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Monday, July 18, 2011
The Bourne Identity - 2002
I have always felt that The Bourne Identity is a very unique action flick. I am personally not a big fan of your average Mission Impossible, Die Hard type films. But the three Bourne movies have been an exception to that. In fact, I would go as far as saying The Bourne Ultimatum is one of the best, if not the best action film of all time. The first two are definitely no comparison, but every series has to start somewhere, and The Bourne Identity is a perfect beginning to one of the biggest action franchises out there.
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) wakes up on a boat with bullet holes in his back, and is being treated by a doctor. He doesn't know who he is, his name, where he came from, any of his friends or family. All he can figure out is that he is a skilled and highly trained in fighting, and people he has never seen or heard of are trying to kill him. He is intelligent, and along with a woman he meets at a bank, Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente) he will stop at nothing to find out the secrets of his past.
Directed by Doug Liman, The Bourne Identity is the slowest of its series, but has got to be one of the more entertaining action films this decade, or longer. It makes me so mad when I watch these films, then people run and praise Die Hard, for what? I still don't get it, but that is another story and I will review it again soon. What I love is the Bourne Identity has a brain, unlike almost every action film made these days. Though highly enjoyable, it cannot simply be dismissed as mindless popcorn entertainment. We have the explosions, the great acting, and plenty of action but no, this is not The A-Team.
Paul Greengrass was obviously the best fit for the series, and it shows in the nest two films, but I personally think Doug Liman sent the franchise off on the right note. His direction is not perfect, but it works very well considering this is the opening film. I think a lot of viewers that are not already familiar with the other films may find it a little boring; however, it presents many intriguing questions that will come up in the later films, which is one of the reasons I love this franchise so much. It's thrilling, packed with action, but also throws in a bit of mystery. We don't know anything about Jason Bourne, we only get random flashbacks that tell us little to nothing. It keeps the audience interested and ready to come back for more.
William Blake Herron, Tony Gilroy, and David Self all team up to write this screenplay, the latter being a screenwriter that I am a huge fan of. They do an incredible job working with this film, all of the action sequences are brilliant, as well as the script. Fans of Robert Ludlum's book may be disappointed, because the movie does not follow it closely at all, but I think that is personally for the better. A long time ago I read the first book in the series, and found it to be overlong and not nearly as good as this. I guess if I had of read the books first I may feel differently, but I have always enjoyed movies more anyways.
The acting, and casting, was perfectly done. Matt Damon is such a fantastic, and highly underrated, actor, and no one could have been picked to do a better job. Let's get a quick comparison for a second though, we have Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan, need I say anymore? the only actor that can even compare is Sean Connery, and that is saying plenty right there. Chris Cooper did a fine job with his role, in an onscreen battle between Matt Damon. To me this is probably his best performance, and a shame he was not in the rest of the films. Surprisingly enough, I did not at all care for Franka Potente. Being such an important character, she was an absolutely dreadful miscast. But other than that I liked all of the cast and feel everyone did a good job.
Overall, The Bourne Identity is one of the better, smarter action flicks of the decade. Great acting, intelligent writing, and good direction make up to one fun ride for a film. Any action fan out there will enjoy this.