Ranking the BOURNE villains – from worst to best


Every hero requires a villain and the Jason Bourne franchise has plenty of villains to root against. I do want to see him go up against other groups of villains though, as opposed to just CIA bigwigs and their hired assassins. Maybe for the next sequel, Bourne could take down some other group of baddies. In the meantime, here’s my list of worst to best villains of the franchise so far. Please note I’m excluding The Bourne Legacy without Matt Damon in the lead because that’s a crappy film and I don’t count it as part of the Bourne franchise.

Naturally this post contains spoilers so proceed with caution if you haven’t seen any of the Bourne films yet.

4. The Bourne Supremacy – Ward Abbot, Gretkov and Kirill

Even though it’s my favorite film of the franchise, I thought the villains were pretty weak. Abbot (Brian Cox) was just a greedy weasel who tried to cover up his mess when the shit hit the storm. Gretkov is a typical powerful businessman whose only goal was to get super rich and killed anyone who got in his way. I like Karl Urban’s assassin character here but he didn’t have much to do. He’s just another hired gun and nothing else. I would’ve loved to see more development of his character and maybe that epic climatic car chase between him and Bourne would’ve been even sweeter.

3. The Bourne Ultimatum – Noah Vosen, Ezra Kramer and Paz

I like David Strathairn as an actor but somehow I thought he’s sort of miscast here as the lead villain in this third Bourne film. Vosen is basically a Yes Man type of character whose main goal was to keep his boss out of trouble. To me he’s not menacing enough to be the lead villain in a spy film. Now the true villain in the film was actually Scott Glenn’s character but we saw so little of him that he became non-existent. Edgar Ramirez’s Paz was just another hired gun whose mission is to kill Bourne.


2. Jason Bourne – Robert Dewey and Asset

In the newest Boune film, these two villains were given more to do than just trying to take down Bourne. Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) is an old school type of person and he truly believes what he’s doing is to keep the US safe from terror. He’s cunning and very manipulative and of course dangerous if you decide to cross him.


Vincent Cassel’s assassin character was given some motivation as to why he wanted to kill Bourne and I thought it worked pretty well. He’s not just another hired gun who wants Bourne dead; he got his own agenda and won’t listen to reasons until Bourne is gone. For those who’ve seen the film, you’re probably why I didn’t mention Heather Lee. Well I’m not sure if she’s truly a villainous person or someone who still wants to use Bourne to climb the CIA power ladder. I think of her as the younger version of Pamela Landy.

1. The Bourne Identity – Conklin and The Professor

Chris Cooper’s villainous turn in the first film is still my favorite. He’s got as much screen time as Bourne and also has some juiciest and fun scenes. My favorite scene is when he found out the French police has screwed up and alarmed Bourne and then Bourne was able to get away, again. He’s started screaming in the CIA operation room and everyone was silent and scared shitless. I think most of us have been in that situation when your boss loses his cool and you don’t know what to say. His confrontation scene with Bourne near the end was another one I really enjoy, I thought Cooper totally outshine Damon in that scene.

Clive Owen’s The Professor wasn’t on the screen that much but his mysterious character somehow made more impact than other assassins in the franchise. His scene with Bourne before his death (shown above) is still my favorite; it’s quite and kind of chilling as to what these assassin has to go through in their daily lives.


Ruth’s Take

I agree with Ted’s list though I probably would switch #3 and #4 because I think Brian Cox and Karl Urban are far more interesting than the David Strathairn/Edgar Ramirez pairing. In fact I barely remember Ramirez whilst all the chase scenes with Urban is extremely memorable.

“I always work alone.”

I totally agree with Ted’s number 1 pick, and that chilling final scene between Damon and Owen is one of my favorites of the entire franchise. Owen displays such a compelling vulnerability as an assassin that made the character human instead of just another cold killing machine.

So what do you think of this list? How would YOU rank the Bourne villains?


27 thoughts on “Ranking the BOURNE villains – from worst to best

  1. I loved Brian Cox because he seemed like someone who would actually exist in real life. Plus I met him once!

    And Karl Urban doesn’t get many lines (maybe one?) but he fights Bourne with his car!

    Can you tell Bourne Supremacy is my favourite of the series?!

    1. I LOVE Brian Cox! You’ve met him?? So jealous Mikey! When I wrote my script, he’s who I had in mind for one of the main characters.

      Yes, Karl’s car chase in Bourne Supremacy is truly one of the best in the history of movie car chases!

  2. I completely forgot about Clive Owen as the villain. But what I do remember, I liked. That said, I never get tired of watching Vincent Cassel. His facial expressions do miracles on the screen.

    1. Hi Cindy, apparently there were more scenes of Owen’s character in the longer cut of the film but many of his scenes were dropped for the final version. If you watch the original trailer of The Bourne Identity, you’ll see a couple of scenes where he chased Bourne and they had a shootout.

      If you like Cassel then you’ll like him in the newest film.

  3. I always get a little choked up when Bourne kills The Professor, because they were both abused the same way and it’s like Bourne’s killing himself. Then the guy whose house he blows up with the cardboard in the toaster…that’s a wicked fight scene but also sad to me for the same reason. Maybe I am just an old softie reading too far into action movies!

    1. Hi Paula, yeah that’s a good scene between Bourne and The Professor. I was going to mention that other assassin in The Bourne Supremacy but his presence was too short and I don’t really count him as one of the villains. I do love that fight scene too!

        1. Hi Paula! Indeed it does, and fortunately I do have the trilogy box set 🙂 You’ve seen Jason Bourne right? I think you’d enjoy that one too!

          1. Owning the trilogy is smart. I missed my screening! But I do want to see it. Hopefully there will be another boxed set with the new one and I will pick that up.

            1. Oh yeah, that’s wise to wait until the new one is included!

              P.S. We still need to connect about featuring you on my blog, girl! I want to hear more about your adventure w/ Cinema Detroit 😉

                1. Let’s do! I’m so impressed w/ what you’ve accomplished w/ Cinema Detroit, girl! I hope one day I could make my film a reality and it’d screen in YOUR cinema 😀

  4. I’m with you Ted. I think the first film had the better villains despite Bourne Ultimatum winning “best film”. There’s was depth the antagonist which gave him a resonance others don’t quite match.

    1. I still think Supremacy is the best in the series but yeah Cooper’s villain in the first one is still the best in the series. I hope for the next sequel, they’ll have villains that doesn’t belong in the CIA. The Mission: Impossible films went away with having their villains being part of IMF, hopefully the next Bourne film, they’ll have a new set of bad guys.

    1. Thanks Chris. I probably would’ve put Urban’s character in the number 1 spot if he has more to do than just a hired gun. He has two lines of dialogs in the entire film and his only motivation was to just kill Bourne. As I mentioned, The Bourne Supremacy is still my favorite film in the franchise and it’s kind of disappointing that the villains were quite weak. But the film’s really about Jason Bourne and Pamela Landy and I guess Greengrass really wanted to focus the story on those two characters. I believe in the first draft the script, Abbot and Gretkov had bigger roles in the story.

  5. Can’t agree with Ted I’m afraid. For me it’s:

    1. Supremacy
    2. Ultimatum
    3. Jason Bourne
    4. Identity (a bit unfair, as it’s a really good film but can’t stand up to the Greengrass ones)

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