Jason Bourne, a man born of the 1980s, undergoes a spot-on big screen update. Matt Damon supplies the body and Doug Liman (Swingers, Go) and Paul Greenglass (United 93, Bloody Sunday) put it to work. You should know, if someone offers you twenty thousand dollars to drive them somewhere, only do it if you want to fall in love with that irascible spy. More after the jump:
A man, Jason Bourne, is pulled from the ocean, bullets in his body, with a case of amnesia. On the path to discover who he is, Bourne finds himself in a web of intrigue that leads back to a botched assassination and a clandestine government organization in charge of it, Operation Treadstone. He pairs up with a civilian, Marie, who he employs to drive him to Paris. He finally confronts his “employers” and asks to be left alone. This is the story of The Bourne Identity. The Bourne Supremacy picks up where identity leaves off and, clearly, he will not be left alone. Bourne delves deeper into his past spy work, but his past comes back to haunt him as someone leaves his fingerprint on an explosive device, framing him for murders. Both Bourne and Pamela Landy, the CIA Deputy Director, follow the breadcrumbs linking the twenty million job to a man on the inside.
I’ll be honest with you. Before The Bourne Identity, if someone had told me that I would believe that Matt Damon could kick ass, I would have said I’d sooner believe a man can fly. It is Damon’s thoughtful, charismatic nature that brings the character to life, but also his fighting ability that helps to fully realize it. You too will believe a Matt can spy. He’s just the beginning of the stack of talent amassed in these two films. The oft-underused Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) joins Bourne for the ride as love interest Marie. Also spanning the two are Brian Cox (X-Men 2, Super Troopers) as the questionably motivated Ward Abbott and company girl Julia Stiles (Mona Lisa Smile, The Prince and Me) and Nicky Parsons. Anyone who knows me should know that I have a soft spot for Brian Cox who is equally adept at playing the badass and comedy roles. I’d buy him in anything, but please give him more comedy. I’ve also had a crush on Julia Stiles since seeing her in 10 Things I Hate About You; equal parts her acting skill and the fact that she’s a Mets fan. Clearly, the casting director on this film has a wire tap in my brain. Keeping the talent flowing, leading the spies in alternating strokes, first by Chris Cooper (American Beauty, The Kingdom) and then by Joan Allen (The Contender, Death Race).
Props must be paid to the fight and stunt coordinators who ratchet up the action to respectable levels, all while seemingly playing in the practical effects sandbox. Practical effects earn extra kudos from me. The car sequences in these two films are two of the best.
Menu page options on both Blu-Rays are: Play, Chapters, Setup, Extras, U-Control, BD-Live and User Guide.
Setup allows you to access the English, Spanish and French language tracks in 5.1 DTS as well as the subtitles in the same languages. Also, you can start Director Doug Liman’s feature commentary on The Bourne Identity or Paul Greengrass’s on The Bourne Supremacy from this menu as well as the Picture in Picture volume and the button sounds.
My Scenes — allows viewers to bookmark their favorite scenes and clips.
U-Control offers viewers the options of Picture in Picture, Treadstone Files and Bourne Orientation film accompaniment.
The Bourne Identity
The Ludlum Identity/The Ludlum Supremacy/The Ludlum Ultimatum — A trio of featurettes that look at Robert Ludlum’s beginnings as a actor and theater man to the creation of his celebrated iconic character Jason Bourne to the transition to the big screen. Actor/friend James Karen, writer Eric Van Lustbader, Frank Marshall, Paul Sandberg, Patrick Crowley, Doug Liman, Matt Damon, Paul Greenglass and his literary agent Henry Morrison chime in on the author and character. Also includes film clips and archival interview footage. From these archival clips, you also get a good sense of the man and his sense of humor.
Alternate Opening and Alternate Ending with optional introduction from Producer Frank Marshall, Co-Writer Tony Gilroy and actor Brian Cox. These bookends were created in case the movie didn’t work in light of the events of 9/11. Though edited and complete, the footage is still rough.
Deleted Scenes — 4 deleted scenes with a Play All option
Extended Farmhouse Scene — more time at the dinner table
The Birth of The Bourne Identity — cast and crew talk about the making of the film.
The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum — another look at the author.
Access Granted: An Interview with Screenwriter Tony Gilroy
From Identity to Supremacy: Jason and Marie — a look at the on-screen pair as Matt Damon and Franke Potente talk about their characters in the first film as they grow into the second film.
The Bourne Diagnosis — A psychiatrist speaks on the condition of amnesia (dissociative) and how it pertains to Jason Bourne.
Cloak and Dagger: Covert Ops — A look at the real-life CIA.
Inside a Fight Sequence — a look at the prep and shooting work that goes into Jason Bourne taking on a set of Marines/guards.
Moby “Extreme Ways” Music Video
On Startup, trailers for Friday Night Lights and House.
The Bourne Supremacy
U-Control offers viewers the options of Picture in Picture, The Bourne Dossier and Bourne Orientation film accompaniment.
Explosive Deleted Scenes — 6 deleted scenes (including an alternate ending) that automatically play on selection.
Matching Identities: Casting — Director Paul Greenglass and the cast and producers speak on the actors populating the Ludlum world.
Keeping It Real — A look at the impact of director Paul Greenglass on the “look” of The Bourne Supremacy. All of the talk on his film Bloody Sunday has bumped that up in my queue.
Blowing Things Up — A look at the practical shoot of the house explosion when Bourne tracks down the last remnant of Treadstone.
On the Move with Jason Bourne — A look at the locations (including the disparate Berlin, Germany and Goa, India) shot for The Bourne Supremacy.
Bourne to be Wild; Fight Training — A look at the fight sequence between Bourne and Jarda, the two last Treadstone agents.
Crash Cam: Racing Through the Streets of Moscow — A look at the challenge of creating a car chase through Moscow conceived to top the chase in the previous film and the work required to achieve this. The neat part of this is seeing the stunt driver staged on top of the car to create the effect of the appearance that the lead actor is actually driving.
The Go-Mobile Revs Up The Action — Another look at the car chase, but more specifically at the “rocket” attachment (the go-mobile) that allows the actor to sit in the car while the stunt driver controls the movement from in front. The go-mobile takes the place of the standard process trailer.
Anatomy of a Scene: The Explosive Bridge Chase Scene — A dissection of the sequence when Bourne narrowly avoids a train coming down the tracks to leap from a bridge onto a barge underneath.
Scoring with John Powell
The Bourne Mastermind (Part 2) — A continuation of the featurette from The Bourne Identity.
The Bourne Diagnosis (Part 2) — A continuation of the featurette from The Bourne Identity. A look at Bourne’s journey of self-discovery and his attempt to live with the flashes of memory as they return to him.
On Startup: trailer for Shaun of the Dead, Collateral, Miami Vice (TV), Las Vegas (TV)
Top notch acting, directing, editing and action sequences help Jason Bourne give James Bond a run for his money. Ample special features make these two discs must-buys for spies and fans thereof.
Final Grade – A