The Bourne Identity (Blu-ray + DVD)
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143 of 163 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2003
I'll be honest, I haven't read the Robert Ludlum novel, nor do I remember seeing the original film staring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. So I'm not able to point out differences or inconsistencies, if indeed there are any. Having said that, I can't imagine its predecessors topping Doug Liman's version of "The Bourne Identity." This is the sort of film I like to watch pretty often and each time I find something new to enjoy.

The plot, while nothing very original, provides a useful framework around which we get to enjoy some of the most believable action sequences I've seen. Let's face it, an assassin suffering from amnesia is not going to lead a dull life, particularly not after his "friends" decide he's gone rogue. There's only so many ways you can film stunts and action sequences like a car chase but Liman has managed to somehow make the many action scenes seem fresh. I particularly liked seeing what looked like a mini-minor out driving the police using skill and good planing, rather than a high-powered engine or death-defying jumps.

Most of the movie follows Jason Bourne, (Matt Damon), as he tries to reclaim his life and survive to see each new day. In this way, the audience is allowed to discover the pieces of the puzzle along with him. On the way he forms an unequal partnership with Marie Kreutz, (Franka Potente). It is good to see a female lead portrayed without either weakness or an unrealistic macho streak. Hopefully, this film will launch Franka's Hollywood career because she has more than earned her stripes in German cinema.

Jason and Marie inevitably bond but despite not taking a major part of the narrative, I felt their stop-start romance suited the film. Perhaps a woman with no home makes a good match for a man with no past. I also liked the several times the couple tried to split up, to get Marie out of Bourne's troubles but I especially liked the realism when they finally managed to part. The plot really doesn't need her but it seems Liman used Marie as a means of reminding Bourne that there is more to life than survival.

To some it would be nice to wake up one day and discover you were a sort of superman; able to speak half a dozen languages, had tens of thousands in a Swiss bank account and could out-fight Bruce Lee. His boss said it best when he described Jason as a $30,000,000 weapon. But more than advanced skills, Jason was gifted with intelligence and the experience of years of spy craft, even if he couldn't remember it. The thoughtful approach taken to achieve each objective, even on the spur of the moment, made the film almost educational. Hey, read a map before running from the police, use distraction and decoys to sidetrack you opponent, use the resources around you and think laterally. It's all good stuff for budding spies.

While Matt Damon played the part with little emotion, deliberately I assume, some of the smaller roles were outstanding. Each seemed to wring so much depth from so few minutes of screen time that I felt like watching a spin-off movie for each of them. Probably the most affecting was the performance of Clive Owen, a fellow assassin who dies describing his constant headaches and bitter loneliness. Also of note is Julia Stiles, the overworked safe-house administrator; she exudes competence while com­plaining of limited resources. All of these perform­ance gems must be a credit to Liman's direction.

It would be easy to dismiss "The Bourne Identity" as just another action flick. The action was great, but the true heart of the film was Jason's odyssey to reclaim his soul from the depths of a CIA black-ops hell. He used to be an amoral machine, doing his job without questioning the rightness of his work, just like the rest of them. But amnesia gave him the chance to step back from the abyss and evaluate his fate, eventually choosing to tear a new path into the future. The moral? Perhaps it's that "freedom" is more important than "patriotism."
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89 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2004
First, I rate the MOVIE Bourne Identity and the older Collector's Edition DVD both as 5-star. I expected the Extended Edition DVD to include all in the older Collector's Edition DVD AND MORE. What you get with the Extended Edition DVD is a FREE TICKET (EXPIRES AUGUST 8th) to MOVIE Bourne Supremacy and a weaker DVD release that is largely a promotion for the new movie.

What you LOSE (Extended Edition DVD versus Collector's Edition DVD):

an extended farmhouse scene; DTS sound; Doug Liman's informative Director's Commentary track.

