted for 2 hours and 15 minutes might be a typical action movie, but it wasn’t that boring as it was nice watching how possible it was to do a high-speed motor chase on the busy streets of Sta. Mesa, how one can still jump from roof-to-roof of the poor-stricken areas, and discover that our PNP and SWAT team can actually be on-time in a scene of an international crime (despite how our own local movie portrays it) <insert super saracastic laugh>! But on a more serious note, it hopefully brings in more tourists to our country and who knows, more international movies right!