Espionage thriller trilogy starring Matt Damon as CIA assassin Jason Bourne. In the first film, 'The Bourne Identity' (2002), Bourne is pulled out the Mediterranean by fishermen, badly wounded and suffering from amnesia. Unable to recall either who he is or what has happened to him, his only clue to his identity is the number of a Swiss bank account which has been etched into a device implanted in his body. Following the lead to Zurich, he discovers money, passports and a gun waiting for him, but also earns the attention of the security services and has to leave in a hurry. He then persuades a young woman named Marie Kreutz (Franka Potente) to drive him to Paris, where he hopes to find out his true identity and discover the reason why the CIA are taking such an interest in him. In the second instalment, 'The Bourne Supremacy' (2004), Bourne has left his violent past behind him and is living a normal life with girlfriend Marie under an assumed name. But his plans for a peaceful life are crushed when he narrowly escapes an assassination attempt. Now hunted by an unknown enemy, Bourne must prove that he is not an easy target. In the final instalment, 'The Bourne Ultimatum' (2007), Bourne races to uncover the dark mysteries of his past while a government agent is hot on his trail following a shootout in Moscow. Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Paddy Considine co-star.
Finally making its Blu-ray bow, The Ultimate Bourne Collection defies the convention for how these things are supposed to work. The theory runs that a trilogy’s best film is the first, and it’s a case of diminishing returns from that point onwards. The Bourne movies? They just keep getting better and better.
Things kick off well with The Bourne Identity, which introduces Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. When we meet him, he’s no idea who he is, but he quickly learns that he’s in possession of some quite extraordinary, and lethal, skills. The film is slap bang on the money for the first two thirds, before a slightly muddled last act. Yet it still gets the franchise off to a good start.
The directorial reigns passed over from Doug Liman (of Swingers and now Mr and Mrs Smith fame) to Paul Greengrass (United 93, Bloody Sunday) for The Bourne Supremacy, and it proved to be a wise choice. Supremacy is a faster, more intense film, that this time sees Jason Bourne framed for murder, and gradually closing in on the secrets of his part. It’s pulsating stuff.
The icing on the proverbial cake though is the superb The Bourne Ultimatum, arguably one of the finest blockbuster movies of the past decade or two. Effectively a two-hour chase movie, it’s a staggering achievement that returning director Greengrass manages to keep the momentum going right the way through. Damon, by this point, utterly owns the role, and it’s a film that demands to be re-watched time and time again.
As you’d hope and expect, high definition is both kind and effective where the Bourne films are concerned, with the fast action looking quite superb in 1080p. Backed up by a vibrant, brilliant surround sound mix, all three of the films benefit from the upgrade, and ultimately leave you salivating for the much-rumoured fourth installment. A terrific trilogy. --Simon Brew
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