From the very 1st time I happen to by chance, to read a book named The Aquitaine Progression, by Robert Ludlum, I was not only fascinated by the writer’s all action, yet feasible style of writing, and plots, which although they come from a side of life most of us would have no experience of, were taken from real life, I became a fan of the author.
The main character at the centre of several of his books was a character named David Webb a.k.a. Jason Bourne. He was a fully trained C.I.A. operative, and basically a killing machine.
(His real name, David Webb is revealed in the early parts of the 1st book).
After an operation goes bad, Jason Bourne awakes with almost total amnesia of events leading up to the failed plot. This information, although completely different from the book, is enough to base the series of movies which launched Jason Bourne’s character into the spotlight.
After being rescued by fishermen, he finds himself in a position where he has to piece his life back together. He finds himself at odds with the C.I.A., who want him dead in order to cover their tracks.
In the books, Jason is portrayed very well as a highly trained, but mentally capable and in control( rare memory lapses apart) operative. He is also portrayed well, by the actor Matt Damon, ( who also happens to be one of my favourite actors). The action in the Bourne Identity movie is gritty, no nonsense, chase, evade and kill, without any ‘fluff’. The fact that it is set in Europe takes away the ‘Hollywood’ gloss, which would have never worked, in my opinion. The characters are real, the fighting is real, the killing is real.
When we move onto the next movie, The Bourne Supremacy, the characters remain, at least those who were not killed as part of the plot. The setting is similar, (Europe & Russia) and the plot and action continue in much the same way.
As the movie, and character are gaining more popularity among movie goers, thus the action starts to go slightly off track towards the end of the 2nd movie.
There is a car chase in which Bourne is chased by several Russian Police, who are trying to capture him for the C.I.A, and a paid assassin, who (obviously) is trying to kill him. Now I have never been a fan of Hollywood car chases which take chases to ‘stupidity’levels, and levels of ‘absurdity’ which can totally ruin good films, and also which treat the audiences like children (eg: Fast & Furious series), but the final car chase in the movie has had ‘Hollywood elements’ added to it. For whatever reasons I will leave you to speculate. This, I have to say is the reason why there is a difference between the 1st and 2nd movies. The 1st movie (as is usually the case) stays true to form, while the ‘added extras’ in the second, take the edge of it.
By the time we reach the 3rd movie in the now trilogy, we see Jason globe trotting from London to Spain to Algeria, and back to New York, as part of the plot. Once again the progression of characters is well integrated into the movie.
The Bourne character has retained all of the qualities which endeared him to fans in the beginning. This time he is chasing a lead about a journalist who uncovers information about Blackfriars, namely Treadstone, which were the names of the C.I.A. operations he was involved in. He meets the journalist, who is subsequently murdered, and this begins a new chase of Bourne by the agency. The action again culminates in a chase in which Bourne finds himself in New York trying to find the source of his training and subsequent deployment as an assassin. Again, the car chase has the ‘fluff’, as I like to call it, added to appeal to ‘Hollywood’ movie goers.
My advice to the director is ‘don’t deviate from the car chase in the 1st movie’ it was excellent, and most importantly, it was realistic.
This brings me on to the totally forgettable ‘ The Bourne Legacy’ which Matt Damon is not even in. The attempt by the director to try to add continuity without the main character was doomed to failure. Enough said!!
Fast forward 9 years and the original director was tempted back to make the latest, and possibly last in the series. The movie aptly named ‘Jason Bourne’ (probably to jerk the memory of fans who had forgotten about the series), was released in July of this year.
I have seen several trailers, and read numerous articles and reviews of the movie and I have decided for now, not to go and watch it. The fact the the character Bourne is now the ‘strong silent type’ who only utters 45 lines throughout the whole movie, plus a car chase down Las Vegas strip, in which the ‘Fast & Furious’, ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ and ‘XXX’ have all combined to provide us with a most ridiculous car chase scene, and a complete departure from the previous movies.
In these days of blockbuster box office, and gross takings,(what is so important about how much money a movie makes in its 1st weekend? In fact at all?) we are left at the mercy of directors who seem to ‘follow the money’ at certain points in their careers.
Risk taking I understand, but safety in box office numbers, to the detriment of good quality and reality, is something I will never go for.
In my opinion, Jason Bourne died after the Bourne Ultimatum, and should have never been resurrected.
R.I.P. Jason Bourne.