[Trilogy Thursday] The Bourne series

Hi, gang. Max and I have teamed up again for another edition of Trilogy Thursday. This week it is the Bourne series, starring Matt Damon as the man himself, Jason Bourne. If you’ve seen all or just one of the series, leave a comment and let’s get chatting!

The Bourne Identity

Claire Minis. The use of Minis in a chase scene through the streets of Paris is just one of the many reasons that I like The Bourne Identity so much. Released in 2002 and directed by Doug Liman, The Bourne Identity follows Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) as he recovers from amnesia and tries to establish who and what he is.

Fast-paced with an intricate plot, Identity brought to life a new brand of movie spies. It sucked you into the world of Bourne, Treadstone and the CIA, and you are right there with Bourne as he struggles to understand his past before he then starts to realise why he can speak fluent German and why he instinctively knows how to defend himself from attackers. Bourne is a very smart guy and Identity is a very, very smart film.

Max Who knew Matt Damon could be an action star? There were glimpses he could hold his own in action movies, but The Bourne Identity is on a different level. Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne, a military weapon that has malfunctioned. Not understanding why he has super human strength and intelligence due to amnesia, Bourne is on a mission to find the answers to his past.

The way Bourne effortlessly takes down his challengers is still copied today, most notably by James Bond, because of just how well it works. Nothing is left in the background except the crunching of bones and the breaking of glass. The Bourne Identity also features one of the best car chase sequences in history. Probably the highlight in the entire series, it was awesome watching that Mini pulling off all that action. The Bourne Identity also manages to end on a note that makes it a complete movie if the franchise didn’t take off. After that outing of course it was going to take off.

The Bourne Supremacy

Claire Two years later, both in real life and in the Bourne world, the story continued with The Bourne Supremacy. Paul Greengrass took the directing helm as we found out what happened to Bourne after he quit Treadstone. As Bourne was to find out, you cannot simply leave the Treadstone organisation and expect to be free from it…

Supremacy carries on where Identity finished, and is much of the same: the Bourne world is still as slick, intricate and exciting as it was before. The stunts, including more fantastic car chases, are excellent and Bourne has a new sparring partner in the former of Kirill (Karl Urban), a Russian FSB agent. Kirill isn’t the only new character, however. A host of other fascinating and devious characters make an appearance as Bourne delves deeper into the world of Treadstone.

Max I’ve seen The Bourne Supremacy before, but it just isn’t as memorable as the other two films. While Jason Bourne has been able to stay in hiding for two years, there are agents who still want him dead. Now, Jason Bourne has a renewed interest in the operation he worked in and revenge on his mind.

A new lead villain is introduced as the true mastermind behind Operation Treadstone and Bourne learns about the first mission he ever succeeded in. Finding more information about his background along the way, The Bourne Supremacy feels like a middle film and suffers for it.

The Bourne Ultimatum

Claire Greengrass returned to the helm once more for Ultimatum, which sees Bourne as he continues to seek revenge. Along the way he meets a newspaper journalist who has uncovered information about another operation, Operation Blackbriar, which is an upgrade to Treadstone.

As the plot thickens further, and yet more characters are introduced, its clear that the world we saw in Identity had barely scratched the surface. Ultimatum is exactly that – the ultimate part in Bourne’s story, and the final conclusion to the Treadstone saga. With a clever plot twist part way through the film, the final part of the trilogy remains as exciting and intricate as the other parts. And, as always, excellent acted with fantastic action sequences.

Max Believe it or not this was the first Bourne movie I saw. Considering how vital the storyline is, it was quite hard jumping into the universe at that point. The film was reviewing far too well for me to pass on it, so I finally saw a Bourne film. Paul Greengrass is known for his hand-cam action and it gives this Bourne installment a raw feeling. Needless to say I was entranced by the action.

Parkour was becoming the hot thing to emulate in Hollywood at the time and it shows as Jason Bourne is running on the roofs of buildings in Tangier. Of course this film fully answers the questions behind Jason Bourne and successfully ends the franchise with quality. I love how they used the Moby song ‘Extreme Ways’ as the ending for all three films. Really tied them together.

Final thoughts

Claire It’s hard to single out just one film as, for me, this is another consistently good trilogy. Visually, Damon suits Bourne very well. In the nicest possible way, he doesn’t stand out: you wouldn’t particularly notice him walking down the street, and you wouldn’t know that he was a black ops agent. However, that’s what would make him the perfect agent.

