THE BOURNE IDENTITY injected a jolt of adrenaline into the action thriller world in 2002 with this headlong plunge into the who-am-I-and-how-can-I do-all-this? life of the unstoppable agent-gone-rogue ‘Jason Bourne’. Written by Tony Gilroy and William Blake Herron, its rocket-velocity script was loosely based on Robert Ludlum’s 1980 novel, 523 pages that began a trilogy, to which, after Ludlum died, Eric Van Lustbader added another eleven. Doug Liman directed at a fever pitch, and star Matt Damon, 31 at the time, credited the film and its sequels with rescuing his career.
Shot twice and left for dead in the Mediterranean Sea, found by fishermen who tend his wounds, a young American man (Damon) suffers from amnesia. Memory a blank but body recovered, his one clue leads to a safe deposit box in a Swiss bank. He finds it flush with alias-arranged passports and wads of cash. Though fluent in numerous languages he assumes the identity on a U.S. passport, Jason Bourne. What he finds out, in a blizzard of hand-to-hand battles and wildly reckless car chases, is that unsmiling people in powerful positions want him to cease breathing. But this mysterious jack-of-all-skills is harder to stop than Godzilla.
Location shot in France, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Spain and Switzerland. Bad guys are led by dead-serious agency overlords Chris Cooper and Brian Cox. Left-field help is provided by the most-welcome Franka Potente as ‘Marie’. John Powell does the rippling music score, Damon tackles most of his own stunt work, the fights are brutal, the pace unrelenting.
In on the hunt are Clive Owen, Julia Stiles and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. In the command center look for Walton Goggins. 121 minutes that cost $60,000,000 brought back $121,662,000 in the States and Canada (21st place) with $92,263,000 elsewhere. 007 was on notice and somewhere in the distance a dude named Wick was poised to get pissed.