‘THE BOURNE IDENTITY’ (2002) – Classic Review – Knife v Pen…


Considering the fact that ‘Jason Bourne’ is releasing later this month there has never been a better reason to talk about this incredible action franchise that introduced us to the man known as Jason Bourne. And there are some spoilers here and there but you’ve had plenty of time to see this film. So here it is, the introduction to the best Action trilogy of all time and one of the strongest and most consistent trilogies to ever have existed… ‘The Bourne Identity’. In this film; A man wakes to find himself in the middle of the sea with no identity and no knowledge of his past, as he is hunted down he uncovers more and more about his mysterious past and the man he used to be. This movie blended elements of Action, Mystery, Suspense, and some light Humour, all in a way that made this a very well crafted and thoroughly entertaining thrill ride. You have your exciting fast paced, grounded, action set-pieces, great characters, fantastic performances, and a touch of mystery to add another layer to what would otherwise be a basic plot. The only thing i miss when watching this film is not being able to remember my first experience with it, what i would give to see this for the first time again…


Lets start off with the action because when it comes to close quarters hand to hand combat, no-one is ever going to come close to overcoming Jason Bourne. His fight scenes are intense, exciting, and full of awesome brutal fast paced combat. Sometimes they briefly touch on the multiple jump cuts approach, but overall the scenes are very easy to watch. And there are so many memorable fight scenes in this film, the main one being where he fights a knife wielding assassin with a pen… a fucking pen… The guy could turn a ham sandwich into a deadly weapon if he needed to. The series constantly finds new ways to up the excitement and up the stakes in every film, and when you start with a pen fight scene, it’s only up from there. Also one of my favourite shots in the trilogy, no matter how unrealistic it may seem is where Jason Bourne ‘falls with style’ down a shitload of flights of stairs on the back of a body, shoots a guy in the head half way down and doesn’t end up a quadriplegic…


Matt Damon, Chris Cooper and Brian Cox were all amazing in their roles as very different characters with very contrasting personalities. Especially today, it is hard to look at these actors and not see their countless other recognisable roles. But they play these characters so well, with so much dedication to the role that this is the role you think of when you see them in other films. Franka Potente plays a likeable character who is serviceable to the plot and acts as the love interest but wasn’t overly impressive in her performance. You empathise for the character and do really get behind her for sticking with Jason Bourne considering the mess she has been dragged into, but it wasn’t the strongest performance in the film. She does have a good amount of chemistry with Bourne and compliments his rather blank expression rather well throughout the film.

Also what i thought this film did very well was how it handled being an individual film as well as setting up a very successful franchise. It has a fairly closed and contained story, you can walk away from this film having seen a beginning middle and end where all of the main points have been seemingly concluded. And at the same time there are small hints placed throughout the film and minor characters who don’t get a full arc that elude to their presence in the sequel without making this film seem unfinished. Expertly put together if you ask me.


So that’s it for this look back at the birth of Jason Bourne, the man who proves time and time again that James Bond wouldn’t stand a chance in this universe. It is a fantastic all round very entertaining Action Thriller that spawned the greatest action movie trilogy of all time.


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