So when I first hear about this movie, I did the thing I normally do when a movie based on a book comes out, I went to read the book first. Unfortunately, it took me forever to read the book. I don’t know why, but every time I tried to read it it would put me to sleep. Putting my efforts to read the book to the side, I didn’t get a chance to see The Bourne Identity when it was in theaters nor did I immediately rent it when it came out on DVD. My first time watching it was actually watching about a third of it on TV one day. This prompted me to end up renting it and eventually, buy a box set containing the first three movies in the set.
The plot: In the Mediterranean Sea, a n Italian fishing boat is out at sea during a storm when they see an unconscious man floating in the water and rescue him. As they bring him into the cabin, the ship’s captain discovers two bullet wounds in the man and as he tends to the wounds, he finds a strange capsule in the man’s hip and removes that as well, discovering that it contains an account number for a bank in Zurich. Suddenly, the man regains consciousness and attacks the doctor but as the doctor explains that they found him and asks his name, the man can’t remember who he is. Elsewhere, a CIA agent working for a black ops program known as Operation Treadstone, tells the program’s director, Alexander Conklin, that their mission had failed. Back on the boat, the amnesiac man finds that he can remember how to do some things, like tie knots and speak several languages, but still doesn’t remember who he is. When the boat arrives in Italy, the captain gives the amnesiac some money that will enable him to get to Switzerland and wishes him luck on his journey. When he gets to Switzerland, the amnesiac ends up being harassed by some police when he is found sleeping in a park but when they go to arrest him, he instinctively grabs their batons and knocks them out, then gets freaked out by what he did and quickly runs away. Meanwhile, Nykwana Wombosi, an exiled African dictator, is giving an interview in Paris, France claiming to have survived an assassination attempts. In CIA Headquarters in Langley, the director is telling his deputy directors about Wombosi’s claim and that he wants them to put him back into power or else he will tell the world that they were behind the attempt. After the meeting is dispersed, Deputy Director Ward Abbott meets with Conklin to find out what happened and is upset that he didn’t tell him that their asset has disappeared until now. Back in Switzerland, the amnesiac heads to the bank when it opens and after giving them the account number listed in the chip, he is led to a high security safety deposit box. After the box is taken to a secure viewing room, the man finds a passport with the name Jason Bourne on it, as well as several other items. Noticing a second layer to the box, he pulls out the top part and finds a large quantity of money, several more passports with different names on them, and a gun. Deciding to take the passport saying he is Jason Bourne, Bourne, grabs all the money and everything else in the safety deposit box, leaving the gun inside, then leaves the bank, unaware that the bank manager is making a phone call to Treadstone about Bourne. Bourne makes a phone call to Paris, trying to ensure that he does live at the address listed on the passport but when he notices that the police seem to be taking an interest in him, he hangs up and quickly leaves, with some police officers following him. Bourne uses his passport to head into the American consulate but when he changes his mind about his plan and goes to leave, he is detained by the guards. Bourne quickly subdues the three guards that try to capture him, then attempts to leave the building, grabbing a guards radio so he can keep tabs on their attempts at capturing him. Bourne makes his way up to the roof and after avoiding being detected, he climbs down the wall and grabs the bag that he dropped. Bourne heads down an alley and notices Marie Kreutz, a German woman that had been at the consulate when Bourne was there, and offers her $10,000 to drive him to Paris and she refuses initially but, needing the money, she agrees to drive him. Meanwhile, Treadstone is busy confirming that Bourne is still alive and when they see the picture from a video camera and hear the report about the consulate, Conklin orders several of their assets, Castel, Manheim, and the Professor, to be activated and sent after Bourne. They eventually spot where Bourne had met up with Marie in the alley and after getting Marie’s information, they send that to Nicky Parsons, a handler in Paris, so she can send their pictures to the authorities so they can be detained. Back in Europe, Bourne tells Marie about his amnesia and the weird things he does know and she doesn’t quite believe him but continues to drive him to Paris. When they arrive at the address on Bourne’s passport, Bourne pays her the rest of the money he promised but Marie, having become interested in Bourne, doesn’t want to leave just yet and Bourne invites her inside. When they ring the doorbell, the housekeeper for the building happily greets Bourne and lets him in and they head upstairs to his unit. Inside, they both look around his place before Marie asks to use the bathroom. As she is gone, Bourne hits the redial on his phone and when he gets the hotel, asks for Jason Bourne and when they have no record of him, he asks for John Michael Kane, one of the names that was on another passport. He is told that Kane had died 2 weeks ago and he starts to get paranoid, searching the house after grabbing a knife from the kitchen. When Marie exits the bathroom, he drops the knife behind a doorway, out of her sight, but as they talk, they are suddenly attacked by Castel. Bourne defends himself and manages to disable Castel and he throws Marie Castel’s bag and has her go through it while he questions Castel. When Marie finds pictures of them from the consulate, she freaks out and starts yelling at Castel about how he got her picture and as Bourne tends to her, Castel jumps out the window, killing himself. Bourne helps Marie outside, as she has gone into shock, and after driving away from the scene, they head to the bus station, where Bourne heads inside to hide the bulk of the money. When he returns to the car, he finds Marie had left but soon sees her returning from the shop she had gone into. As he tries to tell her to go to the police and get away from him, as it would be safer for her to get away from him, he notices the police approaching them and asks her one more time to leave but she buckles her seatbelt, choosing to stay with him. Bourne begins driving and after