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I have grown extremely tired of the typical formula spy film like Bond, or
the juvenile stunt exhibition "Triple X." There have been a bare handful
spy films that feature relatively realistic spy thrillers, especially
recently with a concentration on spectacular movies that have less
than cotton candy.
Besides "The Bourne Identity," "Ronin" is the only other recent spy movie I can think of that didn't feature skydiving, bungie jumping, skiing downhill while shooting innumerable bad guys, laser pens, cars with ejection seats, or silicone breasted women with names you'd be vaguely embarrassed to say in front of your mother. Most of the crap that passes for an espionage film has no plot or reason for existing other than to meet a quota of explosions and cleavage in order to draw the summer action film crowd.
While "Bourne" does not have a particularly deep plot, it is consistent and focused. The focus is entirely upon Bourne and how he is to deal with having no memory of his past, being hunted without knowing why. Some people have complained about being confused by the movie. I for one, do not need to have everything spelled out since in many cases this smacks of unreality in the first place; the essence of espionage is drawing conclusions from very sketchy information. If you can't handle a little of that, you probably should stick to Disney films or TV's Scooby Doo where everything is explained in the end. We never find out about what is in the case in "Ronin" and I can live without some information being filled in about Bourne's past.
To those who have moaned about the incompatibility of the book and the movie, seek help. There are probably several things that work in the book that would either be boring and take too much screen time to explain, or would be viewed as cliche to modern screen audiences. As I remember, I liked the book, and I definitely like this movie. I view any movie adaptation as an interpretation of the book rather than a translation from words to pictures anyway.
As for realism, most of the action scenes are believable, no super-gadgets are to be seen, no incredibly lovely models fall madly in bed with Bourne, and the hero shows definite signs of physical vulnerability despite a very high level of training and competance. As someone who has trained in martial arts for over 10 years, unrealistic fight scenes are a pet peeve. The fights in "Bourne" are fast, nasty, and very realistic while still being entertaining for the layman. (And yes, taking a gun away from some idiot who is standing well within your striking radius without getting shot is definitely doable, though I had serious doubts until we tested it for ourselves with plastic dart guns in the dojo several years ago).
While not being perfect, "The Bourne Identity" is, simply put, several grades above the typical spy film. Being focused on an individual level rather than involving itself huge political ramifications lends it another layer of respectability rather than detracting from it as some comments have implied since it remains a human problem on a comprehensible scale. The mysteries that are left are bigger mysteries for Bourne than us, and I think should be viewed as intentional omissions rather than loose ends. The implausibilities are kept to a minimum and the realism to as high a level as possible while still being spectacular enough to meet the expectations of the genre.
James Bond and Ethan Hunt take notice. "The Bourne Identity" is my new
standard for contemporary spy thrillers. Gone (or almost gone) are the
special effects that James and Ethan rely on all too heavily. Hell, in those
franchises the special effects have virtually replaced story and characters.
"The Bourne Identity" has a very straightforward story to tell, a mystery
that slowly unravels. Spycraft is not all about technical gizmos, but
requires human brains and human brawn (and a fair amount of gunplay and car
Set in various locales in Switzerland and France during the winter much of the visuals for "The Bourne Identity" are gray and damp. That's a plus, Monte Carlo and like locales can get boring. Mat Damon is great as Jason Bourne, fished from the Mediterranean mostly dead by gunshot wounds. A total amnesiac, he slowly realizes that he possesses the deadly skills of a well-trained assassin, and that someone is out to kill him. Franka Potente is equally good as the young woman swept up in his life and forced to run with him. Run or be killed.
I can't say enough good things about this movie. Doug Limon, thanks, you did a great job.
Next to Ronin, this is one of the best action / spy movies that I've
ever seen. I heard a lot of good critics, but didn't know what to think
about it. I only saw it 2 years after it first appeared and I'm a
little disappointed that I didn't go watch it in the cinema.
I'm not too keen on movies like James Bond and other stuff in this genre, but this one is a lot better. Normally you see the "super hero" using all kinds of weird gadgets, driving extremely fast sports cars and sleeping with ladies who look more like prostitutes than being normal women.
Jason Bourne however doesn't have all this things, which makes this movie a lot more realistic. The fights are fast and very realistic but still entertaining. The action scenes are believable, no super-gadgets, no incredibly willing women sharing his bed... Our hero even shows definite signs of physical vulnerability despite a very high level of training and competence. In the meanwhile he has to deal with amnesia, while being hunted without knowing why. In the end this is still a man which you can identify yourself with.
I would say: Go watch it when you are a fan of movies like Ronin, don't watch it if you think James Bond is a person who you can bump into on the streets when going out. Personally I would award this movie with an 8/10.
This is a great movie. Unfortunately one reviewer has no knowledge towards the field of psychology. One reviewer states it's a good movie based on a completely false occurrence, that being amnesia in general. They say it doesn't exist and nobody loses their memory of their identity while retaining knowledge of everything else. This is untrue. I am currently studying to become a psychologist, it's called Dissociative Amnesia. -Dissociative Amnesia - formerly Psychogenic Amnesia, is a pervasive loss of memory of significant personal information. This disorder is characterized by a blocking out of critical personal information. Dissociative amnesia, unlike other types of amnesia, does not result from other medical trauma, such as a blow to the head. The predominant disturbance is one or more episodes of inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness - Just to prove, it's true, and does happen. So this movie is not based on something made up, similar losses of memory do happen to people. Especially people in a job such as that. So, concluding, this is a great action film, I truly enjoyed this movie along with the sequel, The Bourne Supremacy. Both are I think going to be a couple of the best movies we will see this decade (2000-2010)
This story has been done several times in the past, most recently in "A
Long Kiss Goodnight". It's also true that Doug Liman and the producers
created their own Jason Bourne mythology,since this movie is different
in many ways to the book. But the truth is Liman takes an old story and
puts a new fast paced spin on it.
