The Bourne Identity with Matt DamonThe movie about the assassin who doesn’t remember who he is – The Bourne Identity is a pretty smart action movie with quick bits and pieces of martial arts choreography.  Since The Bourne Ultimatum is on ‘the list’, I figured it would make sense to review to the 2 movies preceding it!

You’ve got Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), a guy who doesn’t remember anything before he was found out at sea a few weeks ago, yet he discovers in himself these extraordinary skills that appear out of habit.  He slowly pieces together bits of his life and pays a young girl named Marie (Franka Potente) to drive him to Paris so he can figure out what’s going on.

Once in Paris, he is attacked by an assassin, and is forced to run from a group of people trying to kill him.  Using his magnificent martial arts skills, fluency in many languages and a vast range of other useful skills, he manages to evade and escape while slowly learning more and more about who he is.

After wanted posters are distributed with his and Maria’s face on them, he then tries to get Maria to a safe place and find the people hunting him so he can get some answers – leaving much reason for some intelligent action and secret agent-style strategy.

Jason’s skillset

I found this to be one of the most interesting parts of the movie. Jason finds himself doing some pretty unusual and difficult things completely out of habit.  One of the most interesting for me was when he is first approached by policemen and realises he he knows martial arts, and uses it to defend himself.

Like all martial arts, it’s a conscious form of practice that results in an unconscious habit that is effective in combat.  I thought it was very fitting that Jason Bourne would still have the muscle memory to perform what combat training he had previous to losing his (brain) memory.

Matt Damon

He slowly discovers foreign languages he knows and even just behavioral habits like checking for exits and generally ‘sussing’ out a placing when he enters.  It all interestingly points to him being some kind of field agent, and Jason Bourne very quickly accepts this role and even further discovers how he can habitually reason with a situation and discover the best and most tactical solution.

Hollywood Actors Performing Martial Arts

This movie is one of the pioneers of the modern day action film – starring A-list actors who are extensively trained over a 3-6 month period to perform their own stunts/martial arts.  Similar to Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, Matt Damon fights all of his own fights and does a good chunk of his own stunts.  While it doesn’t quite measure up to what the pro’s can do, it’s pretty impressive considering.

Jason Bourne

Matt Damon underwent 3 months of extensive training in hand to hand combat, weapons, boxing and Filipino Escrima.  With the use of knives, boxing and grappling in the film comes across convincing, but it’s a bit half and half – half choreography, half camera work.

Matt Damon’s moves are a little loose and unrefined (still pretty good for 3 months of training!) and are noticeable when you’re picking it apart.  But the shaky camera work and quick cuts really disguise any short comings the action scenes may have, and also suit the general pace of the film.

The Action

There is a decent amount of hand to hand combat here displayed by Jason Bourne, but the general pace of the film and smart ‘unraveling’ nature of the storyline creates some excitement in itself.

Bourne Identity Fight Scenes

There are use of guns and firearms but it seems the strategy of Bourne in confusing his enemies is the real quality in the action – as opposed to mindless shoot outs and running out into open fire and being missed completely (like many old skool action movies).

Ultimately there isn’t a heap of action, the action is expressed through the pace of the film and intelligent nature in which the chase is told onscreen.  But what action you seen is pretty top notch, with decent enough martial arts to make it worthy of review in my opinion.

Would I Recommend it?

This is a movie just about anyone can watch and enjoy.  It’s not pure martial arts, it’s not even pure action but it’s smart movie with that action sense that has you glued to the screen to see what happens next.  If you haven’t seen it, check it out!

Find it On Blu-Ray –

Region A (US & Canada)
The Bourne Identity on Blu-ray

Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc)
The Bourne Identity on Blu-ray[Region Free]

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
The Bourne Identity on DVD

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
The Bourne Identity on DVD

Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
The Bourne Identity on DVD 

More info on DVD & Blu Ray regions here

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