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New on DVD and Blu-ray: The Bourne Legacy takes the spy series in a new direction

Bourne Legacy on DVD and Blu-Ray

Bourne Legacy on DVD and Blu-Ray

Every week, the home video market is flooded with new titles released to DVD and Blu-ray. In addition to the wide-release movies that rotate into Redbox and retail store shelves, literally dozens of other titles go on sale each week — new box sets, old reissues, TV series collections, independent films, documentaries, foreign films and a disturbing number of weird low-budget horror films.

In our new weekly Digital Crave feature, we'll highlight one or two new DVD/BD releases each week that are worth considering for purchase as opposed to rental or streaming. Some films and TV collections you want to have on your shelf — for the exclusive DVD/BD bonus materials, or for their replay value, or just for general awesomeness.

New to DVD and Blu-ray this week, The Bourne Legacy is the fourth entry in the critically and commercially successful spy series loosely based on the novels of Robert Ludlum.

Ascendant movie star Jeremy Renner replaces Matt Damon in the lead role, as the story makes a sideways jump from Jason Bourne to fellow black-ops tough guy Aaron Cross, who has his own set of problems.

The events in Legacy take place concurrently with the events in the last film, The Bourne Ultimatum. Like Jason Bourne, Aaron Cross is a trained assassin hardwired through tortuous indoctrination — enhanced training, you might say — to kill without hesitation. But hesitate he does, especially when it becomes clear that the big bosses are systematically killing off their own assassins.

Tony Gilroy, who wrote most of the first three films, takes over as director in Legacy and he offers up the usual blend of visceral action and cerebral spy intrigue. Also on hand, Rachel Weisz as CIA-employed medical doctor, and new villain Col. Eric Byer (Edward Norton), who runs the show from the usual high-tech nerve center of computer displays and nervous underlings.

Legacy doesn't quite live up to the excellence of the first three films, but it's still a clever and efficient action thriller with some interesting conjectures on the military-pharmaceutical complex. Renner proves entirely capable of carrying the franchise into the future. As an actor, he has an interesting coiled stillness that serves the character well.

If 007 is a little too stylized for your taste, the Bourne movies offer a nice alternative, the martinis and Bond babes replaced with more gritty and plausible scenarios. All the movies in the Bourne series have great replay value in that each individual scene is so carefully crafted. This is state-of-the-art action thriller filmmaking.

Extras: The DVD/Blu-ray combo set has some intriguing deleted scenes that deepen the characters but were cut simply for reasons of time and pacing. The filmmaker's commentary track features director Gilroy and six other members of the creative team. The seven featurettes explore various aspects of the production — motorcycle chases, wolf training — and dig into the mythology of the Bourne universe.

Also New This Week:

Mankind: The Story of All of Us: The History channel documents the rise of the human race in a 12-part miniseries.

Ted: Mark Wahlberg stars in director Seth MacFarlane's surprise summer comedy hit.

Ice Age: Continental Drift: Manny the Mammoth returns in the fourth installment of the animated family film series.

Girls: The Complete First Season: Twenty-something New Yorkers navigate the big city in HBO's hit dramedy.

The Qatsi Trilogy: The Criterion Collections reissues three films from experimental filmmaker Godfrey Reggio.

Note: This was written by Glenn McDonald, a Digital Crave contributor.

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