This week the Bourne franchise returns to it’s former glory (hopefully) as the dynamic duo of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass return to star and direct in Jason Bourne, respectively. Before the car crash of The Bourne Legacy, there was the original trilogy that helped turn the spy genre upside down. After years of the over the top action of the Bond franchise, the Bourne trilogy was praised for its realism and a leading action hero who uses his brains as much as his brawn. The trilogy is filled with iconic moments so it’s time to find some black clothing and stick on some Moby as here are the ten best moments of the Bourne trilogy, and yes I said trilogy, f**k The Bourne Legacy.
Warning! Contains major spoilers from the Bourne trilogy.
In The Bourne Identity, the embassy scene is the first real look at the skillset and mindset of Bourne. He takes down the security team swiftly and plans his escape, evading the local police. One of the great parts of this scene is where most action scenes would have the hero run around the building shooting every security guard in sight, Bourne uses his brain, a security guard’s radio and the fire exit plan of the embassy to get away and not kill anyone. But the most impressive bit of the scene is the guy who actually scaled down the side of the building helping to cement the realist tone in the action that would come to define the Bourne franchise.
The Mini Car Chase
When it comes to car chases, it very difficult to do something unique but the car chase through Paris in an original Mini Cooper is able to do just that. While we have seen the Mini Cooper used before in car chases ala The Italian Job (original, not Marky Mark version), due to the size of the Mini and the city layout of Paris, the film is able to create uniquely different and fresh at a time when most car chases felt very similar. What also helps this car chase stand out is the music. While most action films would have some big bombastic action score, The Bourne Identity uses the Paul Oakenfold track, Ready Steady Go. The trance track not only gives a new lease of life to the car chase but also helps to ground the European vibe that runs through the film, helping to give the film a worldly feel than most Bond films.
The Goa Opening
The opening of The Bourne Supremacy truly sets the tone for the rest of the franchise, anything can happen. In the opening 15 minutes we have another epic car chase, this time taking place in Goa, that ends with Bourne’s love interest from the first film, Marie (Franka Potente), being killed. It’s a shocking moment and it’s proof that no one is safe when it comes to the Bourne franchise. That point is hammered home later in the film when Abbott (Brian Cox) commits suicide. Absolutely no one is safe.
Jarda Vs. Bourne
While there are many hand-to-hand fights throughout the entire franchise, the fight between Bourne and the final Treadstone operative, Jarda (Marton Csokas) is possibly the most brutal. The brutality of this scene is made through the lack of music in the scene (there isn’t any), the use of normal household possessions to inflict pain and hearing the pain and suffering both characters go through in this one scene. It’s one of those scenes that makes you surprise that The Bourne Supremacy was rated a 12. If the film was rated a 15, the last shot of Bourne suffocating Jarda would have been shown. The fight itself is fantastic to watch and is one of the best of the whole franchise and literally ends with a big bang.
Catching The Train
Out of the whole franchise, the sequence of Bourne trying to catch the train in Berlin before the police can get a hold of him is one of the smartest. In this one sequence, Bourne runs from the police, catches the train only for it to be delayed, runs across the train tracks narrowly missing being hit by an oncoming train, jumps off the bridge that the station is on, onto a moving boat under the bridge, uses a fishing pole to hook himself back onto the bridge before the police can stop the boat, climb back up onto the bridge, to the station and manages to catch the train before it leaves. This all happens in the space of two minutes. It’s a clever, thrilling, tense action piece that shows Bourne doing what he does, having the ability to think fast on his feet where there seems to be no escape.
Moscow Rush Hour
Continuing on with the brutality of The Bourne Supremacy, the film’s final action scene is purely incredible. It’s the final confrontation between Bourne and Kirill (Karl Urban), the man who killed Marie. We see a wounded Bourne try to escape the police and gain revenge on Kirill. Being set on the streets of Moscow automatically differs itself from the car chase in The Bourne Identity. The city has a bigger layout to Paris, which makes the destruction cause by the car chase even bigger and finishes with a hard-hitting impact. But the end of the scene also creates a bigger impact on the character of Bourne. Despite having a free shot at the man who killed the love of his life, he decides not to kill him. He decides to not continue down the dark path of killing and heads into the light to start to redeem his past actions.