What you DO NOT GAIN (Extended Edition DVD versus Collector's Edition DVD):

the SAME alternate ending IN ROUGH, GRAINY QUALITY as in the deleted scenes of the Collector's Edition; the SAME deleted/extended scenes (except for the ADDED alternate beginning noted below and the OMITTED farmhouse scene noted above); the SAME Extreme Ways music video by Moby and the SAME DVD-ROM access to web site; no featurette whatsoever providing director Doug Liman's comments. (Did Liman tick off producer Frank Marshall or did he want to distance himself from this so-called upgrade by Universal?).

What you DO GAIN (Extended Edition DVD versus Collector's Edition DVD):

a FREE TICKET (EXPIRES AUGUST 8th) to Bourne Supremacy movie; pain-in-the-arse indirect PLAY THE MOVIE via a Play SUB-menu to select theatrical vs extended version that STILL forces you to use MANUALLY your DVD player's ANGLE button WHEN THE ALTERNATE ANGLE ICONS APPEAR ON YOUR SCREEN to access the bookended alternate beginning/ending version (both footages in UNFINISHED QUALITY that somewhat compromise the vendetta premise of the Bourne Supremacy); Special Features includes these SAME UNFINISHED alternate beginning and ending in isolation with producer Frank Marshall's mea-culpa that this less-than-explosive footage was a post-production C-Y-A due to 9/11 that test audiences ultimately bounced anyway; some worthwhile featurettes regarding Robert Ludlum, CIA practices from retired CIA operative/film consultant Chase Brandon, and a real psychologist's profile of Jason Bourne; a worthless transition promotion fluff to the Bourne Supremacy movie.

VERDICT: If DTS sound or Director Commentary tracks matter to you, DO NOT UPGRADE (yeah, right, upgrade); stick with or buy the older Collector's Edition DVD. If you don't already own the Collector's Edition or these factors don't matter and you intend to use the free Bourne Supremacy movie ticket BEFORE AUGUST 8TH, go with the Extended Edition DVD But shame on you, Universal for your promotional UPGRADE hogwash!!!
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2002
"The Bourne Identity" is by far the best action movie of 2002! It starts fast and never slows down, from beginning to end. Matt Damon (of "Good Will Hunting"/"Saving Private Ryan" fame) delivers a dynamite performance as Jason Bourne; a CIA operative whos failed assassination attempt of a world leader causes him to be put for extermination by his own company. Coming from near-death, without any remembrance of the past, Bourne embarks to find and retrace why he is in the situation, he is, while battling those that seek to end his life. All this with the skills and techniques that are provided to him by being a CIA Op. Franka Potente (lead of "Run Lola Run," the best German film of the 90s: if you haven't seen it, check it out ASAP) is amazing as Bourne's penniless sidekick. She is smart, sexy, and a perfect compliment to Damon. They are an excellent pair together! This movie is amazing for its great dialogue, witty and charismatic cast, and non-stop action sequences. Chris Cooper is quite good as Bourne's former boss, who wants him dead ASAP. And, an upcoming star in Julia Stiles makes a brief appearance as a CIA employee. On top of the cast, the film is gifted with excellent cinematography. Set primarily in Paris, it has the ability to take that city that many Americans know well and transform it into an exotic masterpiece, ala Budapest or Prague. The camera angles of the scenes are fantastic, giving the audience plenty of excitement, as Bourne climbs down walls and beats his way through security officers. All in all, this is a movie that everyone will like. It is the action highlight of 2002, with maybe the best chase scene in the history of film (and that includes the 1971 classic: "The French Connection") And, what makes this movie so much better than let's say "XXX," is that Damon is believable as the smart, witty Bourne and his action sequences are riddled in athletic ability, then an overdoing of special effects. This film is quite believable, which adds to its aura. Definitely check this movie out, by all means. Built on a strong novel, it's a smart film, with a great cast, beautiful cinematography, and nonstop action. The action of film of 2002: "The Bourne Identity."
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66 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2004
Okay, let me start out by saying I think the Bourne Identity is a great movie. One of my favorites. Needless to say, I already owned the DVD that was previously out. Then along comes the "EXPLOSIVE EXTENDED" edition. Awesome! I don't ever upgrade movies when an extended version comes out later, but, I had to make an exception this time. Well, never again.

