The Bourne Identity on DVD
This is one ripping yarn!
Matt Damon stars as, well, we arent sure who he stars as
when the movie begins. We first see him floating in the sea as if dead, with
two bullets in his back.
But you cant keep a good man down and the movie needs to be
longer than five minutes - and as it turns out the bullet wounds are
Damons characters least concern: hes also suffering from
amnesia and remembers nothing about who he is or how he happened to be where he
is. The only clue he has is a bank account number embedded in his hip (a pretty
hip idea, that!), so he heads for Zurich to see what that account will tell
Along the way there - and at just about every step through the
rest of the movie - hes attacked apparently without reason and because of
that he also discovers that hes death on two legs, a human killing
machine whether using his hands or whatever other weapon happens to be at hand.
The Swiss bank holds a safety deposit box in which theres a
pile of money and multiple identifications. He chooses one (which happens to be
the correct one) and starts heading to where that ID tells him is home:
But how do you get there when it seems that every law enforcement
agency (among others) is trying to kill you? He hires a pretty girl (Franka
Potente) to drive him to Paris in her Austin Mini (a real one, too, not that
new pretender from BMW), which is about as nondescript as you can get.
Meanwhile, the audience finds out that Bourne is really a US
government assassin and, since hes out of contact with them due to his
amnesia, his bosses think hes gone renegade and send more agents after
him to ensure the next time hes found floating hes really dead.
This movie is a real mind game, full of almost non stop action, a
great car chase scene, and a lead character who, despite his brutal past, is
clearly a guy you can like. And now that hes lost his mental baggage,
hes determined to be a decent guy - if only all those people chasing him
would give him a chance.
Adapted from Robert Ludlum's bestseller, The Bourne Identity
starts off with a bang (figuratively at least) and never slows down longer than
it takes the audience to catch its breath.
There are plenty of interesting plot twists, some lovely
locations, and about as much violence as one could want - and yet while it's
realistic its never really gratuitous.
Director Doug Liman does a great job here, crafting a film
thats long on detail and character, yet never cerebral or preachy - and
with surprising humor thrown in along the way. Damon is very good as Bourne (do
we sense a franchise here?), with enough physical presence to make his derring
do believable, yet seasoned with enough humanity to also make his trained
assassin human and vulnerable rather than just an unemotional robot. Its
an interesting tightrope and Damon walks it well.
Potente is also very good as Marie, the love interest
who starts off as a convenient paid chauffeur and ends up on the run, tarred by
the same brush as Bourne.
The DVD is excellent, with one exception: it's available,
separately unfortunately, in anamorphic widescreen and Pan&Scan versions
under different cover. We recommend the widescreen one, which is what we
received, for long term enjoyment. The picture quality is very good, indeed.
The images are sharp, colors are bright and rich.
Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround or DTS (hooray for the
choice!) and is also excellent. Theres good use of surround and the
fidelity is such that you may be tempted to duck when some of the ordnance goes
off around you.
You also get plenty of extras, including a feature commentary by
director Doug Liman, and a decent production essay inside the box. Theres
also an alternate ending (which is terribly warm and fuzzy and was rightly
deleted), some other deleted scenes, the Making of The Bourne
Identity, Total Access DVD ROM features, a music video by Moby.
One thing we dont like is a new trend by Universal to stick
coming attractions at the beginning of the feature, like trailers in a movie
theater. Fortunately, you can skip past them (theyre also accessible via
the menu), but when we hit Play Movie from the menu we want to go
directly to the movie, not to trailers.
We really enjoyed The Bourne Identity and welcome good
sequels. If they can keep up the quality, we think James Bond has some
The Bourne Identity, from Universal Home Video
119 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 TV compatible/ Pan&Scan
(Sold Separately), Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Surround
Starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen
Produced by Doug Liman, Patrick Cowley, Richard N. Gladstein,
Written by Tony Gilroy and William Blake Herron,
Directed by Doug Liman
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