The first proper action of The Bourne Ultimatum is one of the most suspenseful of the whole franchise. After reporter Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) uncovers information about Treadstone and Blackbriar, Bourne wants to know what he knows. This leads to a tricky situation for everyone as Bourne tries to meet Ross but the CIA is tailing him, so they try to lose his tail in the chaos of Waterloo Station, one of the busiest stations in Europe. This whole sequence is a clever mix of a wild goose chase and a cat and mouse game. Bourne tries to throw the CIA off Ross’ scent but also has to try and get Ross to safety without being exposed. The scene ends with the unexpected assassination of Ross in the middle of Waterloo Station. This scene is filled with tension, as you never truly know whether Bourne and Ross will manage to evade the CIA. Plus as a Londoner, it’s very cool to see a station I’ve been through a number of times on the big screen.
Welcome to 15 of the most intense and brilliant minutes of the entire Bourne franchise. The sequence in Tangier has many different directions as it cuts skillfully between tailing an assassin, Desh (Joey Ansah), that ends up with an explosive impact, Bourne running away from the police on a dirt bike through the streets, while Nikki (Julia Stiles) is trying to get away from Desh who is sent to kill her and Bourne, a mix of rooftop and window jumping, finishing in a brutal fight between Bourne and Desh. Each moment of this sequence flows naturally from one to another, not allowing the audience to relax or catch their breath, something that director Paul Greengrass has done expertly since taking over the franchise from Doug Liman.
It has become a convention of the Bourne films to have a massive car chase through the streets of a major city and The Bourne Ultimatum is no different, this time taking place in New York City. The scene starts off in strange fashion by having Bourne drive a car off the top of a parking lot onto a pile of cars. For most action films this would end a scene but not for Bourne. The scene continues with Bourne escaping police in another iconic looking vehicle, a NYPD squad car (Identity used a Mini Cooper, while Supremacy used a yellow cab). The layout and look of New York City and the streets of Manhattan already gives this scene the epic look and scale it needed. New York City is so iconic that no matter where you shoot in the city, you’re going to have something spectacular to show on screen. This car chase is another fast paced, exciting and iconic moment of the franchise and nicely leads to the finale of the whole trilogy.
This is the moment we’ve all been waiting, Bourne finally getting the answers to everything. Inside of a massive fight, the finale decides to use head games to battle Bourne against Treadstone’s psychologist Dr. Hirsch (Albert Finney). Hirsch gets inside the head of Bourne, showing him the room where the whole program began, which causes Bourne to remember everything including the fact that Bourne signed himself up for the program. In the end, while there were others pulling the strings, everything Bourne has ever done has been through his own willing. You truly understand why the authorities are afraid of Bourne and just how dangerous Bourne truly is. At this point, Bourne knows killing everyone associated with Treadstone and Blackbriar is the wrong decision and realises that they need to face justice and he needs to disappear. This leads to a rooftop confrontation between Bourne and the main assassin of the film, Paz (Edgar Ramirez), with Bourne quoting The Professor’s dying words from the first film, “Look at us. Look at what they made you give,” before being shot by Vosen (David Strathairn) and jumping into the East River. This finale finally gives us all the answers we’ve been waiting for, the realisation that Bourne isn’t as good as we’ve made him out to be and an ending that perfectly mirrors the opening of The Bourne Identity.
Considering how well the original trilogy ends, it does leave you wondering why they are doing another Bourne film. But Matt Damon has said that he would only do Bourne again if Paul Greengrass was directing and Greengrass would only return if the story were good and compelling enough. Now you can see why the hype is so high for Jason Bourne and if the film is anything like the original trilogy, we’re going to in for an smart, brutal, explosive action packed thrill ride.
And since this is a Bourne article, here’s some Moby:
JASON BOURNE IS OUT NOW!