The Bourne Identity

The Bourne IdentityStarring:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Kreutz
Clive Owen as The Professor
Chris Cooper as Ted Conklin
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nykwana Wombosi
Julia Stiles as Nicolette
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Judy Parfitt
Anthony Green as Security Chief Richard Hampton
Roberto Bestazzoni
Walt Goggins
Jimmy Jean-Louis
Delphine Lanson as Chloe

Summary:
“The Bourne Identity” is an intriguing and action packed spy thriller. It lacks a big payoff at the end, but is otherwise entertaining.

What’s It About:
An Italian fishing boat spots a man floating in the Mediterranean. Riddled with gunshot wounds and wearing military gear, they have no idea who he is. However, when the man wakes up, he has no idea who he is either. He has amnesia. The only clue he has with him is a device containing a Swiss bank account number.

When the man checks out his safety deposit box at the bank, he finds his mystery deepen. Inside is a large amount of money in various foreign bills, a gun, and passports and ID for himself from all over the world. The man discovers that his real name is Jason Bourne..or is it?

Bourne quickly finds himself in a lot of trouble. The police are after him and so are hired assassins. His only escape ends up being a ride with a German woman to Paris. Her name is Marie, and she unfortunately finds herself entangled in Bourne’s mystery as well. The two end up running from killers and trying to discover Bourne’s real identity.

The Bourne Identity is rated PG-13 for violence and some language.

What Worked:
The Bourne Identity is a pretty good spy thriller. I never read the book, but I did see the old mini-series from the 80′s with Richard Chamberlain and I really enjoyed that. This film has everything you could want from a spy movie – cool gadgets, fast chases, romance, and exotic locations.

Matt Damon is pretty good as Jason Bourne. He handles the action very well. Whether it’s hand-to-hand combat, a car chase, or a gunfight, Damon looks pretty intimidating. He looked like a natural at it. One cool scene has him fight an assassin with a ballpoint pen. The results are pretty gruesome, but cool. The final battle of the film also has him in a pretty intense gunfight, but I don’t want to ruin it for you here.

As I’ve already mentioned, the action in this film is pretty cool. It has one of the better car chases in recent memory. Damon and Franka Potente (from Run Lola Run) outrun Parisian cops in cars and motorcycles. There’s also an impressive scene where Damon outwits a sniper hiding in the woods. The results of that game of cat and mouse is pretty brutal.

The plot has a pretty good mystery with it. Since I was already familiar with the story, it was no surprise to me. But it was intriguing to see the mystery of Bourne’s identity unfold on screen. There’s one fun twist in the movie where Bourne must get some info from the records at a hotel. He sends Marie in with an elaborate spy-type plan to get the info out. Needless to say, she ends up carrying out her own plan with amusing results. This kind of thing never happens to James Bond.

This is also a good looking film. The scenery is great and the locations in Paris and Switzerland are impressive. A nice soundtrack backs up the movie. Overall this is an entertaining film and one worth checking out.

What Didn’t Work:
The one big thing this movie lacks is a payoff. The mini-series had a bit more twists and turns in the plot than the movie did. For example, Bourne was busy chasing a terrorist named Carlos through Europe while he himself was being pursued. That is totally left out of this film. Bourne also had a much darker side that is only hinted upon in the motion picture. I don’t know which of the two is closer to Robert Ludlum’s novel, but the mini-series was a bit more entertaining despite the movie version being a much better looking production. I’m curious enough now to pick up the book and see what the original story was. This is really the only reason I didn’t rate this film higher. I still feel it’s worth a trip to the theater to see.

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