The Bourne Identity
Freely adapted from Robert Ludlum's 1980 bestseller, The Bourne Identity
starts fast and never slows down. The twisting plot revs up in Zurich, where amnesiac CIA assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), with no memory of his name, profession, or recent activities, recruits a penniless German traveler (Run Lola Run's
Franka Potente) to assist in solving the puzzle of his missing identity. While his CIA superior (Chris Cooper) dispatches assassins to kill Bourne and thus cover up his failed mission, Bourne exercises his lethal training to leave a trail of bodies from Switzerland to Paris. Director Doug Liman (Go
) infuses Ludlum's intricate plotting with a maverick's eye for character detail, matching breathtaking action with the humorous, thrill-seeking chemistry of Damon and Potente. Previously made as a 1988 TV movie starring Richard Chamberlain, The Bourne Identity
benefits from the sharp talent of rising stars, offering intelligent, crowd-pleasing excitement from start to finish. --Jeff Shannon
The Bourne Supremacy
Good enough to suggest long-term franchise potential, The Bourne Supremacy
is a thriller fans will appreciate for its well-crafted suspense, and for its triumph of competence over logic (or lack thereof). Picking up where The Bourne Identity
left off, the action begins when CIA assassin and partial amnesiac Jason Bourne (a role reprised with efficient intensity by Matt Damon) is framed for a murder in Berlin, setting off a chain reaction of pursuits involving CIA handlers (led by Joan Allen and the duplicitous Brian Cox, with Julia Stiles returning from the previous film) and a shadowy Russian oil magnate. The fast-paced action hurtles from India to Berlin, Moscow, and Italy, and as he did with the critically acclaimed Bloody Sunday
, director Paul Greengrass puts you right in the thick of it with split-second editing (too much of it, actually) and a knack for well-sustained tension. It doesn't all make sense, and bears little resemblance to Robert Ludlum's novel
, but with Damon proving to be an appealingly unconventional action hero, there's plenty to look forward to. --Jeff Shannon The Bourne Ultimatum
The often breathtaking, final installment in the Bourne
trilogy finds the titular assassin with no memory closing in on his past, finally answering his own questions about his real identity and how he came to be a seemingly unstoppable killing machine. Matt Damon returns for another intensely physical performance as Jason Bourne, the rogue operative at war with the CIA, which made him who and what he is and managed to kill his girlfriend in the series' second film, The Bourne Supremacy
. Now looking for payback, Bourne goes in search for the renegade chief of CIA operations in Europe and North Africa, partnering for a time with a mysterious woman from his past (Julia Stiles) and constantly--constantly--on the run from assassins, intelligence foot soldiers, and cops. Directed by Paul Greengrass (United 93)
with the director’s thrilling, trademark textures and shaky, documentary style, The Bourne Ultimatum
is largely a succession of action scenes that reveal a lot about the story’s characters while they’re under duress. Joan Allen, Albert Finney, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, and Paddy Considine comprise the film’s terrific supporting cast, and the well-traveled movie leads viewers through Turin, Madrid, Tangiers, Paris, London, and New York. Overall, this is a satisfying conclusion to Bourne’s
exciting and protracted mystery. --Tom Keogh
Finally making its Blu-ray bow, The Ultimate Bourne Collection defies the convention for how these things are supposed to work. The theory runs that a trilogy's best film is the first, and it's a case of diminishing returns from that point onwards. The Bourne movies? They just keep getting better and better.
Things kick off well with The Bourne Identity, which introduces Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. When we meet him, he's no idea who he is, but he quickly learns that he's in possession of some quite extraordinary, and lethal, skills. The film is slap bang on the money for the first two thirds, before a slightly muddled last act. Yet it still gets the franchise off to a good start.
The directorial reigns passed over from Doug Liman (of Swingers and now Mr and Mrs Smith fame) to Paul Greengrass (United 93, Bloody Sunday) for The Bourne Supremacy, and it proved to be a wise choice. Supremacy is a faster, more intense film, that this time sees Jason Bourne framed for murder, and gradually closing in on the secrets of his part. It's pulsating stuff.
The icing on the proverbial cake though is the superb The Bourne Ultimatum, arguably one of the finest blockbuster movies of the past decade or two. Effectively a two-hour chase movie, it's a staggering achievement that returning director Greengrass manages to keep the momentum going right the way through. Damon, by this point, utterly owns the role, and it's a film that demands to be re-watched time and time again.
As you'd hope and expect, high definition is both kind and effective where the Bourne films are concerned, with the fast action looking quite superb in 1080p. Backed up by a vibrant, brilliant surround sound mix, all three of the films benefit from the upgrade, and ultimately leave you salivating for the much-rumoured fourth installment. A terrific trilogy. --Simon Brew
Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Julia StilesDirectors: Doug Liman & Paul Greengrass