The Bourne Identity


He was the perfect weapon until he became the target.


Jurassic Mark

SCORE: 4 Stars

Recently I saw one of the best of the martial arts genre: Iron Monkey. Now I have seen one of the best of the spy genre: The Bourne Identity. 

My mentor critic Roger Ebert gave Bourne "three stars" (thumbs up) based on technical merit. However, he criticized the film for being "about nothing." I agree the film may not boast the best story, but The Bourne Identity is far from one-dimensional. 

On one level, The Bourne Identity is a loud, bone-crunching action movie. The fight scenes are fresh and well choreographed. Everything from a machine gun to a ball point pen is a deadly weapon in this micro-world of assassins and spies. The film is a masterpiece of pacing and urgency. Much of this is achieved through top notch visual and sound effects accompanied by an excellent soundtrack. 

None of this would matter if we didn't care about the characters.

The casting in The Bourne Identity is so good that we don't need much background information. In fact, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has zero background. Instead he has that damn cinema amnesia. Damon is as good here as he was in complex roles like Good Will Hunting, Rounders and The Talented Mr. Ripley. His multi-language delivery is believable, as is his hand-to-hand combat. 

And, I was glad to see our heroine from Run Lola Run (Franka Potente) co-star with Damon. Is Potente purely cast as the love interest? I don't think so. She's a good German actress who lends credible weight to a movie that requires a strong European presence. I missed her character when she was off-screen.

The rest of the cast is magnificent. All the villains (many villains) are sophisticated and deadly. Bourne doesn't win any easy battles. Perhaps the only reason he prevails is that he is the worst villain of all. I like how Bourne gains confidence throughout the movie until he realizes his potential.

With all the praise I have heaped upon The Bourne Identity, I also have to single out the following: 

1. Grand European locales.
2. A great Parisian car chase.
3. Machine gun vs. double-barreled shotgun fight.
4. Knife vs. ball point pen fight.
5. Scottish CIA Administrator?
6. Use of a dead fat guy to break one's fall?
7. Sex before the first date.
8. A decidedly conspicuous red bag.

Drunken Master

Franka Potente I’ve raved about before, and she has done nothing in this movie to warrant me from doing so again. The sight of her in leather pants is moving….In more ways than one…Ahem. Apart from the surgery scene early in the movie, this is by far the best spy movie ever made. The action, plot, storyline, dialog, acting, action scenes……..Where do I stop……I don’t, and neither does this movie. From early on in the beginning throughout the entire movie this thing never stops. I’ve heard critics say the XXX was the next bond. Well for me, most Bond movies suck ass. Boring long winded crap that usually recycles the same one-liners over and over. Bond, James Bond……Shit, Stinky Shit more like it. Then there’s XXX and Vin Diesel engine….Another crap pile that’s forming at the bottom of Hollywood’s ass. This is the next Spy franchise, Damon looks the part, fights the part, plays the women like the part. Out of movies from this year….This is one of the best.