Matt Damon stars as the enigmatic assassin who just wants to figure out who he is. As he travels from city to city he's followed by CIA agents who want to dispose of him to save their own jobs. He's helped along the way by Marie played by the brilliant Franka Potente. Together they come face to face with the people that want them dead.
The cast is great and so is the story. This film should be on everyone's top ten list.
Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is a highly trained assassin, found left for
dead at sea. He wakes to find he has no memory of who he is and he
needs answers fast if he is to survive the attempts to erase his
The Bourne Identity is excellently paced and brings a great deal of realism to the spy genre. The fight sequences are fast and believable, the car chases are accurately choreographed and the character of Jason Bourne is vulnerable and easy to identify with.
Matt Damon plays the role with apparent ease, he simply slips into the character and brings him to life. As spy thrillers go The Bourne identity one of the best around.
The crew of a fishing vessel find a body floating in the middle of the
ocean. They bring it on board and the improvised 'doctor' finds two
bullets on the back and a Swiss bank account implanted in the hip of
the body. The 'body' indeed is not dead but unconscious: he is Jason
Bourne (Matt Dammon), a CIA secret and very well prepared agent with
amnesia. During the period of fishing in the sea, he recovers his
health. Once on shore, he decides to go to the Swiss bank and then to
the American Consulate. There he meets Marie Helena Kreutz (Franka
Potente, from 'Run Lola Run' and 'Anatomy') and they two together will
pass to the most spectacular actions along the film. The great Matt
Dammon and Franka Potente are perfect. This movie is everything that
'Tripple X' and 'Die Another Day' intended to be and did not offer to
the viewer: a non-stop and excellent action film. Fortunately this
screenplay was not in the hands of Tom Cruise, otherwise he would like
to perform the role of Jason Bourne and spoil this film, as usual. It
is amazing the filmography of Matt Dammon. This great actor knows how
to select good screenplays. I am not familiarized with the filmography
of Franka Potente ( I believe most of them has not been released on VHS
or DVD in Brazil), but in 'Run Lola Run' and 'Anatomy' I liked her
performance very much. One thing that called my attention along this
movie was her perfect accent in English (with the exception of the
'sh....' expressions in German). The great Chris Cooper and Julia
Stiles perform secondary roles along this outstanding action movie. My
vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "A Identidade Bourne" ("The Bourne Identity")
I was pleasantly surprised with the Bourne Identity.Very rarely do I
get to watch a movie that surpasses my expectations.First of all can I
say that there are so many films out there that have the same
regurgitated ideas and plot lines.Not many of which have any
This however is one of the exceptions thankfully and pleasantly.Centred around a man who gets washed ashore and with no memory.( OK so this has been done before !!) but this movie was original.A selection box of mystery, action and great acting by all concerned.Haven't seen much of Mr Damion I have to admit but he was impressive.The photography ( can I use that term without sounding like a theatre studies student ?) was very good.In fact watching this movie was like watching one of those middle of the night foreign movies in a funny sort of way.However this was much more.
In a word this film was ORIGINAL.Well directed and well acted. Good to see a film that doesn't have to rely on spectacular special effects and painted backdrops.This film worked because it worked without any of that.( Now I am waffling)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While the action genre is as believable
and formulaic as an NSync
song, The Bourne Identity takes a much
needed step to the side to watch oncoming
traffic. Subtle, yet still holding true to multiple
action formulas (lots of fighting, cool
weaponry, and chase scenes), this film
presents a new era of action film making
which could be all the wave. Matt Damon,
who has the unfortunate nature of watching
his less talented friend Ben Affleck gain
notoriety for trash movies, is an excellent
choice as the CIA operative turned amnesiac
His presence is both believable and realistic, like he is some guy who looks like a bookworm. While the film's cinematography was rather average, there are moments in the film which presents actual anxiety. The viewer knows something is coming, yet the genuine far exhibited by the characters makes those moments so interesting. I thought this would be some average action, but I walked away amazed. Franka Potente played the role of Marie perfectly, even though some prettier and less talented actress could have been placed in this film. Kudos to the producers for the casting choice. 7.4/10
I can sympathize with reviewers who had read the book and were
disappointed by this film and the liberties it apparently took with the
story. I've had that happen with books I've enjoyed and it can spoil a
film you might otherwise have liked. I never read the book, so I was
able to appreciate this film on its own merits - slick, tough,
fast-paced and refreshingly devoid of the kind of nonsense that has
made the Bond films harder and harder to sit through.
I'm especially impressed by the fights, which, as other reviewers have pointed out, are among the most believable martial-arts-based fight scenes ever seen. No big grand gestures or Olympian kicks - just fast, nasty moves designed to inflict maximum damage with minimum effort.
The cast is uniformly good - even Damon, who is no fave of mine, comes across believably as a man who's trained to hold it all in, but isn't sure what it all is that he's holding in. Cooper, Cox and Owen shine in their all-too-brief screen time. Potente is attractive in a real person sort of way (sigh of relief for this genre) and possesses an inner strength that makes her character's actions and reactions ring truer than what we'd get from the traditional Hollywood eye-candy girlfriend these films normally feature.
From the gritty bowels of the trawler, where Damon awakens to his situation, to the field where he confronts his most deadly assailant, the locations are the antithesis of the travel poster hotspots that Bond so frequently visits. Despite its breakneck pace (handled so well by Liman and so poorly in the sequel by his protégé), the film manages to convey a sense of melancholy that lifts it a bit above the average action thriller. Sorry book fans - it may not be your cup of Ludlum, but it's still a damn fine little action flick.
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