Directed by Doug Liman
I liked it on first watch, but over time I have come to see The Bourne Identity as an action classic, redefining the spy genre and putting to shame 2002's other spy entry, the cartoonish James Bond film Die Another Day. In fact, Bourne's influence is confirmed in the fact that the next time Bond emerged on the big screen in Casino Royale, it was a spitting image of Bourne himself. Along with The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, these three films have influenced nearly all the action the 2000s saw on the big screen.
Three elements stand out to me in this film; the story, the settings, and the action. The Bourne Identity features and incredibly smart and intelligent plot, filled with great lines, and a few genuine moments between the characters. Enhancing the great story is some great location work. There are no Caribbean beaches, but I love the great photography that Liman gets in these European cities. Its superbly memorable to me, and its something that I always look forward to when watching it.
Filling out this film are several incredible action sequences including one of the greatest car chases in all of cinema. It gets the big stunts, the small stunts, the local flavor, and the camera all right. While the fight scenes are not kung fu masterpieces, Liman expertly stages them to make them clearly choreographed but more brutal and practical than your typical kung fu fight.
It would be easy to overlook this film and to think of it as a mere action film, but I think that would be discounting how well made this film is. Its able to pull off one of the hardest tasks in all of cinema; pulse pounding cinematic action sequences and adult level espionage and drama. Its rare to find a film that accomplishes this, and we should cherish the ones that do.
Here is the trailer