Universal // 2002 // 119 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 10th, 2004
With The Bourne Supremacy running around theatres these days, Universal decided to reload the first installment of Matt Damon's amnesiac-spy saga with The Bourne Identity: Explosive Extended Edition. Is this double-dip all-title and no substance?
All right, I'll keep this short. I'm going to hazard that most of you reading this review have only one question on your mind: "What is that painful burning sensation on my inner thigh?"
Or maybe you have another one, like: "Is this second release worthy of
We'll get to that shortly.
Our story opens on a dark night at sea. Some fishermen stumble across a body floating in the water. They drag the guy (Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting) aboard, dry him out, and slowly bring him back to life. Though his body is at full-strength, his mind is not; he has amnesia.
Following his only clue -- a laser pointer embedded in his skin -- the former flotation device heads off on globetrotting expedition to reveal his identity. After locating some personal effects in a bank, he learns his name is Jason Bourne. He also learns he has killer reflexes and hair that won't move, even under the most intense duress.
His quest for the truth brings him into contact with Marie (Franka Potente), a spunky girl who's poor. Bourne pays her heftily for a ride to the next stop on the Who-the-F-Am-I?! tour, but his trouble becomes her trouble, as he suddenly finds himself a wanted man.
This trouble has been generated by the CIA, Bourne's previous employer. A member of a dark ops squad under the direction of the slippery Conklin (Chris Cooper, Adaptation) and Abbot (Brian Cox, Every Movie Ever Made), Bourne learns the hard way he's wanted dead. Meanwhile, Conklin believes Bourne is a loose cannon and needs to be put down.
Foot chases, martial arts throwdowns, sniper attacks, explosions, and a kinetic car chase unfold, and Bourne is faced with his biggest challenge -- reconciling his past with his present, and living to tell the tale.
Okay, let's get down to it.
"If I already own The Bourne Identity, should I buy The Bourne Identity: Explosive Extended Edition?"
I can't justify a double-dip purchase here.
I dig this movie. I dig its sequel. Though it has zilch-a-roo to do with Robert Ludlum's source book, once you separate yourself from that fact, and settle in to watch it as a freestanding movie, I'm confident you'll enjoy yourself. It's a taut, rooted-in-reality spy movie of old-school ilk, and though Damon is not the Jason Bourne of the books, he could definitely be a Ludlum character.
The packaging for the disc proclaims: A New Movie Experience With an All-New Beginning and Ending.
This sounds great, but it's a lie. It's not a new movie experience. The new beginning and new ending total about seven minutes of runtime, and bring nothing terribly interesting to the table. The narrative structure of the flick, taken with these bookend scenes, becomes framed slightly differently, but that's it.
It certainly isn't "explosive."
The problem I think is that the term "Extended Edition" has become loaded. With the immaculate Extended Editions of The Lord of the Rings sets, which were indeed very different movie-going experiences fresh in the collective consciousness, a disc boasting this EE label (The Bourne Identity even adds another E for good measure!) better deliver a significantly more content.
It does not.
There is a boatload of extras though, and this may be enough for your Bourne aficionados to snag a copy, but truth be told, they're lacking. Judged against the gold standard of Extended Edition bonuses -- LOTR again -- this package doesn't come close.
The deleted scenes (three of them) are boring.
The interview with Matt Damon seems too "press kit."
The covert ops featurette, comparing Jason Bourne to real-life CIA agents was cheesy (the CIA guy would say that an agent had to be trained to defend himself, cut to a scene of Damon beating the Play-Doh out of someone, and so on.)
The "Bourne Diagnosis" unearths a UCLA psychologist to talk about Bourne's amnesia, and goes on to use big words; another weird inclusion.
The "Speed of Sound" documentary highlights the sound mix of the movie, and sports a mixing board at the end where viewers can explore the different sound channels needed to make a scene work. Nice idea, but the interface for this gimmick is tedious and slow.
"Inside a Fight Scene" is your typical look at fight choreography. This was my favorite bonus, as I'm a sucker for these featurettes and Damon's interview footage was the most entertaining, but it certainly was not a deal breaker.
A documentary of the late Robert Ludlum brought out two of his friends to offer some fairly interesting anecdotes about the writer, but no real meat. My second favorite bonus.
And most disappointing was an interview with screenwriter Tony Gilroy. While I enjoyed the movie and didn't mind its jarring departure from the book, I still wanted to know what prompted Gilroy to change so much. Unfortunately, he's relatively close-mouthed on the issue. Frustrating.
The Moby music video and some other generic low-impact materials round out the bonuses.
The movie still looks and sounds great, though the inclusion of a DTS ES track would have been greater. The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is still loud and forceful, especially during the big car chase, where you'll actually be inserted amidst the squealing tires. No complaints, technically.
This is my case laid out for the double-dippers with The Bourne Identity already in your collection. To be fair, however, if you've yet to own it -- and you're a fan of hard-nosed spy thrillers like they used to make them -- this would be the version to buy. Oh, and I can't forget about the free movie ticket to the sequel. A great addition that may have made the purchase worth it, but it's now past its expiration date (August 8, 2004).
Not enough on this re-release to prompt a re-buy. Re-sist the urge.
The court certainly doesn't want to sway any of you away from this cool-ass movie, but do not succumb to this ploy by Universal. The accused is recognized as a great DVD in its own right, but not as a companion to its predecessor. Guilty of misdemeanor fraud. Now please don't kill us with a ballpoint pen or anything. Court adjourned.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 119 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* "From Identity to Supremacy"
* Interview with Tony Gilroy
* Deleted Scenes
* "The Bourne Mastermind"
* New beginning and ending
* "The Bourne Diagnosis"
* Covert Ops featurette
* "The Speed of Sound"
* Free movie ticket to "The Bourne Supremacy"
* "Inside a Fight Scene"
* DVD-Rom content
* Music video
* Review of Original Release