Centfie writes empirical views based on observation, experience, and research.
The Jason Bourne franchise comprises five movies with the main character being Jason Bourne, apart from one of them in which his legacy is mentioned.
Which one is the best Jason Bourne movie? What were the most important features of the movies that made them deserve sequels? The Jason Bourne character was adapted from Robert Ludlum novels.
In the movies, Bourne's character is portrayed by actor Matt Damon in four of the films. He is a CIA agent who is suffering from amnesia and tries to remember his past life and work.
General Summary of The Bourne Franchise
The main character(s): Jason Bourne
Themes: crime, bureaucracy, conspiracy, spying, deception, conspiracy, politics, CIA, friendship, and a bit of romance, mental health issues, like memory loss, trauma, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder, survival and revenge themes; and the similar themes
Audience: +16 years
Warnings: violence, strong language, some blood and death
1. The Bourne Identity
The Bourne Identity(2002) is about Jason Bourne seeking and finding his identity. The major conflict, there are people who are threatened by his search for who he was or is.
The movie begins with the scene at the sea. A man is taken aboard by regular fishermen after they spot him floating aimlessly.
When he wakes up, he cannot remember anything beyond 2 weeks ago after being treated. He doesn't know who he is, and he goes to literally find himself.
Unfortunately, when he thinks he has found himself, he comes to the realization that he has a long way to go. The crucial clue to who he is is in a chip a doctor on the boat had found in his body.
He discovers stuff about himself that confuse him more. He has numerous ATMs, outstanding fighting skills, and can speak numerous languages. He figures out some of his abilities but he cannot understand the constant headaches.
Bourne does not know who he is hiding from at first, but the people who are after him know his value and the danger he poses to them.
For instance, a chief detective knows exactly who he is even though Bourne suspects he could be John Michael Kane, or not.
Along his journey, Bourne meets people who are willing to help him including a woman called Marie.
Bourne and Marie depict a friendship that begins under weird circumstances and they stick together for a while instead of going away. Sometimes it is like they draw danger towards themselves, like when they go to the house of Marie's friend, Alan.
Gradually he discovers what his career was, and embarks on a quest to find out the people he worked for.
Meanwhile, his life is about dodging assassins until he meets a dying assassin who gives him stunning revelations concerning a Black-ops Agency.
But the death of one assassin is not the end of his problems. They activate more to go after him. Jason Bourne makes smarter moves as he becomes more aware of the danger he is in.
At the end of the movie, we are left in suspense wondering who the authoritative man with white hair is, what the Treadstone Project is, why the cost-benefit analysis was too high, and the reasons for commissioning and decommissioning.
Summary of The Bourne Identity
Setting: The setting is in various places and towns. The main scenes happen in Paris and Marseille.
Punch line: "You are a malfunctioning $30 weapon."
Prominent objects: The water, ship, fisherman tools, the chip, cameras, Jason's rack sack
Rating: I enjoyed the movie in 2020, yet The Bourne Identity is a 2002 movie. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it 10 out of 10, considering its age.
2. The Bourne Supremacy
This is a 2004 sequel of the Bourne Franchise. Jason experiences flashbacks through dreams. Or are they just bad dreams? He is still with his girlfriend, who offers him support.
Bourne and Marie's peace is interrupted by someone who is trying to kill him. Later, Bourne finds out that he is being set up. Thus, he investigates.
However, there are challenges he's facing that make it tougher than it would otherwise have been, yet he has to keep on with his search. He's experiencing symptoms of psychological trauma like headaches, anxiety, and bouts of anger.
Meanwhile, he is also having flashes of memories of acts he committed in the past and remembers the faces of people who set him up, including a face he has seen recently. It turns out his dreams had elements of true memories as well.
Most scenes in The Bourne Supremacy are quiet as we watch Bourne doing his thing, mostly alone, and he talks only when necessary. There are some gripping foot chases and car pursuits. One that stood out to me was the car chase in Moscow.
Jason reaches a state whereby he has nobody else but himself. Although, he meets a logistics girl called Nicky Pearsons who adds value to his life in her own way.
Sound effects in The Bourne Supremacy are at par with the fast-paced plot. There is a mix of eerie music to accompany thrilling scenes full of action. Also, the sound effects when Bourne and Nickey's fight enriches the scene by making the punches musical.
In this Bourne movie, he literally "follows his dreams", and they unravel things about him like who he worked for on his first job and how brutal he was.
Summary of The Bourne Supremacy
Setting: Various places: begins at Goa, India; then Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Central Intelligence Agency, Langley.
Punch line: "If I even feel someone behind me I'll bring this fight to your doorstep."
