The Bourne Identity made a splash when it came out and quickly became a reference. The action tries to stay realistic while giving a powerful adrenaline ride to the audience. What makes this spy flick interesting is that the main character is hyper-precise, an unstoppable machine, the settings are unglamorous, and the protagonists and their motivation simple to understand.
That being said, the story itself is not simple, it's very captivating, and the main idea extremely interesting. The characters have a certain depth to them, and even though their psychological profile is not complex, it is well done. The camera work is incredible. The theme song is good. The action and editing are tight, and the details all work out logically.
Matt Damon definitely plays one of his best role and gets you right into Bourne's skin. Franka Potente is just right as his lead female, You want to slap Chris Cooper's character, almost from the very start. Julia Stiles has a small role but at the time, it was a mature one for her. And Brian Cox wraps it up quite nicely, while the rest of the crew doesn't disappoint a single time.
Now, the few little points I found that did work for me. The night sea shots look like a set. Terrible. Fortunately, you only see a few. The dictator is a bit over the top. And finally, the car would never have made it down those steps in driving condition, but that's a common movie mistake. The cars in chases continue to run whatever happens to them. Bottom line, those are all minor problems that you see only after watching the film many times.
This is one of the great action flicks. Don't miss it.