A man is picked up by a fishing boat with no memory of who he is and
must unravel the mystery of his identity while avoiding CIA assassins.
The Bourne Identity (2002)
Directed by Doug Liman
Written by Tony Gilroy and W. Blake Herron
Starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper,
Clive Owen, Brian Cox, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje,
Gabriel Mann, Tim Dutton, Julia Stiles
Based on the novel by Robert Ludlum
From the beginning, the Bourne franchise has always targeted a more intelligent audience who doesn't need to be spoonfed every detail. They also build on one another, with each film providing yet another piece of the puzzle of Jason Bourne. Because of this, it's not easy for these films to stand on their own, as is the case for The Bourne Identity, the first film in the ongoing franchise. As far as action thrillers go, it's an enjoyable film. It's just not built to be one movie and thus ends abruptly with more questions than answers.
I doubt that when Matt Damon signed on to play the eponymous assassin that he knew it would be the role he would always be known for. He excels in the role, delivering some solid fight scenes while at the same time acting somewhat vulnerable because of his amnesia. Though the supporting cast is good, it's tough to differentiate between who's in charge. Also, I wish the film had spent more time on the killers sent after Bourne. They were arguably the most interesting part of the film. The real star of this film (and the rest of the franchise) are the badass action sequences, including numerous fight scenes and an impressive car chase.
As I said before, these films need to be viewed all together in order to make the most sense. This first installment sets the stage for a unique and entertaining espionage series that unravels the mystery of one of cinema's most dangerous operatives, Jason Bourne. As one film, it's not bad, but in the scope of the whole series, it doesn't hold a candle to the highly superior second and third installments. Hopefully, the new film brings something new to the table.