Prominent objects: The chip, cars, Jason's head, cameras, Jason's rack sack
Rating: On a scale of 1 to 10, I found The Bourne Supremacy to be worth 9 out of 10.
3. The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 movie. It is a continuation of the Bourne supremacy from where it left off. Bourne is injured, in Moscow, running away from the cops. He is still experiencing flashbacks, or rather, he is regaining his memory. Bourne is still chasing his identity.
We are shown flashbacks of the time that Bourne last saw Marie and the moments. Also, he remembers his past activities and how he was trained to gain the abilities he has.
The viewer is shown the perspective of significant characters like Daniel the supervising training officer, the director of CIA Ezra Kramer, and Dr Kirsch, and a dirty Section Chief.
To the "bad guys", Bourne is a serious threat to their organization, and he, therefore, must die. At one point the use of a cliche by Ezra Kramer shows the extent of his separation in killing Bourne. He says, "Hope for the best, plan for the worst."
They are trying to "read" Bourne's moves. They suggest he is retracing his steps, or maybe wants to reveal their secrets to the public.
Another significant character in this movie is Simon Ross, a reporter who is being targeted as well because he has revealed information that scares the villains, and they are sure the reporter has a credible source. They are worried, "he's picking us apart," suspecting it's Bourne who is doing it.
Bourne uses clever tactics as usual to evade the "activated assets" who have been ordered to execute a kill order on him.
Random things trigger his memories; senses e.g touching a tap, water, photos of people he has seen. Jason Bourne is seeking where it all started. Is he the only one? Or is he the first one or does he have a number?
This sequel brings to light issues like Black Briar, Treadstone Upgrade, Square One, Dirty Little Secret, that shed light on Bourne's predicament.
I enjoyed the sound effects the most in this movie. Train tracks, thuds of falling objects, water running from the taps, guns cocking, people screaming, bomb blasts, indiscernible speech and breaking glass. Also, there is a significant meaning of water in The Bourne Ultimatum.
Summary of The Bourne Ultimatum
Setting: Various places like special operations group headquarters, Central Intelligence Agency, Langley.
Punch line: "It all started with Jason Bourne."
Prominent objects: The COMANAV ship, water, the reporter's notes, phones, scooter.
Rating: On a scale of 1 to 10, I found The Bourne Ultimatum to be worth 10 out of 10.
4. The Bourne Legacy
The Bourne Legacy is a 2012 movie. The events occur six weeks after Jason Bourne eluded the authorities who were looking for him when he was in Moscow.
Jason is alluded to but not seen in this movie. It is said he has been traced to New York alive and well.
At a special Ops Group training site in Alaska, a man goes out for a swim and is camping by the river. It's snowing and the land is rugged.
The scenery is breathtaking. He fights wild animals and swallows green and blue pills. The solitary man is running out of pills.
Meanwhile in Mayland, a reporter, Simon ross is preparing an expose about Jason Bourne and the Treadstone project, and he is a risk to the agency.
The director of the CIA of course doesn't want to go down, and he will do whatever it takes to protect their secret.
At the National Research Assay Group in Washington, they are researching an infection and the Treadstone project. They know it's a CIA affair and they do not want to get deeply involved with the Bourne issue.
In a lab, number 6 has not been seen by the doctor for a while now. He had a full spec 3 months ago. There is another muscular man seen by the female doctor in the lab. He has a key chain with a rectangular pendant.
Medical directors of Treadstone are in a video celebrating. The medical head at Assay Group shows him a key member of the CIA in attendance. IF they are discovered they will burn Alcom Program.
The man in the woods realizes he is not alone in the program. He says he needs pills as he hasn't had the blue pill in 42 hours. He is told he has beaten the record by taking to the mountains. Why does he shoot in the air? To announce his arrival.
There is a lady being introduced to a yellow, triangular pill. But the pills are killing them. Are they eliminating the subjects even those back at the woods that have to send samples of their blood using drones?
The program participants are being hunted down. The man in the woods has to be smart to ensure his survival as they are targeting to finish them. Guys at the drone command track the remaining signal and they lose it.
The continuing them of one man against an elaborate organization still applies to her. Will he get people who could help him? Can he learn to trust?
The Bourne Legacy has a lot of violence but does not have bloody scenes or brutal disgusting images. But there are a lot of guns shots that spare the viewers the distressing views.
It has heart-racing stunt coordination. I enjoyed the plot twists and the amazing sound effects like the screeches of tires, vehicle engines, car horns, sirens, people screaming, wrestling punches, and the sounds of crowds.