causing several cops to crash, manages to eventually lose the police, then they quickly leave the car. Meanwhile, Wombosi goes to the Paris morgue to look at the body of Kane, who was the person that had attempted to assassinate him, but when he examines the body, he says it is not the same person as the body was not shot. Later, Nicky contacts Conklin and tells him that Wombosi wasn’t fooled so Conklin orders the Professor to kill Wombosi. Later, Abbott confronts Conklin about Wombosi’s murder but Conklin blames Bourne for the assassination and says that with the mission completed, he should be checking in within 24 hours, Meanwhile, Bourne helps Marie to dye her hair and afterwards, they end up having sex. The next day, Bourne has Marie help him get some information from the hotel that Kane was staying at and after she gets him the phone records, he begins calling people that Kane had called, eventually getting a meeting at one of the companies. When he goes to the meeting, Bourne is shocked to find that they know him as Kane. As Bourne tells Marie what he learned, she tells him that she found Kane in the morgue and they head there to examine the body only to find that it has been taken already, claimed by Kane’s “brother”. Bourne grabs the register and learns that Wombosi had gone to see the body but when they go to Wombosi’s place, theylearn about his assassination. Bourne and Marie head back to their hotel but when Bourne notices the police heading towards them, he has the cab driver pull over and tells Marie that they have to leave. Learning that the police are looking for them, Marie wants to get away from Bourne but he tells her he will take her wherever she wants to go and she won’t have to see him again but for now, they have to stick together. Back in Langley, Abbott confronts Conklin about Bourne’s not coming in yet and Conklin tells him he will take of things. Conklin then decides to have his men search Marie’s past and figure out anyone she might go to for help in the hopes of finding Bourne. Marie tries contacting an old friend of hers but when she gets no answer, she has Bourne drive her there, thinking it would be empty and they could hide there. When they get there, they find evidence that her friend is there and Bourne wants to leave but her friend shows up and they are forced to bluff and stay the night. Meanwhile, Conklin’s men are able to trace Marie’s call and figure out where she is going and give the information to the Professor so he can kill Bourne. The next day, Bourne and Marie are getting ready to leave but when her friend’s kids say their dog is missing, Bourne realizes that an assassin is there for them and tells everyone to hide in the basement. Bourne grabs a shotgun from a shelf and heads out, shooting a fuel supply in order to mask his movements from the Professor. Bourne is able to get the drop on the Professor and starts questioning him, learning about Treadstone before the Professor dies. Marie’s friend is getting ready to leave and Bourne give Marie some money so she can leave with them and start a new life somewhere where she will be safe. After they leave, Bourne goes through the Professor’s things and when he finds a phone, he calls the number programmed in it, eventually getting connected to Conklin. Conklin tells Bourne to come in but Bourne knows he will try to kill him again and instead tells him to meet him in Paris that afternoon and to come alone. Bourne heads to the meeting point early and observes it from a nearby rooftop. He sees Conklin arrive but since he sees Conklin’s team with him, he calls Conklin and tells him that since he didn’t come alone, he was leaving, then places a tracking device on Conklin’s car. Conklin tells Nicky to begin deleting all the files and computers at the office and heads over there. As they finish cleaning out the place, Bourne creates a distraction that allows him to sneak in, disabling their security systems as he does. Conklin grabs a gun and starts looking for Bourne but Bourne gets the drop on him and has him drop his gun. As Bourne tries to get answers from Conklin about what Treadstone is, Conklin tries to find out what happened with the mission involving Wombosi. As Conlin lists what Bourne had told him about his plan, Bourne suddenly remembers his attempt on Wombosi and how he couldn’t bring himself to kill him as his kids where there with him. Bourne tells Conklin that Jason Bourne is dead and if he sees anyone coming after him, he will bring everything about Treadstone to light. Suddenly, Bourne notices that Conklin’s radio was live and he knocks Conklin out, then takes out the guards before walking away. Conklin leaves the building shortly after Bourne and ends up being gunned down by Manheim, who had been ordered to kill Conklin by Abbott, then Abbott orders Treadstone to be shut down. Some time later, Abbott is testifying before a Congressional panel about Treadstone and after successfully telling them that it had been shut down, he then starts telling them about a new project called Black Briar. Elsewhere, Marie has opened up a scooter rental shop on Mykonos and when Bourne shows up at her shop, she smiles before rushing over and hugging him.
The Bourne Identity met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Expertly blending genre formula with bursts of unexpected wit, The Bourne Identity is an action thriller that delivers — and then some.” The movie was a box office success, earning $214 million off of a $60 million budget and would go on to spawn 4 sequels. While it is not the only movie to share plot points with the Bourne series of books, The Bourne Identity is the only movie in the series to remotely resemble the plot of the book of which it was named, as 2016’s Jason Bourne shared some plot points with “The Bourne Supremacy”.
Yes, it differs from the book but this is still a good movie on it’s own merit. The acting was good, with Matt Damon doing a great job as Jason Bourne. Franka Potente and Chris Cooper did great jobs in their roles as Marie and Conklin respectively and I also liked Brian Cox (Abbott), Julia Stiles (Nicky), and Clive Owen (The Professor), though their roles were limited. The story was pretty good, with the differences in the plot between the movie and the book making for a more straightforward story without dealing with the somewhat complex plot point involving “The Jackal”. The action scenes, such as the fights and the chase scene in Paris, were very well done and definitely added to the excitement without detracting away from the suspense of the story. All in all, this was a great movie and definitely helped introduce a new action hero to the silver screen.
Rating: 4 out of 5