I have always had a soft spot for shameless action movies.

I enjoy the occasional action movie. I am not ashamed of that. I think that it is perfectly natural. About a year ago I saw the movie "The Bourne Identity". All said, it was fairly decent. It contained all of the elements of an action movie that are required. That being of course…action and Franka Potente. I have to admit to then being a bit intellectually confused by the movie. I knew at the time that it was based on a book by Robert Ludlum, but was really unaware of anything else about Robert Ludlum or the book. What confused me was the fact that this fun 2 hour long action movie was ever actually a book.

This confusion turned to interest one evening when I was at my parents’ house and saw an old copy of the book. What the hell, I thought. Its summer, I can read some meaningless action book. Let me take a moment from this long (and no doubt uninteresting to most) tirade to point out that I am morally opposed to criticizing a movie for not remaining true to the book. However, the degree to which the movie The Bourne Identity strayed from the book was nearly laughable. I was surprised to find that Robert Ludlum was actually a very good mystery/suspense writer. The book was exceptionally dynamic with a quite intricate plot.

Okay, now I will very briefly describe what happens in the movie. Jason Bourne is pulled from the ocean unconscious and shot several times. He suffers from amnesia, has no clue who he is aside from a Swiss bank account number. A bit of a shady premise, I know. Anyway he then embarks on an action filled trip to Paris on the way coming across a bohemian (read unemployed and worthless) woman, Franka Potente, and numerous US government agents trying to kill him. It turns out that he was a government assassin that had a change of heart.

Yes, really I know. It sounds lame. It was lame, but it was amusing.

Now, on July 23rd, one of the most confusing action movie sequels is going to be released.

The Bourne Supremacy

I really know that I should not be at all shocked. All action movies that do moderately well get a sequel or two. This whole thing seems a bit off to me because the original book was actually a trilogy. There were two built in sequels. Yet for some odd reason the screenwriters removed every single bit of the plot that let there be a sequel. The series is supposed to be about Bourne's ongoing struggle with an international hitman named "Carlos." To the best of my knowledge "Carlos" does not actually appear in the movies at all. This is not the only major plot element that was changed for not perceivable reason.

  • Franka Potente's character is supposed to be an intelligent internationally recognized Canadian economist- whose influence in the Canadian government is important to the story. For some reason this powerful female character was turned into a worthless idiot.
  • Jason Bourne was never an assassin; he was just an undercover government agent trying to arrest an assassin.
  • They killed off Bourne's best friend for the rest of the trilogy in the first movie.
  • The government never actually tries to kill him but once. Most of the harms way he is in comes from Carlos.

This is of course not even mentioning that the movie did not come address any of the psychological issues that were in the books, and removed almost all of the mystery and suspense in favor of more action. I only mentioned things that really made no sense to be changed.

Oh well. I will probably see the movie when it comes out just out of curiosity. The sequel is supposed to be about how Jason Bourne goes to Asia after his wife is kidnapped. He has to find and kill an assassin posing as him in order for her to be released. We will see how this goes. Bare in mind, I actually thought that the first movie was all right until I realized how good of a story it could have been.

What the hell is wrong with Hollywood? Why do they seem categorically opposed to having both action and a good plot on the same screen? Why do they take a story that is good and remove all the interesting bits? These are questions for which there are no answers.

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3 thoughts on “I have always had a soft spot for shameless action movies.”

  • If "Bourne Supremacy" consisted of three stoned Brazilian street urchins defecating on Matt Damon's chest, it would still be a better book-turned-sequel than "Hannibal".

  • What really irks me about this, and I might not have made the point clear, is that the books are actually quite good. Not really from a fantastic literature point of view, but definately from a well written story and well developed characters standpoint.

    It just doesn't make sense. The original story written by ludlum could have been made into a movie. I have no idea why they made the changes they did. It is not like the plot was dated, or particularly "cold war" or anything. It was almost as if Hollywood thought that American audiences could not actually handle an action movie with a plot. That is what pisses me off so much about this series.

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