The Bourne Identity Special Edition on DVD

Dom Robinson reviews

The Bourne IdentityDistributed by

    CoverSpecial Edition:
    Original DVD:

  • Cert:
  • 8225239
  • Running time: 113 minutes
  • Year: 2002
  • Pressing: 2004
  • Region(s): 2, 4 (UK PAL)
  • Chapters: 20 plus extras
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Widescreen: 2.35:1
  • 16:9-enhanced: Yes
  • Macrovision: Yes
  • Disc Format: DVD 9
  • Price: £15.99
  • Extras:Alternate ending and opening, deleted and extended scenes, music video, The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum,Access Granted: An interview with screenwriter Tony Gilroy, From Identity to Supremacy: Jason & Marie,The Bourne Diagnosis, Cloak and Dagger: Covert Ops, The Speed of Sound, Inside a Fight Sequence,Van Helsing trailer, Cast and filmmakers


      Doug Liman

    (The Bourne Identity, Getting In, Go, Swingers)


    Patrick Crowley, Richard N Gladstein and Doug Liman


    Tony Gilroy and W. Blake Herron

(based on the novel by Robert Ludlum)

Original Score :

    John Powell

Cast :

    Jason Bourne: Matt Damon
    Marie Kreutz: Franka Potente
    Conklin: Chris Cooper
    The Professor: Clive Owen
    Ward Abbott: Brian Cox
    Wombosi: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
    Zorn: Gabriel Mann
    Nicolette: Julia Stiles
    Giancarlo: Orso Maria Guerrini
    Rawlins: Vincent Franklin

We’ve all had days like the lead character in The Bourne Identity.

You wake up, feeling rough as hell and not knowing who or where you are.However, while most of us can attribute that to the combination of beer, ciderand wine from the night before and that we’re at least waking up in somethingresembling a bed, for Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), his bed is the seaand he’s dragged out of it at the beginning of the film by the men on afishing boat.

To cap it all, he’s got two bullets in his back and a device stitched into himwhich reveals the code number of a Swiss bank account – and neither of thosecan be sorted out with a glass of water and a sachet of Resolve.

After making his way onshore and retrieving a barrel-load of money,fake passports and identification from the aforementioned account, he findshis name is revealed to be Jason Bourne, but if there’s plenty of other documentswith his picture on in different names then just who the hell is he? Theauthorities aren’t much help. Every time they confront him he amazes himselfby finding the strength and dexterity to defeat several of them at once.

“Look, I’ll bribe you if you pass your test for Comic Relief.”

I could go on, but put quite simply, this is a chase thriller from end to endand a cracking one at that, albeit one that requires a lot of suspensionof disbelief. Damon is accompanied by Run Lola Run‘sFranka Potente as foreign student Marie Kreutz, whose travel visa hasexpired and doesn’t want to be forced to leave the country. Crazed bad guyseven drop by Bourne’s flat in Paris just a few minutes after he’s taken alook around the residence for the first time. The C.I.A. are keen to learnof Bourne’s whereabouts because they thought he was dead, but now they knowhe’s alive and kicking, will they help him out or attempt to help ruin hisday even further?

And talking of kicking, when it comes to violence in the film, it does seemexcessive for a 12-certificate as it’s not done in a play-acting style asyou’d expect from a Jackie Chan comedy. This proved all that was wrong aboutthe new cinema “12a” certificate, which allows children under 12 to see thefilm as long as they’re accompanied by an adult.

When it comes to a film such as this, young children wouldn’t even begin tounderstand it and this would ruin the experience for the rest of the payingaudience. Even Matt Damon went on record as saying it should’ve received a15-certificate due to the violence and the plot. Still, at least it wasn’tcensored.

The cast is complimented by Chris Cooper as CIA team leader Conklin.Cooper’s isn’t a name most people will know, but he’s probably best knownrecently as Kevin Spacey’s obstinate neighbour inAmerican Beauty,Britain’s own Brian Cox making his token appearance in an American filmfor no apparent reason, as Conklin’s boss, Clive Owen, simply known as”The Professor” and I’ll say no more, plus Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbajeas overzealous terrorist-type Wombosi, better known to viewers of the excellentOz as Adebisi. Julia Stiles also shows up as CIA computer geekNicolette, but thankfully not a love interest since she can’t act to saveher life. Finally, there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it from Vincent Franklin.Who? Here, he has a brief line as Rawlins, the head of a security company,while he previously played Rowan, the organiser of the training day in anepisode ofThe Office.

