Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Bourne Trilogy (2002-07)

Directors: Doug Liman, Paul Greengrass
Writers:    Tony Gilroy, William Blake Heron, Scott Z. Burns, George Nolfi
Cast:         Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, Clive Owen, Karl Urban, Edgar Ramirez, David Strathairn, Paddy Considine

Loose adaptation of Robert Ludlum's action.thriller spy series based on the character Jason Bourne, a CIA assassin suffering from extreme memory loss.

I decided to watch them again after having acquired 720p files of all the three films. I think this was my fourth or fifth time watch of what is essentially the best action films franchise. The impact of it was such that the James Bond films with Daniel Craig were also forced to make a turn to have more realistic action sequences and solid stories instead of lame gadgets and CGIs. Still none of the three Craig films-Casino Royale, QoS or Skyfall comes anywhere close to the level of any of the Bourne films (I don't consider Legacy as a Bourne film). Even the product placements are miles better in the Bourne films whereas in Casino Royale it stood out like a sore thumb (Reminded me of malayalam films 'Nerariyan CBI). 

Enough with the comparison to Bond films. The first film 'The Bourne Identity' was directed by Doug Liman (Go, Swingers) who many considered as an odd choice. It is the most story/character driven out of the three and the Franka Potente character gives some emotion to the film when all other characters in the films are coldhearted. The three set-pieces come at equal intervals with the car chase using the 'MINI' through the streets of Paris set to Paul Oakenfold's 'Ready Steady Go' being the highlight. 

In the second film 'The Bourne Supremacy', Bourne is motivated by revenge and guilt as he comes back to Europe after his girlfriend is killed in India. It is directed by Paul Greengrass with his trademark shaky camera technique which suits very well for this kind of action films. That said some where put off by it. In terms of balance between the action sequences and the story this film is the best out of the three and probably my favorite as well. It was also good to hear some Malayalam in the background during the Goa bridge scene.

In the third film 'The Bourne Identiy', again directed by Greengrass, the motivation of Bourne is kind of flimsy and it acts merely as a tool to get him to do the action set-pieces. It is the most action oriented out of the three and the best logical point for the creators to end the franchise with Bourne having retraced his steps back to the training place. In between Supremacy and Ultimatum Greengrass managed to direct United 93 as well.

It was lovely to see the nods to L'avventura (Italian Boat's name in Identity) and Berlin-Alexanderpatz (Tram in Suporemacy). The closing credits are done very well with Moby's Extreme Ways. In all three I was left with the same grin that Stiles had in Ultimatum.

Trivia: Bourne never smiles in Supremacy and Ultimatum.

Rating: Trilogy: 5/5
The Bourne Identity:5/5
The Bourne Supremacy:5/5
The Bourne Ultimatum:4/5