I think we can all agree that when we hear the term "extended edition," that means that the movie itself is different-it's longer, has some added scenes, etc. Well, I'm afraid that's not the case here. What we get instead are an ending and beginning, (which you can tell by the quality of the film and the sound effects weren't even finished!!!!!) that add maybe a total of 5-6 minutes, and have to be accessed by selecting an icon WHILE YOU'RE WATCHING THE MOVIE!!! The movie then cuts to throw in the incomprehensible beginning scene (which may not work on all DVD players the warning said). At this point I said forget it, I'm just going to watch the theatrical version.

I have never felt so ripped off by a movie studio before. If you already have it, then by all means, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY. If you don't have it, well, get it because it's a great movie and go see the sequel courtesy of the studio with a free ticket.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
This film is loosely based upon Robert Ludlum's book "The Bourne Identity". It is not a faithful adaptation nor is it intended to be. The book was just a springboard for something a little different. Having read the book and loved it, I also really enjoyed this movie. They are both excellent. Each forges its own path and entertains in its own way.

The plot is simple, or so it seems. A man is found in the ocean with two bullets in his back. He is rescued by a trawler of Italian fishermen. When he regains total consciousness, he has no idea who he is or what he was doing that caused him to be floating in the ocean in the condition in which he had been. He shortly discovers his name to be Jason Bourne, and it appears that a great many people are trying to kill him, though for what purpose he has no idea.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) also discovers that he has some unusual gifts and automatic, instinctive responses in certain situations. It turns out that he is a natural "Bourne" killer (pun intended). Jason teams up with a German expatriate named Maria (Franka Potente), and together they run into some heavy duty action, as they run for their lives. Meanwhile, a team of CIA trained assassins, dispatched by Bourne's boss, a CIA honcho named Conklin (Chris Cooper), are hot on the plucky couple's trail. There are a number of stunts and action scenes that are guaranteed to make one's palms start to sweat.

Matt Damon, looking very buff, portrays Bourne as an intelligent, resourceful character with a core of goodness imbedded in his assassin's psyche. He is simply terrific. Franka Potente is good as the free spirited Maria, who is also resourceful and Jason's love interest in the film, though, quite frankly, very few sparks fly between them. Chris Cooper is excellent as Bourne's boss, Conklin. He is coldly efficient and brutal in his mop-up operation. Unlike Bourne, he lacks that core of goodness.

This is an action packed, inventive, spy thriller that will hold the viewer in its thrall. This film revives that genre of film that was beginning to get a little stale. Kudos to Damon for giving the viewer something fresh and entertaining in this genre. This is a film that is well worth having in one's personal collection.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2003
I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw "The Bourne Identity." Having never read the book or seen the TV miniseries, I knew little about the premise. In addition, I wasn't sure how well Matt Damon would do playing an action hero.
What I saw was an excellent movie with a great cast and terrific acting.
Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne, an amnesiac who knows his name only because it was on a passport he found with his picture on it. He doesn't know where he has been, where he lives, or what he does for a living. The only thing he knows is that he found a safety deposit box that belongs to him with tens of thousands of dollars of money, several more passports, and a gun. Oh yeah.... and people keep trying to kill him.
Although the movie starts a little on the slow side (which was necessary to set up the premise), once it gets started it keeps going with barely a chance to catch your breath.
Another reason to like this movie: the director did not mess it up by inserting a pointless and unneeded love sequence. Yes, you know the two main characters will get together at some point. However, once we see that they are going to get together, we don't see them going at it. No scenes of them falling into bed together, and no scenes of them waking up together the next morning. More movies need to comprehend the idea of less is more.
This DVD Collector's Edition also contains several great extras. One of my favorites is the alternate ending which was apparently filmed and then, wisely, scrapped. In addition, you can view four deleted scenes which had been, also wisely, scrapped, and an extended farmhouse scene. There is also a "Making Of" commentary in this section.
If you are a Matt Damon or an action fan, this is one movie that you are going to want to see.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2003
A man is found floating in the sea near death. He has been shot twice and has a laser implanted in his hip with the number of a Swiss bank account. He doesn't remember his name or who he is. Slowly however he discovers that he has skills. And oh boy does he have SKILLS.
The gist of the movie is described by others on this page so I will avoid repetition. However the reasons I like this movie are as follows:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne is cool calm and collected. I never would have pegged him for an action star but he carries his role admirably. You feel his confusion, his surprise and his disgust when he finds out who he is. He is also the calmest and most professional spy/protagonist I have seen in a long time.

