Sunday, July 24, 2016

Movie Review: "The Bourne Identity" (2002)

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Movie"The Bourne Identity"
Director: Doug Liman
Year: 2002
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

A man found floating in the ocean with a pair of bullets in his back is pulled from the water by a passing boat. This man has no memory of who he is or where he comes from. He starts to find clues and unravel the mystery of who he is, where he comes from, and why he is being followed by people who are trying to kill him. Luckily, this man, who is known as Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), still remembers all of his deadly skills from his past life that will help keep him alive.

Directed by Doug Liman, "The Bourne Identity" is an action spy thriller starring Matt Damon as the title character Jason Bourne. Prior to the release of this film, Matt Damon wasn't exactly known as an action star, having been in mostly comedies, dramas, and less action-oriented thrillers. Damon, however, seems to be able to adapt amazingly well for whatever movie he is in, especially the action genre that we're sure by now is second nature to him. You have to start somewhere, and what better place to start than being bad-ass action lead/major butt kicker Jason Bourne? Damon's Bourne starts out this film knowing nothing regarding his current predicament. He has been pulled from the ocean full of lead and has no memory of how he got there. As his journey progresses, he starts to get followed, by who he does not know, and the people following him are also trying to kill him, for what he does not know. Amnesia, right? Along the way, joining Damon is Franka Potente, who plays Marie, a random woman who reluctantly helps Bourne in his quest by giving him a ride to Paris for £20000 so he can visit the address on his driver's license to begin putting the pieces of this puzzle together. Behind the scenes and trying to catch and/or kill Bourne are Chris Cooper, who plays Conklin, the head of operation Treadstone, the secret operation trying to find Bourne, Brian Cox, who plays Conklin's boss Ward Abbott, who may have ulterior motives and cruel intentions, as well as Clive Owen, Julia Stiles, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

There are a lot of mediocre action movie franchises out there, but the "Bourne" series isn't one of them. "The Bourne Identity" is a solid start to this series, complete with an action-packed plot, a ton of great fight scenes that are choreographed pretty well, and a slew of car and foot chases to titillate you from start to finish. There are also a lot of drawn out, thrilling scenes where Bourne is simply trying to avoid getting captured, even though everyone around him could be trying to kill him. Not everything in this movie is great, though. The speed manipulation on some of the fight scenes give them an unnatural look and can be distracting. There is also a lot of shaky camera work implemented here, and this seems to progress through the series. Luckily, the characters are interesting enough so audiences really get invested in the mystery of Bourne's past and watching him unravel it. It's not a complete waste of time because these elements make the audience think alongside Bourne as he uncovers who he really is. These instances are almost always captivating, but we will admit it feels a little too neat and too been-there-done-that to start. Matt Damon is in his element as the titular character, and we really enjoy his performances in this series. Overall, "The Bourne Identity" is a great introduction to the character of Jason Bourne, one that is a gripping, action-heavy, fun movie most people will enjoy.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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