Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Matt Damon: From Identity To Supremacy;
Deleted scenes; Inside a Fight Scene; Cloak and Dagger: Covert
Ops; The Bourne Diagnosis; The Bourne Mastermind; Regions 2/4.
SPIES seem to be all the rage at the moment; whether on TV or
on the Big Screen, the world of espionage has seldom seemed so
alluring to both stars and directors.
Weve had Austin Powers bidding
to save his father; Jack Ryan attempting to save the world in
The Sum of All Fears, TVs
Spooks avoiding the chip fat fryers, Jack
Bauer preventing an assassination attempt and now Matt Damon
struggling to remember his identity - even before James Bond prepares
to Die Another Day in
But The Bourne Identity is the pick of the movie bunch so far,
a hip, fast-paced, no-nonsense thriller, based on the page-turning
trilogy by Robert Ludlum.
Directed by Doug (Swingers/Go) Liman, the film finds Damons
amnesia-ridden assassin, Jason Bourne, attempting to rediscover
his identity after being rescued by a fishing crew with only the
bullets in his back and a Swiss Bank account embedded in his hip
Enlisting the help of Franka Potentes reluctant love-interest,
Bourne then travels across Europe in a bid to unravel the mystery
before his former employers find and erase him permanently.
Its an intriguing set-up, expertly
realised by the ultra-cool Liman, which engages the viewer from
start to finish without ever becoming too predictable or too complicated.
Damon, in the title role, continues to show his versatility as
an actor, cutting a suitably lean figure as the deadly Bourne,
having undergone months of martial arts, boxing and weapons training
to prepare for the physical demands of his performance.
And while his edgy, confused spy lacks the quip-spewing charisma
of a 007, or the out and out good-looks of Jack Ryans latest
incarnation (Ben Affleck), Damon infuses his agent with an intensity
that is grounded in reality, forced to operate in a world that
takes no prisoners (his fight scenes, in particular, appear and
sound bone-crunchingly authentic) and which offers few allies.
On his trail, meanwhile, are the likes of Chris (Lone Star) Cooper
and Brian Coxs shadowy superiors and Clive Owens fellow
assassin; all of whom add gravitas to roles which, traditionally,
lack much in the way of characterisation (Owen, in particular,
is quietly efficient throughout).
On the action front, the movie also delivers, with a car chase
involving a mini through the streets of Paris a particular highlight,
evoking fond memories of both The Italian Job and Ronin.
The Bourne Identity was one of the sleeper hits of the year when
released in America and its success could pave the way for a franchise
(Ludlum constructed a trilogy around Bourne), which would certainly
As spy thrillers go, this one hits the target.