I’m going to go with Identity, however, as it was such an excellent introduction to the Bourne world. And, though this may sound incredibly blonde, I enjoyed it all the more because I could actually follow it, even though the plot does get quite complicated.

Max The Bourne series is America’s answer to Britain’s James Bond. Featuring Matt Damon as a no holds barred operative and leading ladies that are mostly convincing, the Bourne Series had a lot going for it. All the way down to the actors who appeared as villains or co-stars.

While I do probably enjoy The Bourne Ultimatium the best, I can understand why The Bourne Identity is the most loved. It introduced the world to that character. For me it’s because Clive Owen plays a villain. It’s really odd seeing him in such a minor role. I highly recommend the Bourne series for a solid trilogy of action movies.

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20 thoughts on “[Trilogy Thursday] The Bourne series”

  1. Daniel Craig’s Bond definitely copies Bourne in style, but even in Dr No 007 had to think on his feet with no gadget back up!

    I think Supremacy is my favourite, but I’m probably biased because I lived in Berlin for two years, and so it is great seeing Bourne tear the place up! Claire I assume you notice in Supremacy that Bourne kills Celeborn at the start and Eomer at the end?

    All great films, and I should really watch them again soon. Great review guys.

    1. Thanks, Russ. It’s always more fun when you see the place you live/have lived on TV or in a film, isn’t it?

      Haha, I loved Eomer in this film! Karl Urban made a fantastic agent. Off the top of my head I can’t think of Celeborn being in it… Time for a rewatch!

  2. I watched all 3 back to back in the cinema and it was a delight! I’d only seen the last one before, was very taken with it (had rather poopooed the hype as just hype) and so when the trilogy in on bash came up I went for it. Pretty wrung out at the end though and fell asleep on the train home and nearly missed my stop!

  3. Excellent look at this series, Max and Claire. The Robert Ludlum novel, likely the author’s most popular in his career of writing espionage fiction, was a great one for its time. No one had seen a story like this portrayed before. Chiefly, screenwriter Tony Gilroy helped to provide a wonderful adaptation (along with bringing it up to current times). The irony is each of the films in the series are quality efforts (and only get better as one moves through the line) while Ludlum’s three books went downhill after the first. Well done, folks.

  4. Yay, another awesome pick, guys! I love the Bourne movies, they actually made me like Damon as I was sort of meh about him. I do love that mini, and that chase scene is just bad ass!

    “Who knew Matt Damon could be an action star?” Ahah, that’s what I thought too but glad he rose to the occasion and gave a really compelling performance.

    I REALLY like Clive Owen’s character, he’s barely got any lines but he’s just got this cool, menacing look about him. That last scene was excellently-done as well. I also have a soft spot for Karl Urban and again, that killer car chase scene, wow!

    1. Why thank you, Ruth 😀

      While each film follows the same basic revenge/finding out about the past element they are all still unique. You can also distinguish what happens in which film easily, something that is not always in the case in other trilogies and series.

  5. I love these three films – while I was sick a few years ago I watched all three in a row, and was amazed at just how well they kept the characters and story together – the line Clive Owen says in film one is repeated by Damon in the third etc etc. I still think the second one is the bomb, that car chase rocks it.

    1. The more I think about it the more watching the films back to back sounds like a good idea! Continuity is very important in every film but none more so in trilogies or series, I think. I hate bad continuity!

  6. Excellent overview of the trilogy Claire. I totally agree that it’s hard to distinguish one movie over another. The three are extremely even and consistent in all aspects. I think my favorite is The Bourne Ultimatum though, it’s the most hard-hitting of the bunch!

  7. I commented on Max’s site but I would also like it add on here just how much I love this post! (and the Toy Story one).

    Keep it up guys 😀

  8. another great trilogy post Claire and Max! Love this trilogy and I agree with you both. Claire- it is hard to differentiate which one is my favorite of the three, but Max- the first one is the most loved in my book as well.

    If I had to choose an order of preference, I think it would once again be 1,3,2 for me!

    1. I’m sensing a trend here, T! I’d go for 1, 3, 2 as well.

      After writing this post and seeing the trailer for The Bourne Legacy my love for the Bourne series has well and truly been reignited 😀

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