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JLFM's Movie Reviews (152)

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Bourne Identity, The (2002) 
Overrated, but entertaining action flick
3/4 stars

Though it's not quite the incredible film critics were making it out to be, The Bourne Identity manages to entertain the whole way through, and it's hard to imagine someone being bored during the film.

A body of a man is found floating in the ocean. This man has no idea who he is, who he was, or anything about his past. His ability to speak many different languages and provide detailed summaries about surroundings and people by just glancing at them suggests he was part of something big. Turns out, his name is Jason Bourne. And he's an assassin, and a good one. But now, he's on the run with the girl, in order to figure out more about his past, and not die.

As I watched the film, I was constantly reminded of another action film I saw recently: The Fugitive. The Fugitive was a 90's film with Harrison Ford, who plays a man named Richard Kimble, falsely charged with the murder of his beloved wife. He escapes prison, and is on the lam.

There are many reasons why The Fugitive is better than The Bourne Identity. For one, The Fugitive is more emotionally involving. We care about Dr. Kimble, and we feel his loss. The Bourne Identity offers no reason for us to care about any of the characters, so it's hard to root for either side.

Also, The Fugitive is much more frantic. Dr. Kimble's race from the cops never really stops until the very end. Jason Bourne stops every so often, as if to take a breather from the action. We don't feel the thrill with The Bourne Identity, like we did with The Fugitive (and the generic chase scenes don't help).

The film lacks smarts as well. The Fugitive was a nice little mystery alongside an action movie, but The Bourne Identity requires little thinking. We learn Jason Bourne's main role within half an hour.

But The Bourne Identity isn't as bad as I'm making it out to be. There's lots of action. Maybe even more so than The Fugitive. There's gun fights, and fist fights. There's some exciting (and somewhat unrealistic) escape scenes as well.

The film also benefits from a solid cast. Never for a minute will you question a lack of quality in the performances. Matt Damon provides a frustrated man who lost his memory. Franka Potente acts convincingly as an even more confused and worried Marie Kreutz, who wants nothing more then to get out of this mess. The rest of the cast is equally strong.

I usually don't comment about the score in action films because they're usually very run-of-the-mill. This one was a little bit better than that, but the over-powering drums keep me from praising it too much.

The main flaw with The Bourne Identity, however, was it's lack of a final fight. No cinematic duel to the death. In The Fugitive, we had a manic fight/hide-and-seek/out wit game going, that was heart-pounding. We get no such thing in The Bourne Identity, which surprised me, considering the fact that this was in fact, a movie about action.

The Bourne Identity is perfect for teenage boys. It's fun, it's got some good action scenes, and a strong cast. It entertains from start to finish. It does suffer from problems though, such as a lack of thrill, no cinematic duel, and no need to think. But in the end, good outweighs the bad, and I'm ready for the sequel.


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