Years from now, we’ll tell our kids and our grandkids that there was a time when Matt Damon did not appear capable of breaking another man’s neck with his bare hands. All that changed with the amnesiac assassin flick, The Bourne Identity.
Without trampling too much on our video review above, you can make a sufficient case that the Bourne series were some of the most important films of the last 15 years.
Laugh all you want, but without the Bourne series, do we have Casino Royale, a very realistic (at least in film terms) and enjoyable Bond movie? Without them do we have Batman Begins and the Nolan Batman trilogy?
Without Damon being cast as Bourne, does an excellent actor like Liam Neeson (Taken, Unknown, The Grey, etc.) get a chance to be an action hero with a brain? Does Robert Downey, Jr. get to be Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes?
Like it or not, The Bourne Identity introduced words like “gritty” and “dark” into our film lexicon. It’s a bad thing because now EVERYTHING has to be “dark” and “gritty,” but it’s a good thing because some things SHOULD be “dark” and “gritty.”
Along those same lines, The Bourne Identity ushered in an era of films where realism is considered a virtue; where not every car bursts into flames at the slightest touch; and where, even in a film where a man dresses as a bat to fight crime, the makers of the film feel compelled to justify why he does that and how it is possible, if improbable.
It also demonstrated that an action hero doesn’t need to be all brawn and no brains, a fairly amazing revelation and one that actors like Neeson and Downey, Jr. — as well as the audiences watching them — should be grateful for.
In the end, the film industry is better for this movie and, in part for that, Erin gives it 3.5 Stars and Bret gives it 4.25 Stars.