The fifth Bourne movie opened this weekend to average reviews and a big box office opening. It’s been 14 years since Matt Damon first appeared on screen as bad ass spy Jason Bourne. Today’s Sunday Matinee is first in the series, 2002’s The Bourne Identity.
The Bourne Identity was based on a 1980 novel by Robert Ludlum. The book was adapted into a three hour movie in 1988 starring Richard Chamberlain as Jason Bourne. That movie followed the novel fairly faithfully. The original novel had a man (Jason Bourne) who is found wounded in the water with amnesia. He tries to piece his identity back together with the help of a Canadian economist named Marie (Jaclyn Smith). It turns out that Bourne is a spy and assassin and he was trying to kill the infamous Carlos the Jackal. The 2002 movie changed several things mostly because of the Cold War and eliminating the real life Carlos from the story which kind of dates the story.
The 2002 movie has Bourne injured the same way but instead of having Carlos trying to kill Bourne, the emphasis is switched to Bourne’s old bosses the CIA. Bourne was supposed to kill an exiled African dictator but failed. Instead of Marie being Canadian she’s switched to German and Franka Potente stars as her. Marie still helps Bourne try to uncover his identity. Many thrilling car chases, fist fights and gun fights ensues as Bourne tries to figure out who he is and why everyone seems to be trying to kill him.
The movie was directed by Doug Liman who had directed two indy movies, Swingers and Go at that point in his career. The movie was big hit and it’s a thrilling, fast paced ride. Tony Gilroy wrote the screenplay and would write the next three Bourne movies and direct The Bourne Legacy. Liman didn’t return to the franchise instead director Paul Greengrass took over directing the next two, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum and the latest Jason Bourne. The success of this film kicked off the franchise and eventually forced the James Bond producers to up their game and revamp Bond into a little more serious of a spy when Daniel Craig took over as Bond in 2006.