Monday, December 22, 2008

The Bourne Trilogy

“A new action hero is Bourne!” (Access Hollywood) Get ready for the explosive, action-packed hit with incredible fight sequences, starring Academy Award winner* Matt Damon (Ocean’s Eleven). Pulled from the sea with two bullet holes in his back, Jason Bourne discovers he has the skills if a very dangerous man and no memory of his violent past. Racing to unlock the secret of his own identity, he discovers the deadly truth: he’s an elite government agent. But to the government, Jason Bourne isn’t just their property, he’s a malfunctioning thrity million dollar weapon. Leathally trained, built to disappear, he’s an agent on the run who has to be taken out. Now, the government’s top operative has become it’s number one target, in a super-charged, thrill-a-minute spectacular loaded with “Non-stop action!” (Bill Zwecker, FOX-TV)

Title: The Bourne Idenitity
Series: Jason Bourne, Movie 1
Release: June 14, 2002
Genre: Action- Conspiracy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Based On: The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Writer: Tony Gilroy, & W. Blake Herron
Director: Doug Liman
Music By: John Powell
Produced By: Patrick Crowley, Richard N. Gladstein, & Doug Liman
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Run Time: 119 minutes
Official Site

Robert Ludlum's spy-fiction/ thriller mystery series has been a hit ever since the first book was published in 1980, The Bourne Identity. However, Jason Bourne didn't make his first screen appearance until 1988 with a two-part television movie starring Richard Chamberlain. The more successful interpretation was made in 2002 with actor Matt Damon though. Fresh off of the success of playing a small part in the star studded film Ocean's Eleven, Matt Damon was approached to take on the role of Jason Bourne- "one of his most recognizable works to date."

This film (and the rest of the franchise) is so popular because it had a bunch of great actors; including one of my favorite actors, Clive Owen as The Professor, a director who has proved time and again that he can make some seriously good action films (he was responsible for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jumper, and he produced the rest of the Bourne films), and a bestselling author’s greatest series. Thanks to all three of these things, what could have been just a cool action-packed summer flick became so much more. Bourne isn’t a shoot-‘um-up assassin, he’s an intelligent guy who not only thinks things through but is an interesting character too.

Unfortunately, Robert Ludlum died shortly before The Bourne Identity was released but I bet he would have been very proud of what Ludlum and Damon created from his novel. Matt Damon summed up the film better than I ever could:

"The main point with The Bourne Identity is that it’s an action movie that’s character-driven. The violence isn’t gratuitous, the action in the movie is actually driving the story, and in between the action sequences there’s tension that’s building — it’s just like one of those Hitchcock films that I love. I think it’s tough to find an action movie that can be a relief from the genre, but there’s definitely room for movies like The Bourne Identity to come out that are just really great, surprising and fun.”

Links: Film Wikipedia, Book Wikipedia, Character Wikipedia,
Interview: Doug Liman (BBC), Matt Damon (Movie Habit)


Matt Damon & Charlie Rose Interview (to 35:45):


They should have left him alone. Academy Award winner* Matt Damon is back as expert assassin Jason Bourne in this stunning, non-stop action hit. Fuelled by awesome fight scenes and some of the most breathtaking chase sequences ever filmed, it’s a state-of-the-art espionage thriller that explodes into action and never lets up!
Title: The Bourne Supremacy
Release: July 23, 2004
Genre: Action-Spy/ Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Based On: The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum
Writer: Tony Gilroy & Brian Helgeland
Director: Paul Greengrass
Music By: John Powell
Produced By: Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall, Paul L. Sandberg, & Doug Liman
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Run Time: 108 minutes
Official Site

Thanks to the overall positive response to the first Bourne film, work began on its sequel The Bourne Supremacy very soon afterwards. However, the original director Doug Liman had to bow out (he continued to produce the Bourne films though) and Paul Greengrass took over. Thankfully, he continued to make the film as Identity had been made: smart, savvy, and character-driven. The entire Bourne franchise is based on Robert Ludlum's popular Bourne trilogy but only to a degree, most of this film has a completely different plot due to trying to make it more modern.

Despite the director change, a few of characters from the previous film return- besides Jason Bourne of course! To me this film just felt more gritty for lack of better word. Matt Damon seems more at ease in the character and although he can no longer realistically be considered a “good guy” he’s too complex to fall into the category of “bad guy” either. Pamela Landy played by the wonderful actress Joan Allen, is another character that can't be placed in one category or the other. She's the Deputy Director of the CIA and she obviously wants to do what she thinks is right but what should be right and what is are two very different things.

