The Bourne Identity
Director: Doug Liman
Year: 2002
TRT: 1:59

Reviewed: 1/26/03

This is a slightly better than average spy/chase type of film that doesn't resort to an effects-driven Bond film. It has some decent action sequences to it and the plot is a bit involving. It actually is a good role for Matt Damon, who plays the amnesiac government agent trying to recover his memory. Unfortunately there's something too ambiguous about his character that makes him come off a bit too removed. The movie is more about the mystery he has to solve of his identity while being hunted by unknown assailants, which the viewer knows due to the cuts back and forth to the agency that spawned him. There is also the love interest that he hooks up with right away, which is accomplished pretty well considering the extenuating circumstances with a good performance put in by German actress Franka Potente (Run, Lola. Run).

This is pretty much a standard Hollywood type of spy movie, though it relies more on brain than brawn. I'm not really spoiling anything by saying that it wraps up pretty much as expected. The movie is based on a Robert Ludlum book that from what I've heard is much better than how this movie plays out. How come I'm not surprised? But I can't say for sure since I haven't read the book myself. If you're looking for some nice "lite" spy fair, without the dated cheekiness of 007 or over-the-top action of XXX, this is a decent movie to rent. Otherwise you may just want to hold off a bit longer til it hits the cable circuit and see it then.

Media Notes: The Universal DVD has a couple of extras, with some deleted scenes that were cut for a good reason, including an alternate ending that was just too "perfect." There's the obligatory promotional "making of" that doesn't shed much extra info besides just replaying scenes from the movie itself, a video by Moby with the music he did for the credits, and of course a director commentary that isn't too bad. The thing that caught my eye was the "Total Axess" DVD-ROM portion that, alas, due to my running it on a Mac, I couldn't "axess," the pukes!

One additional note is when starting the movie, you are hit with a trailer. Normally I find this pretty annoying, but it's for a movie called "Johnny English," a James Bond spoof with the starring role being played by Rowan Atkinson (aka Mr. Bean). I'm sure it will be pretty dumb, but with his unique brand of expressions and physical comedy, well, we'll just have to see how it pans out on the dmr.


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