Blu-ray Review: The Bourne Trilogy

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The Bourne Trilogy
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Review By Jerry Rutledge

If you like spy mystery thrillers with plenty of chases and heavy doses of pulse pounding action, this Blu-ray Disc™ set of three movies belongs in your collection.  Each Bourne Disc comes with U-Control features (additional picture-in-picture content that can be activated as the movie plays), BD-Live (additional online content with a web connection), and My Scenes (ability to select and comment movie scenes with friend using BD-Live).

In The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is pulled from the Mediterranean by two Italian fishermen.  He has been shot in the back and has a device with Swiss bank account numbers embedded in his hip.  Inexplicably he finds he can speak foreign languages.  He uses the Swiss bank account numbers to open bank boxes containing passports and aliases and begins to suspect he is a spy. 

His handlers are quickly alerted by an agent working at the Swiss bank to Bourne’s presence.  Deputy Director Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) has authorized Alexander Conklin (Chris Cooper), the head of “Operation  Treadstone,” a Black Ops department within the CIA, to terminate Bourne for failing his assignment to carry out an illegal assassination.  While being chased Bourne’s other covert operative skills, such as hand to hand and small arms combat, begin to surface as part of his survival instinct.  Surprisingly, and pivotal to the development of his character, Bourne questions why he was made into a killing machine.  While on the run, he is helped by Marie Helena Kreutz (Franka Potente) with whom he becomes romantically involved.  The two become involved in a cat and mouse game to survive other deadly assassins in the Treadstone organization that are sent to kill them.

Features specific to this Disc include clips regarding the books author, Robert Ludlum (The Ludlum Identity, The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum); commentary on the development of the Bourne character (The Ludlum Supremacy and The Ludlum Ultimatum); screenwriter commentary (Access Granted); a UCLA psychologist’s comments on the causes and effect of amnesia (The Bourne Diagnosis); a CIA directors comments about what qualities are required for a spy (Cloak and Dagger); a close up look at the making of a fight sequence (Inside a Fight Sequence); commentary from actors on the connections between the first two films (From Identity to Supremacy – Jason and Marie); a movie music video (Moby “Extreme Ways”); director commentary by Doug Liman; an alternate beginning and ending; and deleted and extended scenes.

In The Bourne Supremacy, Jason Bourne has managed to live in hiding from the world of espionage and intrigue for about two years with Marie whom he met in the previous film.  However, Bourne is still troubled by dreams and flashbacks from his violent past life.  Meanwhile, the CIA’s Director Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) is paying $3 million to recover files about a CIA traitor who stole $20 million from the CIA.  In an ironic turn of events, Bourne is framed by a Russian assassin Kirill (Karl Urban) who intercepts the sale and steals the money and the file revealing the name of the CIA traitor.  In this installment Bourne is pitted against both the full forces of the CIA and the remaining operatives from Treadstone and its allies from the first film.  He must clear his name while also learning about his past links to several assassinations, and come to grips with whether he is now a man of conscience who is sorry for the killer he has been forced to become.

Features include many clips on how stunt and action pieces of the film were planned and executed (Keeping It Real, Blowing Things Up, Bourne to Be Wild: Fight Training, Crash Cam: Racing Through the Streets of Moscow, The Go-Mobile Revs Up the Action, and Anatomy of a Scene: The Explosive Bridge Chase Scene).  There are additional shorts regarding the author Robert Ludlum and the psychology of the Jason Bourne character.  There are also shorts on character casting (Matching Identities: Casting), location shooting (On the Move with Jason Bourne), creating the soundtrack (Scoring with John Powell) director commentary by Paul Greengrass and deleted scenes.

In The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason is finally going to turn the tables on the CIA and find out who is responsible in the organization for creating “Operation Treadstone” and making him into a killer.  Along the way, Bourne gathers clues from reporter Simon Ross (Paddy Considine) and Neal Daniels (Colin Stinton), a CIA Station Chief in Madrid, about an “Operation Blackbriar” that bears striking similarities to “Operation Treadmill” and which Bourne thought he had shut down.  Unlike prior films, Bourne receives more help from CIA operatives this time around who are sympathetic to his cause such as Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), Bourne’s former CIA contact and CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy (Joan Allen).  Despite the help, the Director of the CIA, Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn), has assigned CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) to Bourne’s case.  Vosen is dirty and has connections to Operation Blackbriar so he orders Bourne and Parsons to be terminated rather than captured.  Bourne must match wits with Vosen.  Can he recover the Blackbriar files, finally uncover all the persons responsible for his Black Ops training, and learn the truth behind his mysterious past?  Will he decide whether he can be more than a killer blindly following orders?

Extras include a test to see if you have what it take to be a spy (Be Bourne Spy Training); a look at the films exotic locations (Man on the Move: Jason Bourne – From Berlin to Tangier), a look at the films stunts and action sequences (Rooftop Pursuit, Planning the Punches, Driving School, New York Chase); director commentary by Paul Greengrass and deleted scenes.

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