Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity.
A not completely horrible, loose adaptation of the Robert Ludlum novel, The Bourne Identity does manage to entertain with some exciting fight scenes, a so-so car chase, and the requisite number of explosions that we've all come to expect in Summer blockbusters, yet breaks no new ground and falls far short of being a really good movie.
The movie begins with an interesting enough premise. A man (Matt Damon) is pulled from the Mediterranean sea with two bullet wounds to his back and amnesia. The doctor on the fishing boat which rescued him, removes the two bullets and also discovers a small capsule implanted in the man's hip which contains an address and the number to a bank account in Zurich. With that his only clue, the man heads to the bank where he discovers a safety deposit box that contains six different passports in six different names, and several hundred-thousand dollars worth of cash in different currencies. Along the way he also discovers that he knows how to fight and kill. He is left with the question, just who the hell am I and what happened that left me near death in the water?
This is where the movie makes its mistake. Instead of being a mystery, slowly solved, it immediately cuts to C.I.A. headquarters where we the audience learn exactly who he is and what happened. This early revelation of Jason Bourne's identity, removes most of the suspense from the film and the rest is simply momentum.
Matt Damon, whom I've never been a huge fan of, does a decent job in this role. He handles the action well, which is mostly what is required of him in this Disneyfied Bond movie.
The plot, what there is of it, is simply the chasing and hunting of Jason Bourne and the young woman he hires to drive him to Paris, by the C.I.A., who want him dead to cover-up a botched assassination attempt which could embarrass the C.I.A. if made public. But plot is way down on the list of priorities for this movie, falling somewhere below exotic locales, explosions, and car chases.
Little details are also skimmed over in this movie. For instance, just how Jason is able to travel from Marseille to Zurich with no passport or other paperwork and very little money, is never touched upon. He flits across borders with impunity.
Typical light summer fare, The Bourne Identity offers action without suspense, sex without nudity, and death without blood. Perhaps the real reason Jason Bourne has amnesia is that his adventures are just so forgettable.
Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity.
Being that I am noted as not being a big fan of Matt Damon, you might think that I would not like this movie. However, I did. Bourne Identity is action packed and more entertaining than Die Another Day.
Matt Damon is actually a good actor here, playing the one role he is able to play. The confused, what am I doing character. It is the character he plays in his best movies; The Talented Mr. Ripley, Good Will Hunting and Courage Under Fire.
Scott did not care for this movie, but then he liked Die Another Day. Scott didn't like the fact that this movie never explained how Jason was able to travel without a passport. Scott, you gave 3 stars to a movie that has a guy build a billion dollar satellite just to detonate land mines. What about the fake iceberg, windsurfing scene? Compared to the ridiculous plot of Die Another Day, Bourne Identity practically comes across as a true story.
The one thing I did not care for about this movie was the complete lack of any character. Sure the lead has amnesia, but at no point do we ever learn anything about him other than his true occupation. At the end of this movie when the two leads embrace I felt nothing for them. They were just parts of a nice action story. A story with little emotional involvement.
Photos © Copyright Universal Studios (2002)