The charaters modus operandii is refreshingly different. He reads a map to escape from a building, and values precision and speed over haste and unnessesary force (read hails of bullets).
The female lead (Franke Potente rocks) is a solid individual. Most Hollywood action female leads are as follows; Screaming Ninny, Brave Toughy, or Spunky Girl. Here we have none of that, she is afraid but overcomes it, listens to directions, accepts her mistakes and provides a refreshing counterpoint to Damons paranoid spy, sometimes solving problems more simply and clearly than he can.
The action sequences are fast moving and original with no unneccesary gunshots.
The car chase is physically possible.
Humor is sweet and not overdone.
Peripheral characters are fleshed out enough to be interesting but not too much to distract from the main story.
In a nutshell. I found this movie treated me like an intelligent viewer rather that following a formula but without becoming "arty" and trying too hard.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2005
I have been a fan of this movie since it first came out, so when they annouced a new EXPLOSIVE EXTENDED EDITION, I got real excited and couldn't wait to own it, now I do, and guess what? Really, really desapointed in this dvd.
The movie is still great of course, but the EXTENDED version is nothing to brag about... first of all, the actual deleted scenes which you can access on the special features menu of the original dvd and this version dvd, are not included in the EXTENDED VERSION... and the only 2 clips that are added, are a new begining and alternate ending. These last two new clips need to be accesed by pressing an icon which appears while the movie is playing, and the switch is cheaply done; lacking the original movies quality...
It would have been nice if the Extended version would have been made up without the PRESS THE ICON feature, and WHAT do they mean by EXPLOSIVE???? The only excitement and action is in the original movie.... nothing else.
This is a real rip off in my opinion. If you own the old version; stick with it... this new version is REALLY NOT WORTH IT!!!!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2003
Starring Matt Damon and Franka Potente, a beautiful German actress, The Bourne Identity is a huge success. Fraught with intense action scenes and rich character development, this movie resounds with the passion of a high speed thriller that will bear many viewings. I must admit to some trepidation about Matt Damon in an action role given his past roles, this trepidation doesn't bear out though, as he performs admirably in the role of a CIA assassin who has lost his memory.
The premise:
Jason Bourne is a CIA assassin who is found floating in the Mediterranean Sea by a fishing boat. He has two bullets in his back, an odd little laser device with a Zurich address and no memory as to who he is. After two weeks on the fishing boat, he heads for Zurich and the search to who he really is. Once he starts on this quest, he finds that he has some absolutely amazing skills and is almost immediately defending himself from being killed in several different ways. He is then fortunate enough to find Marie, who he pays to drive him to Paris. The quickly developed relationship between these two characters is quite beautifully filmed.
What ensues is clearly one of the best spy/action thrillers to come out in some time. This films action sequences will leave you exhausted and the plot line will enthrall you completely. If this is your type of genre, I highly recommend this film.
The Special features are also quite interesting; of note are the alternate ending and the "Making of" clips. {ssintrepid}
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2004
If you already own "The Bourne Identity" on DVD, you do NOT need to buy this extended version. There are only two additional scenes: a weak opening scene and a slightly alternate ending. The worst part about the two scenes is that they are still in the raw form: grainy with bad sound quality. It makes no sense to promote an "Extended Edition" and not finish/polish the two scenes. Univeral Studios really cheaped out on this one.
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