Summary of The Bourne Legacy
Setting: Various places: special operations group training site in Alaska, Bethesda Maryland, Reston Virginia, Washington D.C, Bangkok, Thailand
Punch line: "You keep using the word unacceptable and I wanna know exactly what you think you mean by that." (Rick)
"Unacceptable means exactly that. I don't like what you tell me. I don't like how you tell me." (Don)
Prominent objects: drones, yellow pills, Alan Cross's clothes (man in the woods), syringes, key chains with a rectangular pendant, drones, safe houses.
Rating: On a scale of 1 to 10, I found The Bourne Legacy to be worth 8 out of 10 mainly because Jason Bourne was a shadowed character.
5. Jason Bourne
Jason Bourne (2016) is the last movie of the franchise.
Bourne experiences flashbacks on his discovery and what Dr Albert Hirsch said in The Bourne Ultimatum. Jason has flashbacks of his assassin life. The scene starts on the Greek Albanian border.
How many years is it since Black-Briar was exposed? Jason Bourne looks older in this movie. Also, we meet new characters who seem to have a connection with the CIA such as a tech guru, businessman, and founder of a company where "privacy is freedom," and Heather Lee, a new cyber division head.
It's through new supporting characters that bourne finds support in his endeavours. What draws women to help Jason bourne?
His quest for answers reveals much more than he expected, including the extremities they went to during his recruitment.
After Bourne helped to reveal the secrets, in Bourne Ultimatum, the CIA is in the spotlight. There are a lot of headlines the likes of "loss of confidence in the CIA."
Someone hacks Langley. "Knightrider."
"Someone with a deep knowledge of our system," so they said. A tech whiz, Nicolette, discovers more truths about Jason Bourne and his likely original name.
The hacker stirs things up, and the agency has to handle it. The tech whiz discovers who "knightrider" is. She's enthusiastic about leading the Op. We are given clues of who the hacker is, provoking the desire to keep watching to find out the significance of the hacker in the plot.
Jason bourne and Nicolette find themselves in a mutual position and on the same side. They are smart, but the CIA team after them is smart, too.
Nicolette found bourne because she had learnt about his father, and more about herself too. She reveals to him that there is more about himself he needs to know, but he blames himself for all the actions that he remembers committing, without knowing what happened to him.
In this movie, as in the previous ones, another asset is activated to seek Bourne. Therefore, there is fighting, running, tricking the opponents, evading, and confronting them. And as usual, his opponents often groan in pain as Bourne presses on tirelessly.
Despite the revelation of the other secrets, the agency is still after Bourne to ensure the remaining top secrets remain hidden. In the process, he also attracts the presence of the police who think he is a criminal, and now has to evade two teams, and also the asset with a kill order.
What stood out to me in "Jason Bourne" were the visuals. They made the movie more exciting and thrilling. For instance, when fires are being lit all over the streets.
The agency seems to have access to everything, even the outline of the streets of Athens. Poor Bourne! The women in his life are killed because of him and right in his face, but CIA, when they want to be destroyed or are threatened. They can't let that happen.
Apparently, when bourne left the program he lost a key component of his identity. "He left behind his reason to exist." The villains believed he would reach a tipping point, and maybe be brought back into the program in search of his identity.
The twists are awesome and the villains fiercer. for example, the asset sent after Bourne this time seems to have done the job for a long time. And there seems to be more chemistry between Bourne and this particular asset.
This fifth part of the sequel connects all the other previous parts, and it can only be understood best after watching the previous movies in the franchise. However, as a standalone, it could give viewers a suspenseful experience.
Summary of Jason Bourne
Setting: Various places: Tsamantas and Athens, Greece, Vasily, Italy, Reykjavik, Iceland, Langley, Virginia.
Punch line: "I remember everything."
"All that matters is staying alive. you get off the grid. Survive."
Prominent objects: the computers, Nicole's laptop, fires.
Rating: On a scale of 1 to 10, I found Jason Bourne to be worth 9 out of 10. I loved the ending but got the feeling it could have been merged in the previous sequels.
© 2021 Centfie
Centfie (author) from Kenya on June 24, 2021:
Hansen, I am glad to know we have more similar interests than just poetry. Thank you for leaving a comment.
Centfie (author) from Kenya on June 24, 2021:
Same here, Brenda Arledge. Was not so much impressed with the one without Matt Damon.
Centfie (author) from Kenya on June 24, 2021:
@Bill Holland, glad to know of our common interests. thank you for your comment.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on June 23, 2021:
I liked the first three best, and I am a big Matt Damon fan. I have not seen the fifth one though, "Jason Bourne" yet. Thanks for the review of the movies in this franchaise.
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 23, 2021:
Jason Bourne...phone mistyped
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 23, 2021:
I love the Jadon Bourne movies...not so much a fan of the ones he didn't play in.
Great job on the article.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 23, 2021:
Loved #1 and #2...not so much the others. I'm a big Matt Damon fan, so it's no wonder I watched them all.