The Bourne Identity

Bomb Rating: 

Li'l Matt Damon and Franka ("Run, Lola, Run") Potente tool around the European countryside in a Mini of all things. I really have to question a guy's manhood if he's letting himself be seen in a Mini. A normal-sized guy can't even fit in one of those cars. How tall is Li'l Matt anyway? 5' 2"? I must admit, I own a Mini, but I use it to tow my cache of shotguns and Viagra while I go four-wheelin' in my Ford Expedition.

And li'l Matt is supposed to be some kind of super spy? He plays Jason Bourne, found floating at sea with two gunshot wounds in his back and no memory of who he is. With the help of Marie (Franka Potente), he starts piecing things together. Why Marie decides to help him, I'll never know. Oh, sure, he gives her ten thousand dollars, but when guys are coming out of the woodwork trying to tear you limb from limb, is ten grand really incentive? You suspect Marie knows full well she's going to survive to the end of the film because Bourne will have fallen in love with her by then and will need someplace to go in the last scene.

Bourne is part of some secret government spy experiment and there are others like him, seemingly programmed to kill. This project is run by Ted Conklin (Chris Cooper) and overseen by Ward Abbott (Brian Cox), a whiny political type who mainly stands around asking Ted why things aren't going well. It appears that Bourne and the other spies are equipped with all kinds of weapons and techniques, yet Ted and the other spy designers forget the one crucial oversight that's plagued every designer of cyborgs, proto-cyborgs or bionic super spies in the history of film -- an off switch.

Despite Bourne's vast knowledge of martial arts and Damon's public insistence that he spent months and months training, director Doug ("Go") Liman still adheres to that tired technique of shaking the camera all over the place during any fight scene and then editing the result like a monkey with epilepsy. And what is Julia Stiles doing in this film? She plays a Paris operative who primarily sits alone in a small room and answers the phone. The only purpose her character serves is to give Conklin someplace to go at the end of the film. Couldn't they get somebody for the role who would evoke an audience reaction other than, "What is Julia Stiles doing in this film?"

What really flushes the film down the toilet is the reason Bourne flips out on his mission to assassinate a pesky political enemy. One presumes Bourne has killed quite the number of people, but he suddenly develops a moral dilemma as he sights his target because the guy has his kids in the room. Don't they give you some sort of a test at super assassin school to avoid these sorts of mishaps? One has to figure that if the target had been playing with his kids and a puppy and perhaps a bunny or two, Bourne would have just shot himself.

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