The Bourne Identity directed by Doug Liman:
Move over James Bond!!! “The Bourne Identity”, a taut spy suspense-thriller, set the bar rather high for flicks of this genre. Unlike the aloof, jet-setting 007 or buddy Ben Affleck’s sputtering take on Jack Ryan, Matt Damon perfectly evokes Robert Ludlum’s “Jason Bourne”, a special forces C.I.A. operative/lethal killing machine.
As the movie opens, a bullet-riddled Damon, adrift in the Mediterranean is rescued by a small fishing vessel. From that rather ominous beginning, he is on the run, all the while trying to piece together who he is, even as he evades capture by countless pursuers.
Damon is aided and abetted in this perilous endeavor by the aptly cast, Franka Potente, playing a character reminiscent of her memorable Lola in “Run Lola Run”.
Many elaborate subterfuges come to light as our intrepid “hero” delves more deeply into his makeshift past, discovering far more than he ever wanted to know.
What sets this movie apart from others of its ilk, apart from the uniformly excellent performances and sublime cast which also includes Julia Stiles and Clive Owen, is the startling action sequences that will leave you gasping in disbelief. That coupled with the frenetic thrill-a-minute pacing, deft directorial touch of Doug Liman and, of course, terrific source material – the Ludlum novel from which the movie draws its name – makes for an edge of your seat cinematic experience – let the popcorn fly!!!
The Bourne Supremacy directed by Paul Greengrass:
The winning trend continued on with the second installment of Bourne films. In part it is your typical secret agent/spy film in that it done in high gear, involves a lot of physical stuff and some brain usage required.
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) finds himself on the run again as his lover has been murdered as has been a fellow agent. Being suspect numero uno he has to get to the bottom of who is actually responsible. While he is doing this he realizes that his former handlers are back on his trail.
A murder happens in Berlin and Bourne’s fingerprints are everywhere. Now an ambitious CIA operative becomes obsessed with catching the on the run former agent.
The Bourne Ultimatum directed by Paul Greengrass:
As I am writing this I am in the process of untightening my stomach, which was tense throughout the whole nearly two hour film. A combination of the handheld shaky camera work and the almost non-stop action lead to me being tense throughout the film. Oddly enough until the very end, which is kinda slow in comparison, the film is like an adrenaline rush. There are chills, thrills, car chases, rooftop chases, gunfights, and a fight in the tight quarters of a Moroccan flat that keep your heart pounding throughout.
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon – The Bourne Supremacy, The Brothers Grimm) is still on the run from the CIA trying to find out who he is and what he has done. The lead agent on his case, Pamela Landy (Joan Allen – The Upside of Anger, The Notebook), has put the case on the backburner, as she no longer sees Bourne as a threat.
This all changes when he reads an article by British journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine – Hot Fuzz, In America) about Bourne that indicates he has a source that knows the story behind the fugitive. While Bourne is trying to get info from him Ross is killed by the CIA led by Noah Vosen (David Strathairn – Good Night, And Good Luck, L.A. Confidential), who has brought Landy back on the case to find Bourne. Landy still does not believe that Bourne is a threat, but follows her orders…in the beginning. Bourne’s quest for his real identity and his past leads him to Agent Neal Daniels (Colin Stinton – Proof, The Jacket), who is also assassinated, and his assistant and Bourne’s old foe, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles – Save the Last Dance, The Omen – 2006). Parsons sides with Bourne and finds herself on the run with him. Landy does not like Vosen’s methods and begins to suspect that there is more going on than she knows. Landy thinks, Vosen searches, Parsons runs, and Jason Bourne is still looking for the truth.
The third film seems more like a continuation of the first rather than the second one. However, you do not have to have seen either film to understand this one. It is highly political with its illustration of how paranoid and trigger happy the American government has become since 2001. They are now going to defend themselves from any perceived threat with much force and not ask any questions. We leave wondering if those we have put in the positions of fighting the bad guys have not now become the bad guys.
Matt Damon has demonstrated himself to be an accomplished actor in almost every role that he takes. I think that of Jason Bourne is his most beloved in which he really becomes the character. He is totally believable. Damon has had that quiet determination about him throughout the three films. It is too bad this is the last one. Joan Allen, Julia Stiles (good even though she does not say much) and David Strathairn all turn in good supporting efforts, but it truly is the Matt Damon show.
Like most action films there are some holes in the plot and some implausible things that happen (this Bourne seems to be able to escape from any type of tight situation), but these leaps are what make them thrilling. We don’t care that the one man fighting a whole nation is not plausible; we just sit there rooting for Bourne. This is fantasy folks and highly entertaining fantasy!
-The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum
-From Identity to Supremacy: Jason & Marie
-The Bourne Diagnosis
-Cloak and Dagger: Covert Ops
-Inside a Fight Sequence
-On the Move with Jason Bourne
-Bourne to be Wild: Fight Training
-Blowing Things Up
-Matching Identities: Casting
-Man on the Move: Jason Bourne
-Planning the Punches
-New York Chase