Throwback Tuesday: Fave scenes from THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002)


Hello friends! I thought I’d introduce a new blog series, as I’m so good at keeping up with every single blog series I’ve put together, right 😉 This series is sort of inspired by Deadpool believe it or not. I just saw it last night and it’s got a lot of hilarious 80s throwbacks so I thought why not do a throwback post?

So this series is to highlight a scene/quote/photo what have you from my favorite movies that’s at least a decade or older. And since we just saw the Jason Bourne trailer during the Super Bowl, it made me want to re-watch the original trilogy (I’m not counting the lame Bourne Legacy w/ Jeremy Renner).

Firstly, look at what Matt Damon look like fourteen years ago. Yep, it has been that long since The Bourne Identity was released in 2002! I’d say he still looks pretty good now after over a decade, I mean he’s got more lines on his face which adds more character and grit. He looks like he’s even more pissed off too, which made him scarier, ahah.

Damon as Jason Bourne in 2002 and in 2016

Look at that baby-faced Damon in the first Bourne movie. Who’d have thought he’d be a highly-efficient killing machine?? I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of Damon before Bourne. I mean, I didn’t dislike him or anything, I just didn’t think he was anything special. I never would’ve thought he’d be good in a role like this so imagine my surprise that not only did I LOVE the first Bourne movie, it also changed my opinion about Damon in that he can be super bad-ass!

Now, there are a ton of awesome action sequences here, but I always LOVE a good chase scene. Especially set in one of my favorite European city! This was directed by Doug Liman who recently did Edge of Tomorrow.

Who doesn’t love Clive Owen. It’s absolutely brilliant to see him (the man who could be Bond) as the strong-silent-type villain opposite Bourne? I think the finale is fantastic, but if you haven’t seen this movie yet you might not want to watch this.

Are you a fan of the Bourne franchise? What’s your memory of the first time you watched The Bourne Identity?

Weekend Viewing Roundup: Bourne & yes, more Gregory Peck marathon!

Hello all… it’s a cinema-free weekend roundup again I’m afraid. But I was really bummed out that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Artist and Coriolanus, THREE of my most-anticipated movies I had hoped would arrive by now are NOWHERE to be found within a 50-mile radius. It’s a shame really, I mean, you’d think that given the excellent reviews the studios would at the very least consider ONE theater in Minneapolis area to carry their movie!! Seriously, sometimes I feel like Hollywood don’t think people in the Upper Midwest don’t watch movies! FYI, we don’t live in igloos, y’know…

Ok, end rant… just need to get that off my system…

Now, thank God for home cinema, as I managed to quite a few stuff this weekend.

Bourne Identity (2002)

As I mentioned in my Five for the Fifth post, we got the Bourne trilogy on Black Friday. This is one of the rare trilogies in which all three movies were actually GOOD, not just decent but EXCELLENT.  It’s been ages since we saw any of the Bourne movies and I kind of forgot most of the details about the first one.

A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and without memory, then races to elude assassins and recover from amnesia.

Matt Damon really is the perfect choice as Bourne, which was a pleasant surprise to me at the time as he really didn’t strike me as the ‘bad-ass assassin trained to kill with his bare hands’ kind of guy. But yet, he is totally believable as that character, yet has the sensitivity to make you care for his well-being and his ‘mission’ to break away from everything he’s been trained to do. The supporting cast is top notch: Brian Cox, Chris Cooper, Julia Stiles… and Clive Owen in a brief-but-memorable role.

Based on Robert Ludlum’s novel and directed by Doug Liman (Mr & Mrs Smith), this is the anti-Bond espionage thriller that delivers on all counts… action, suspense, intrigue, even romance. German actress Franka Potente (Run, Lola Run) is such a breath of fresh air than the typical Hollywood flawless-but-boring starlet as Bourne’s partner-in-crime turned lover. The filming locations in France, Czech Republic, Italy and Greece offer gorgeous scenery, as well as make the chase even more exciting. I also love the car chase with a vintage mini through the streets of Paris… it almost rival that one in the opening sequence of The Transporter.

Arabesque (1966)

My pal Vince recommended this to me just before I got on with my Gregory Peck marathon. Fortunately, it’s part of the Gregory Peck’s box set I bought just before Thanksgiving.

Story of international intrigue involving a university professor, an Arab prime minister, a ruthless businessman, a beautiful spy, and hieroglyphics.

Some of the reviews I read said this movie’s got a bit of Bond and a bit of Hitchcock. Even the DVD cover and the opening title design with Henry Mancini’s score is VERY Bond-esque. Now, I’ve always thought Gregory would make an awesome Bond, though given his credence, I seriously doubt he’d even consider playing such a role.

