The impact of the way in which chase scenes, stunts and hand to hand combat were filmed continues to be felt, with no less a franchise than James Bond experiencing the most noticeable stylistic overhaul in the immediate aftermath of the birth of Bourne.
The Bourne Legacy attempted a spin-off, but the absence of Damon’s commanding and engaging performance and Greengrass’s assured direction resulted in a fairly flat end product, so it is encouraging to see Damon and Greengrass re-unite for Jason Bourne, which we can only hope will mark a return to form for this exceedingly accomplished franchise.
In order to whet our collective appetite, here are Six of the Best moments from the franchise so far, in No Particular Order. Honourable mentions go to the first apartment fight in Identity, the Waterloo Station scene in Ultimatum, Bourne’s confrontation with Dr Hirsch at the end of Ultimatum and pretty much every chase scene and fight scene not otherwise included below.
1. Bourne’s Embassy Escape (The Bourne Identity)
At this point we know very little about Bourne. He’s been fished out of the water, he has a cryptic laser projector buried under his skin, he’s disoriented and he looks like he can handle himself in a fight.
The sequence where he goes on the run within, and then escapes from, the US embassy in Zurich is a masterpiece of acting, direction and editing, starting with “red bag!” and ending with a surprisingly gentle landing on the snow-covered pavement.
Bourne is all instinct and resourcefulness, as he keeps himself out of view, opportunistically grabs a radio so he can track his trackers and descends the outside of the building like a muted-coloured Spider-Man. Although Bourne knows at this stage that his hand to hand combat skills are formidable, he also understands innately that silence is a considerable ally too, as he pulls himself against the side of the building just as his pursuers burst out onto the tiny platform at the top of the fire escape.
Doug Liman wisely and effectively ramps down the soundtrack and instead gives us background sound, Bourne’s exertion and the sound of the said red bag landing in the snow from a few floors up. In the end, Bourne drops to the pavement, picks up his bag and walks off nonchalantly. So cool.