I always enjoy the Bourne films because they’re smart while being action-packed. Nothing blows up unless it’s to move the story along, and in each “sequel” more is discovered about Jason Bourne. Robert Ludlum only created three books in his series about Bourne but to coincide with this movie release, Eric Van Lustbader took over the series (with permission from Ludlum’s estate) and continued them, publishing the first one The Bourne Legacy the same year as this film came out. I have yet to read any of the Bourne series but as much as I enjoy the films, I’m almost positive that the original source material will be just as good

Links: Film Wikipedia, Book Wikipedia,
Interview: Matt Damon on Film (


Director Interview:

Behind the Scenes:


Matt Damon returns as highly trained assassin Jason Bourne, who is on the hunt for the agents who stole his memory and true identity. With a new generation of skilled CIA operatives tracking his every move, Bourne is in a non-stop race around the globe as he finally learns the truth behind his mysterious past. Loaded with incredible fight and chase sequences, it’s the exhilarating movie with “mind-blowing action” (Robert Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times that you can’t afford to miss!

Title: The Bourne Ultimatum
Release: August 3, 2007
Genre: Action- Spy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Based On: The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum
Writer: Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns, George Nolfi, & Tom Stoppard
Director: Paul Greengrass
Music By: John Powell
Produced By: Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall, & Doug Liman
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Run Time: 115 minutes

The third and current film in the Bourne series loosely based on Robert Ludlum's books is The Bourne Ultimatum. Every Bourne film has done incredibly well when released, but this was the first one to be recognized at the Academy Awards. It actually took home three Oscars for Best Sound, Best Film Editing & Best Sound Editing.

There have been many complaints about the director's "shaky camera" technique, which is a lot more noticeable in this film than in the last. That particular technique is undoubtedly annoying and even unnecessary but it does add a bit of realism to the chase scenes. The locations are gorgeous (it was filmed in London, Tangier, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, New York and a few other locations as well) though and I love the film series so was very willing to put up with it.

Usually as a series goes on it tends to be not as good as when it started or it gets better. As much as I liked The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, I enjoyed this Bourne a whole lot more even with its problems. The characters are a little older, the story is a bit grittier, but it’s just now getting even more interesting.

Although there were claims that there wouldn't be a fourth Bourne film by Matt Damon and the director Paul Greengrass, as of October work has already begun on it although it's still untitled. Whether it will be loosely based on the series of books that Eric Van Lustbader wrote after Robert Ludlum's death or not still hasn't been said. However, Damon, Julia Stiles, and Paul Greengrass have already signed on. This story arc ended very well so I can’t wait to see what Jason Bourne does next!

Links: Film Wikipedia, Book Wikipedia,,
Interviews: Matt Damon Bourne to Talk (, Julia Stiles (, Matt Damon (




  1. I loved these films! And the moby track at the end of each film fits perfectly. I would be very interested to see if they carried the story on. They're so loosely based on the books anyway, that it would be easy to create a new adventure for him! Bourne gave me a whole new respect for Matt Damon too.

  2. I didn't realize Robert Ludlum is dead. My hubby is reading The Bourne Sanction right now and he's loving it.

  3. Yes! Great reviews, Jen. I love these movies.

    Several years ago (2001), I read the first book, Bourne Identity, because I heard they were filming a movie. I had trouble finishing it. Although it was good, Ludlum, for me, is tough to read. He's so dense. Reminds me of Tom Clancy. These movies distill the books a bit into what really works. I can't wait to see a fourth.

  4. I haven't read the books, but I loved the movies!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  5. Like Mariel, I absolutely love these films. I am glad to hear there will be a fourth movie.

    I am looking forward to someday reading the books.

  6. Mariel: Me too. I wonder if they'll try to continue this story arc on a grander scale?

    Bermudaonion: I didn't know it either until I looked up the books. I remembered that a new Bourne book had recently come out but I just learned that he wasn't the one who wrote it.

    Paxton: I've heard that Ludlum's books are very well researched but by reading some of the plot on Wiki, I can agree that it seems like the best stuff made it into the film.

    Anna: The movies are so good! Can't wait for the next one!

    Wendy: I'm kind of curious to learn just how much the films are loosely based on the books.

  7. For me, this one was the very best of the best! Matt Damon was rock on awesome.

  8. great review!
    Matt Damon is great as Bourne. I've only seen the first one but enjoyed it.
    I need to rent them and play catch up.

  9. J. Kaye: Lol. I have to agree!

    Naida: Thank you! You should, the others are great too. Hubby and I sat down and watched them all back to back one weekend.

  10. I read my first Bourne book years ago and then plowed right through the rest. Didn't know about the earlier Chamberlain adaptation. For me the Bourne Identity was the best of the three.

  11. I heard about that movie was based on real story of Jason Bourne a CIA agent. That make me crazy about the movie and I watch online this movie with my friends. I really enjoy Julia Stiles character in movie.



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