Matt walks on the street
because he drives on the pavement.
Well, you have to fit in with the French somehow.

Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, there’s no faults to the soundor picture. Crisp and clear, it even makes Paris look worth another visit,and actually clean, and full of good drivers. In this re-release, it’sclearly the same print as it still shows up some rather dodgy CGI in a falltowards the end, but I’ll say nothing else about that so as not to spoil it.

Soundwise, the extra extras have meant this takes on a demerit as there’s onlya Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and not a DTS 5.1 one, which I went with lasttime as it was resplendent in fantastic split-surround effects and well-usedsound placing. Certainly a demo disc in scenes like the car chase. DD5.1 willstill be good, but not *as* good.

There are a number of little bits and pieces amongst the extras that areworth a look, but nothing that’ll leave a lasting impression:

This time round the extras are as follows:

  • Alternate opening and ending (10½ mins):Last time we just saw an ending, which was not particularly alternate – justa different way of doing the same thing, and so this time we one which has a completelydifferent start to the ending, if that makes sense.

    The new opening is a fair bit different too from what we’re used to, but not as goodas the one they went with. Both are presented in 2.35:1 widescreen but non-anamorphic,as are the rest of the film clips.

    Before both, there’s an intro from producer Frank Marshall, screenwriter Tony Gilroy andactor Brian Cox.

    Oh, and you can also watch these where they would’ve been placed in the film, but if youdo, you’ll get the intro forced on you which contains spoilers!

  • The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum (6 mins):The author died in 2001, so several people are on hand to back-slap the man who wrotethe novel for both this, the sequel, The Bourne Supremacy, and no doubt thethird film they’ll do the next book, The Bourne Ultimatum.
  • Access Granted: An interview with screenwriter Tony Gilroy (4 mins):A brief bit of chat, but nothing particularly revelationary.
  • From Identity to Supremacy: Jason & Marie (3½ mins):By this point you get the idea behind each of these extras – all rather insubstantial,and just mixing in snippets of chat with letterboxed film clips.
  • The Bourne Diagnosis (3½ mins):A psychologist waffles on about amnesia. Like we care(!)
  • Cloak and Dagger: Covert Ops (5½ mins):Some old guy nattering on about the CIA and how fight scenes were realistic isn’tas much fun as watching them in the movie. Pass.
  • The Speed of Sound (4 mins):A bit more interesting, this. After a 4-minute segment about the sound FX in the movie,you then get a separate menu with which to sample a variety of them before moving onto further extras. Fun for a while, but not a deal-breaker.
  • Deleted scenes (7 mins):Four here which were in the extras menu on the original DVD. I’d have kept in thefirst and the fourth, but the middle two don’t matter particularly. I won’t givedetails since you shouldn’t be looking in this DVD menu until after you’ve seen the film.
  • Inside a Fight Sequence (5 mins):Work-in-progress footage on the fight scene in the bank.
  • Music Video (3½ mins):Moby‘s “Extreme Ways”, with clips of the film mixed in.We had this last time as well.
  • Van Helsing trailer (1 min):It didn’t get great reception at the cinema earlier this year, but I suppose it keepsup the interest for when the DVD comes out nearer Xmas.
  • Cast and filmmakers :Text-based info that’s been on DVDs since they were launched in 1988. Nothing you’lllook at more than once.

And that’s that. This isn’t really a Special Edition, per se, just a cheap cash-inas the sequel gets released in the cinema. The only extras you lose out on fromthe first DVDare a near-15-minute chat-n-clips piece, The Birth of The Bourne Identity,a trailer for the film itself (which should’ve remained included), an extended farmhousescene which was nothing to write home about, teaser trailers for The Hulk andJohnny English, the DVD-ROM extras and they’ve also removed the director’s commentary.

Multiple-language subtitles are thrown away in favour of English only, the numberof chapters remains the same as 20, and the menus are still the same. These haveanimation and some music from the film, but they do repeat a lot.

It has to be said that the new extras offer nothing of worth, and the fact they robthe viewer of a DTS soundtrack is pure madness, hence it’s lost a point for sound andadded nothing for supplemental material. Get the original DVD if you still canas it’s been deleted from many places as I write this.


Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 2004.

Read the original DVD review

[Up to the top of this page]