30 April 2011

Movie Series: Bourne Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum

The Jason Bourne series -
The Bourne Identity (2002)  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258463/ ,
The Bourne Supremacy (2004) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0372183/  and
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0440963/

First off I have never seen the first made-for-tv 1988 Bourne Identity film starring Richard Chamberlain, so I can't even begin to compare that film to this series. Nor have I read the books, so I am not able to discuss the similarities/differences/merits.

Second off, I'm not going to attempt any sort of in-depth 'review' of each of the films, pretty much everyone has seen some or all of these films.  This is just a dump of the thoughts that I had after watching all the films again.

These films revolve around Jason Borne, played by Matt Damon. When we first meet him he suffers from amnesia. He can't remember who he is, why he speaks multiple languages, why he can kick people's asses without thinking, why he had a safe deposit box in Switzerland filled with multiple passports with multiple names, currency for multiple countries, a gun... As time goes on we (and he) find out he was part of a secret CIA covert-ops assassination program and they're trying to track him down and eliminate him because he's gone rogue and they don't know if he's defected or what.  Even when they know about his amnesia they fear their old weapon will be back to take 'em out.

I really like this series of flicks. They are very consistent with each other as they continue Bourne's story, and each film makes a good stand-alone movie that doesn't require having seen the preceding flicks to understand what is happening. Ultimatum is probably the most dependent on its predecessors than Supremacy is, but could still stand alone.   Another good thing is that the amount of time elapsed between when the movies were released didn't diminish the quality of the later movies. They just resulted in an older-looking Matt Damon in the third film vs. the first film.

The only complaint I ever had was about the handheld cam work in Supremacy. It is probably the most shaky and distracting of the technique used out of the three flicks, but with multiple viewings I'm able to get past it now. Aside from that - most of the time we as viewers are right in the middle of the action.

Regardless, they're great cloak-and-dagger stuff, great characters with depth played by great casting choices.  Awesome work by the behind-the-scenes crews as well.  Easily a series I can keep returning to from time to time.  Even though I remember the whole story as laid out in the 3 films, they're still very good film rides that I return to probably at least once every year or so.

If you haven't seen these films and enjoy good action/adventure/intreague films with car chases and hand-to-hand combat scenes, why haven't you seen them? Get them. Now.

Side Note ------
There's a fourth Bourne movie in the works, titled The Bourne Legacy. This won't have Jason Bourne, or Matt Damon, in the flick. This one will star Jeremy Renner. It isn't a reboot or a prequel or recast either. It's set in the same world as the first three films, and supposedly builds on events from the first three films but shows a wider view of the conspiracy.  I'll probably watch the film to see how it fits with the first three, but it will be weird having a Bourne film without Jason Bourne in it except in spirit.

Adam Savage (Mythbusters) owns THE red Switzerland bank bag prop from the first film - Bourne Identity.  The contents are a mixture of found and replicated items. He trotted it out for a MB episode where they tested the magazine in a toaster + natural gas in the house = big explosion scene from the Supremacy film.
And by "trotted it out" I meant he practically came out skipping and giddy with excitement like a little girl holding a pet white fluffy bunny. I mean that in a good way. That's part of what makes MB work so well - Adam's exuberance contrasted with Jamie's deadpan.
He talks about it in the after show video at about the 2 minutes 4 seconds mark.

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