The Bourne Identity (2002)

(In theaters, June 2002) Don’t worry if you don’t remember much from the original Robert Ludlum novel: There’s scant resemblance to the original story beyond the premise of an elite secret agent who’s lost his memory. This remake is a solid thriller; perhaps too much so: There’s a definite sense of deja-vu here, as the film laboriously puts together what may be one of the blandest, least imaginative thrillers in recent memory. All of it is familiar by-the-numbers spy stuff. I could hand you the film’ premise and you’d develop a story roughly similar to this incarnation of The Bourne Identity. Matt Damon is decent as the hero, but not particularly noteworthy. The same can be said of directory Doug Lyman, who does the job with a very occasional flourishes but seldom any sustained panache. I drifted off midway through, bored by a second or third repetition of the same plot structure (Agent is sent to kill Bourne. Bourne kills agents, learning tantalizing clue. Agent dies before telling more) and I’m not sure I missed out on anything. Well-done but bland. There’s a nice little care chase, though.

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