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The Bourne Identity

The Bourne Identity

What She said:

She

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s another Bourne movie coming out this year.  It’s called The Bourne Legacy, and instead of following our mainstay character, Jason Bourne, it’s about a new super-spy just like Bourne, played by Jeremy Renner.  Anyway, that’s not what I’m reviewing here, but the thought of this upcoming flick prompted me to go back to the movie that started the whole series, The Bourne Identity.

Let me start by saying that as soon as I saw Matt Damon’s face, I was reminded by how much he’s aged over the past decade.  I guess we all have, but Damon playing Bourne is youthful, fit, and super-talented.  He’s an espionage machine, and a machine is really all he is as The Bourne Identity begins with Bourne simply waking up on a fishing boat with no recollection of who he is.  He begins to learn that he has all kinds of talents—speaking other languages, killing, climbing, killing—but he’s just acting on impulse, he doesn’t understand his motivations.  He quickly realizes that there are some bad people out to get him, and so understanding his past becomes an imperative.  Bourne recruits the likes of a German drifter, Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente) to help him as he drives across Europe in search of his identity. 

Everywhere that Jason Bourne goes, he’s threatened, and this means that there are a lot of great fight scenes and car chases.  I liken the fighting to dancing almost, sharp and highly choreographed.  The film felt a little long to me, but it’s also pretty tight with content.  I guess it was just a general exhaustion longness that made me glance at the clock a couple of times.  Damon does a good job of embodying the character of Bourne, who is so sharp sensed and super intelligent that, well, it just plain made me jealous.  He seems like he could be one of the Avengers, easily.  Chris Cooper is also adequately villainous, as usual.  To me, his face just looks evil all the time, the squinting and constant mist of sweat on his brow. 

The Bourne Identity is a thrill ride with high-value fighting and action sequences.  The film set the stage for its own sequels, as well as a few other action flicks that fit the same mold in the mid-2000s.  I’ll have to continue on through the series, leading up to this newest incarnation.  They’re a fun diversion for sure.

Thumbs up.

What he said:

He

Jason Bourne is having a bad day. Somebody shot him, dropped him in the middle of the ocean, and he can’t even remember his own name. Luckily for him a group of fisherman find him and take him in. He is with them for a few weeks before they drop him off somewhere in France.

He was found with very little on him, but there were enough clues to set him on his way once the fishing boat makes its next stop. Soon he finds himself at a bank with access to a super-secret safe deposit box. Inside is all kinds of currency from around the world, fake IDs, passports, and a gun. Just who the hell is he? Well he doesn’t realize it yet, but he’s some kind of government agent.

But before he figures all of that out he’s being chased and even having his life put in jeopardy. This forces him to flee and he ends up joining with Marie (Franka Potente). She is a bit of a drifter and is leery of Bourne, but when he offers her money in exchange for a ride it’s too good to refuse. She hesitantly agrees to drive him across the country before even realizing who he is and what kind of people are hunting him. Once she figures it out though it’s too late; she has already been pegged as an accomplice by the authorities.

The two of them spend the rest of the movie evading authorities, assassins, and trying to figure out exactly who Jason Bourne is and why people want him dead.

Jason Bourne is excellent at….well just about everything. He’s kind of like the The Professor (from Gilligan’s Island) mixed with MacGuyver. He can also kick some serious ass. The guy is literally a human weapon. He can maim or kill you in all kinds of wonderful ways. Damon does a good job of not only portraying this aspect of the character, but also doing it while looking confused as hell; since Bourne doesn’t really remember much at all. Imagine having these bad-ass skills, not knowing why, and not really finding out until your put into a situation to use them. Pretty cool.

Franka Potente is good as Marie who is as confused as Bourne is, yet strangely intrigued by him. She’s being framed as an accomplice and all, but she can’t help and pity the guy a little. This world of spies, politics, and murder is completely foreign to her, but she stays along for the ride despite her better judgment.

Chris Cooper is also really good as the guy behind it all. He knows exactly who Jason Bourne is and is the man behind the attempts on his life. But why? Cooper is always good at playing these really seedy, unlikeable characters. Whether it’s this movie, American Beauty, October Sky, or one of the countless other movies in which he’s played the guy you just want to slug.

Brian Cox is also good as his boss. He is a little in the dark as to what’s going on and he is not happy about it at all. He wants the problem fixed yesterday. Cox is always good as these characters that are in-charge behind the scenes.

If you’re looking for a good action flick sprinkled with a little political thriller, I recommend it. This movie also uses its environments very well. Sometimes when you think of a movie related to the military you might be inclined to think of soldiers in a jungle or other more natural environment. That isn’t the case at all with The Bourne Identity. Small spaces, crowded streets, and everything else that goes along with civilian life can be found in this series.

Random fact time! Did you know this was not the first attempt to create a Bourne movie? The first was a made for TV movie.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on May 16, 2012.