According to IMDb, the part of the bumbling professor David Pollock was originally written for Cary Grant, it’s really tailor-made for him. But you know what, I think Peck’s comic timing was pretty darn good. He had that inherently-likable quality about him and he seemed to relish in being all goofy after the serious roles he’s played. The star of the show however, is Sophia Loren. The ultra-sultry Italian actress was in her prime and was more than up for the task to play the seductive Arabic mystery woman Yasmin who knew more than she let on. The fashion by Christian Dior is almost a character itself in this movie, especially the ‘nighty’ she wears the first time she meets Pollock.

You don’t really take this kind of movie seriously, there are more plot holes than the plethora of shoes Loren wore in this movie. But it’s a good escapist fun through and through, with tons of cheeky, memorable scenes, especially the one where Pollock hides inside Yasmin’s shower and playing footsie when she drops the soap! In the Conversation with Gregory Peck documentary, Peck was asked in a Q&A if Loren was really naked in that scene. Peck was coy about it, replying… “I can’t really say, but the view was spectacular.” Ahah, we believe you, Mr. Peck!

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man Tom Robinson against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.

Oh my… where do I begin… there are so many things I want to say on this one. When I’m done with my Gregory Peck marathon (probably in a couple of months?), I plan on writing special appreciation posts on a select few of his films, and for sure this one will be at the top of the list.

Minutes after the film’s over, I tweeted this.. ‘Some films will linger for days, some for weeks, and some a lifetime. I think To Kill A Mockingbird will stay with me forever…’ I’m still mulling it over after seeing this about 48 hours ago. I’m amazed why it took me this long to finally see this masterpiece. My friend Dan at Top 10 Films listed this as number one in his list of Top 10 American Films about Race and Prejudice, and rightly so.

On top of the momentous racial issue, this film also offer a moving depiction of fatherly love… Atticus Finch was the hero to his daughter Scout and son Jem first before he become the town hero defending racial prejudice. His tender scenes with Scout, especially in the bedroom reading scene, is as powerful as his courtroom speech. This is a role tailor-made for Peck who exemplifies quiet strength beautifully, I really can’t imagine anyone else in this role. His Oscar win (his fifth nomination) was truly well-deserved… and of course, more than a little overdue.

Besides Peck, the other performances are noteworthy as well. Brock Peters is excellent as Tom Robinson and his courtroom scenes are really heart-wrenching. Robert Duval in his debut performance only has a brief role here, but it’s certainly memorable. But the film truly belongs to Mr. Peck, it’s no wonder he’ll forever be known as Atticus Finch. It’s also fitting that AFI has chosen Atticus as the Number One On-Screen Hero in the last 100 Years.

Just a little trivia from IMDb:
The watch used in the film was a prop, but author Harper Lee gave Gregory Peck her father’s watch after the film was completed because he reminded her so much of him. Mary Badham (Scout) and Gregory Peck became close during filming and kept in contact for the rest of his life. He always called her Scout.

So what did you all see this weekend? If you’ve seen any of these films, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Guest Post: Musings on Alternate Endings

So after reading Castor’s article ‘great movies … until the third act‘, I thought I should write up an article about alternative ending(s) to some well-known films. Most film fans know that directors or studio people demand a new ending if say, the first test screening didn’t go too well, or maybe the director just didn’t like the original ending from the script. The following films have a completely different ending to the ones released in the theater and these endings can’t be found on deleted scenes on DVD/BD. Some of the endings were actually filmed, but the studio or director decided to cut those scenes out and replace with a new one. Some alternative endings on certain films you can actually see on DVD/BD because the director shot it but decided to cut it from the final film, so those don’t count.

Here are the films with big alternative ending that might have changed the outlook of the film:

The Bourne Identity

Originally the film was going to end in NYC just like the novel, it was supposed to have a big shootout scene in a subway station but because of 9/11 tragedy, they decided to shoot the action scene in Paris instead. In this particular climax scene, Bourne was being ambushed by the CIA assassins and it would’ve have been a big shootout sequence, which involves machine guns, motorcycles and rocket launchers. Universal wasn’t too thrilled that during the shoot, so far the film doesn’t have a big action scene so they wanted to go out with a bang and director Doug Liman agreed. In fact, Universal was going to give him an extra $5 – 10mil to shoot the scene. But then 9/11 happened and the film’s producer Frank Marshall decided it wasn’t such a good idea to include such a violent sequence after the tragedy.

What Marshall didn’t mention was that Matt Damon refused to be involved in that big shootout scene. In an interview, Damon said he didn’t sign up to do a Rambo movie. Liman on other hand, wanted to keep that scene but he relented after he learned Damon won’t do it, obviously you can’t shoot a big action scene without your leading man. So they rewrote the script and shot the small shootout sequence in the apartment building. There’s another alternative opening and ending to this film, it’s available on DVD/BD if you’re interested.

