Who Am I ?
Directed by: Doug Liman.
Starring: Matt Damon, Brian Cox, Christoper Cooper, Franka Potente, Clive Owen, Nicki Naude and Julia Styles.
On the date this movie was released to the world, the spy genre changed forever. And wouldn't you believe it happened with the most unlikely actor to helm what became a powerful franchise? On a stormy night, in the middle of the ocean, a body washed up onto a fisherman's boat. His name is Jason Bourne (Damon), a 30 million dollar asset trained by the CIA agency branch known as Treadstone. Their goal is bread and train the most dangerous assassins in the world to operate and execute their orders without question, precision, and silence. Where does Bourne lead? A mission gone wrong leads to amnesia, and the hunt for a man who should never be caged...ever.
What we have here is the next generation of spies. It makes the James Bonds before Daniel Craig look like a pile of outdated software. Operation Treadstone is a top secret black ops of the CIA where it recruited only U.S. military members then turned assassins that went against the Congressional Act. Its purpose is to eliminate morality from its recruits. Once broken down, they were trained in the top hand-to-hand combat, sniping and tradecraft; breaded to fight, kill and survive as living unstoppable weapons. Stationed in Langley, it is operated by Ward Abbot (Cox) and Alexander Conklin (Cooper).
Jason Bourne shows us what he's actually capable of when he starts the search for his identity. He puts two cops in the hospital without breaking a sweat, turning into a scary moment for our character and an indication that he's more than meets the eye. The story is simple. Bourne tries to figure out who he really is, while the agency that trained him fears he has gone rogue and decides to take him out. Matt Damon delivers a unique performance. He becomes the character, They are operatives that feel no remorse from their actions. When they fight, they destroy. His faces remains constantly emotionless even when he discovers new things to answer his questions. The entire movie can be seen through various vantage points: a good story with action, or just a movie to show just how far hand to hand combat has evolved. Regardless, the movie benefits from both and keeps you guessing from start to finish. There are no heroes in this movie. Everyone is a criminal in their own right. We root for the protagonist even though we have knowledge that's a cold blooded killer.
One thing the movie manages to do right is to make sure the Bourne character isn't a walking God among men. He may be better than his adversaries, but he's still human. In his search for answers, he meets Marie (Potente), his first real connection to the world and love interest. She's more of a utility than an importance. While it may ground Bourne, she's just there to offer the hero something to live for after his search is complete. She might as well not be used at all.
The action is superb. Bourne faces off against three of the agency's top assassins in the same or higher league. The first one, let's call him the brute, has a style of storming in and annihilating the surrounding to get the job done. Bourne's true abilities surface, and proves to the world that bringing a knife to pen fight is the wrong tactic. The second assassin played by Clive Owen, is an expert with guns. Clearly not meant for long range assaults like the previous asset, but just as deadly. Short lived, but meant for a tactical execution. Jason Bourne proves through his training to master his surroundings and make any object within reachable distance is as much of a weapon as a car.
The editing deserves recognition as much as the performance and action. Utilizing the handheld technique of filmmaking ,the movie gets its signature trademark. The fighting is fast, elegant, crisp and dominating. The famous car chase with the little mini cooper is still a favorite. Like I said, this series has changed everything. 95% of the series takes place overseas, as the most compact zone of world. They get you into the action, where it is closer to claustrophobia, because lets be real, have you seen the lack of space these parts of Europe are? Can we say achievement?
Overall, The Bourne Identity sparks a trilogy. It redefines the spy genre (am i beating a dead horse?), changes the style of fighting, and becomes one of Matt Damon's top rated movies. It is in my top ten and will be a long time before it gets dethroned.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.