BTW, Liman got his wish on his next film Mr. & Mrs. Smith, if you remember that film has a big shoot out at the end.

The Saint

So okay this film wasn’t a big hit or well liked but I enjoyed it and there’s a big chunk of the film that was cut out. After the film was released, a lot of people (including myself) complained that the film didn’t have enough action at the end; well the film didn’t really have any action at all for the climax scene. Per IMDb, here’s the description of original ending of the film:

In the original version of the film, Dr. Russell collapses while giving a lecture and dies in The Saint’s arms. The Saint sees Tretiak, Jr. stabbing him in the leg with the tip of his cane. Thus the final half-hour has him set to destroy the villains’ plans and avenge her death. With Dr. Botvin’s help, he switches the formulas around and humiliates Tretiak during his show trial of the Russian president. The Saint battles Dr. Russell’s killer on a stairwell as Russian tanks pound outside, exposing and setting fire to the vast stockpile of heating oil in the basement. With the stairwell disintegrating around them, the fight spills out on to the chandelier, suspended above the blazing oil.

The Saint teases Treatiak, Jr. with the disc containing the formula for cold fusion. As he reaches out for it, The Saint cuts the rope and Tretiak, Jr. plummets to a fiery death. Returning to Dr. Russell’s home, the Saint finds a letter from her, a tear fills his eye and he vows from now on to use his skills only for good. Test audiences didn’t like the way Dr. Russell died three-quarters of the way into the film. Footage from the original ending features prominently in the film’s primary trailer. Director Phillip Noyce hopes one day to be able to restore the original version for a Director’s Cut DVD.

I would love to see this version someday; maybe Paramount will let director Phillip Noyce do a director’s cut version. But I highly doubt we’ll ever see it since the film was never a big hit and not considered a cult favorite.

28 Days Later

Now, you can find alternative endings of the film on DVD/BD, one was shot while other only made it as far as story boarding. Since I’m too lazy to write, I’m referencing Wikipedia:

The “Radical Alternative Ending”, rather than a bare ending, is a radically different development of the movie from the midpoint onwards; it was not filmed and is presented on the DVD as a series of illustrated storyboards with voiceovers by director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland. When Frank is infected at the military blockade near Manchester, the soldiers do not enter the story. Instead, Jim, Selena and Hannah are somehow able to restrain the infected Frank, hoping they will find a cure for the virus nearby as suggested in the radio broadcast. They soon discover that the blockade had protected a large medical research complex, the same one featured in the first scene of the film where the virus was developed. Inside, the party is relieved to find a scientist self-barricaded inside a room with food and water. He will not open the door because he fears they will take his food, although he does admit that the “answer to infection is here.”

Unfortunately, he refuses to talk further because he does not want to make an emotional attachment to people who will soon be dead. After hours of failed attempts to break through the door or coax the man out, Jim eventually brings Hannah to the door and explains Frank’s situation. The scientist reluctantly tells them that Frank can only be cured with a complete blood transfusion, and supplies them with the necessary equipment. After learning that he is the only match with Frank’s blood type, Jim sacrifices himself so that Frank can survive with his daughter. Just as his journey began, Jim is left alone in the abandoned medical facility, and Selena, Hannah and Frank move into the room with the scientist as a horde of the infected breach the complex. The computer monitors show death and destruction come to life around a thrashing, infected Jim, who is strapped to the same table as the chimp had been in the opening scene.

Garland and Boyle explain that they conceived this ending to see what the film would be like if they did not expand the focus beyond the core four survivors. They decided against it because the idea of a total blood replacement as a cure was not credible. As Boyle said in the DVD commentary, it “didn’t make much sense” since the film had already established that one drop of blood can infect a person. “What would we do? Drain him of blood and scrub his veins with bleach?”

If you are a fan of the movie, I would highly recommend you check out this behind the scenes stuff on DVD/BD.

Patriot Games

Another of Phillip Noyce’s film has an alternative ending. This one wasn’t as big as The Saint’s ending but we it was quite different from the actual ending. In the original ending, the scene involved Jack Ryan and Sean Miller fighting on large rocks in the middle of the storm after the shoot-out in Ryan’s house. I remember Entertainment Tonight showing this particular scene during their visit to the set of the movie, but when I finally saw the film I was like what happened to the fight scene between Ryan and Miller? Well what happened was, they test-screened the film and the audience found the fight scene to be boring. So they decided to switch to the boat chase with machine guns and have Ryan and Miller fight on the boat instead.

I don’t think this film would’ve changed much had they went with the original ending but I would like to see that scene nonetheless. Unfortunately this ending is not available anywhere for us regular movie-watchers.

Well, those are some alternate endings I found interesting. Do any of these endings make you like the film more if you didn’t like ’em in the beginning? Or do those endings actually ruin the films for you?