From the moment that Jason Bourne’s half-dead, unconscious body was scooped out of the river by a bunch of crusty old European fishermen with nothing better to do than catch dead bodies in their tuna nets, he instantly became American public enemy number one. The ex-CIA special operative suffered from some kind of bizarre, permanent severe long-term amnesia, presumably stemming from a crazy offshoot of post-traumatic stress disorder (though it should be noted that in the original Robert Ludlum book, Bourne sustained a gunshot wound that glanced off of his skull, making the whole amnesia thing a little easier to swallow), and had no fucking clue who the crap he was. The man didn’t even know his own name, but holy shit his badassitude had been so deeply ingrained into his core being that from the second that three bullets were pulled from his cold, lifeless corpse he was ready to start busting motherfuckers’ heads open. Over the next couple of years, he would prove himself to be an insane badass espionage expert capable of single-handedly taking on everything from the United States government to Swiss park rangers, and making pretty much everyone in the world his bitch in the process.
Despite having no memory of his history as a top-secret black ops hardcore assassin motherfucker, Bourne’s training and badassitude has been so thoroughly hardwired into his brain that he was instantly competent in all manner of escape, evasion, hand-to-hand combat, and weapons skills right from the beginning of his adventure. On the run from the invisible black hand of the Central Intelligence Agency, Bourne spends quite a bit of time evading security cameras, leaping off of roofs, beating the shit out of elite agency operatives, and pulling insane handbrake turns while flying down the busy streets of crowded European cities in a bunch of cars that are about one step removed from a broken-down 1988 Yugo. Other than a massive wad of cash and about two dozen forged passports from a bunch of countries nobody has even heard of before, Bourne has no resources to speak of, and instead uses his wits, intelligence, instinct and asskicking prowess to evade capture, avoid detection, and exact revenge on some CIA directors who so royally screwed him over and are now trying to cover up their mistake by hiring dudes to put bullets into Bourne’s face. His ultimate goal is to retrace his steps and learn the secret behind his existence, but you can pretty much assume that the process isn’t quite that easy when you’ve got America’s most well-trained, well-funded secret agents trying to kill you every time you even think about taking a leak.
Eventually Bourne manages to escape capture, get the CIA off his back, and lay low in India for a while with his girlfriend, but a guy like Jason Bourne can never truly leave his old life behind. One day some jackass Russian motherfucker shows up and shoots Bourne’s girlfriend in the head with a high-powered sniper rifle (Marie actually survives in the books and the two more-or-less live happily ever after, but the plots of the movie series and the books are so wildly different that it’s pretty much impossible to reconcile them both in one article), so Bourne comes out of hiding and starts living for some motherfucking revenge. He takes the fight to the front doors of CIA itself, battles a corrupt Russian oil baron, and eventually exacts his vengeance in an insane car chase that culminates in Bourne using a stolen taxi cab to pile-drive his girlfriend’s murderer head-first into a tunnel support. Oh, and he also exposes an illegal plot by corrupt Agency directors to assassinate US citizens, kills half a dozen professional assassins, spits vodka in a cop’s face, learns the secret of his identity, fakes his own death, pops a wheelie on a dirtbike and independently outwits the police departments of Zurich, Madrid, Paris, Naples, Berlin, Moscow, London and New York City in the process. All in a day’s work for the world’s greatest super spy this side of James Bond.
One thing that is totally fucking badass about Jason Bourne is his insane hand-to-hand combat kung fu ninja face-punching skills. His fighting style is completely professional and direct – you don’t see any flying spin kicks or crazy backflips or wacky wire-fu Iron Monkey shit with Bourne, just quick, efficient strikes with no wasted motion, geared to disarm and subdue the enemy. He can be facing three trained police officers with their pistols trained on his face, and with only five moves he’ll steal their weapons, knock them unconscious and take control of the situation before his opponents even have a chance to finish screaming their pain-fueled profanities. He's also really good at punching guys in the balls. Of course, no badass secret agent worth his handgun would let himself be slowed down by a bunch of average cops, and Bourne’s hand-to-hand truly skills shine when he goes up against some of the ultra-insane CIA assassins the Agency sends out to take his shit down. He can hold his own against the best of the best, and he has an awesome talent for using the environment to his advantage, constantly beating the fuck out of his enemies with whatever ordinary household items he manages to wrap his fingers around. He’s used everything from books and extension cables to washcloths and candlesticks as lethal instruments of extreme bodily harm, pummeling and choking the shit out of some of the most dangerous and deadly men on the planet. He took one knife-wielding assassin out by stabbing him repeatedly in the face and arms with a shitty ten-for-a-dollar ballpoint stick pen (something I dream of doing every single day that I’m working at my shitty desk job), and busted another guy up armed only with a fucking rolled-up magazine like he was some kind of disobedient puppy. When the Agency sent a hardcore badass sniper out to take him down, Bourne hunted the dude down like Simo Hayha in a long black coat, outsmarting him and finally shooting him in the chest a couple times with a double-barreledDoom-style hunting shotgun. He’s also a master of interrogation who can get any information he wants from people simply by threatening them or beating the crap out of them Jack Bauer-style.
It’s more than just ultimate asskickings that make Yay-son Bourne Identity such a balls-out super spy, however. His whole attitude and composure oozes badassery – he’s a consummate professional who stays completely cool under pressure and who is always one step ahead of his target. There’s no dramatics, no flashiness, no wasted motions. He doesn’t slip up, he doesn’t make mistakes, and oh yeah, every woman he meets falls in love with him because he’s also goddamned Matt Damon and I read somewhere that Matt Damon has that effect on women. He can track down people who wish to stay hidden, elude capture by the best police agencies in the world and take out anyone who stands in his way without blinking, but even through all the professionalism and ruthless efficiency associated with his position as a black ops assassin, the Bourne character manages to retain his humanity somehow. He’s not a machine like the Terminator or some shit, he’s a man who is tortured by his past, and his flaws give him some distinctly human characteristics, which is also refreshing to see in an uber-badass.
|“I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Now why would I know that? How can I know that and not know who I am?”
Bourne's Top Five Improvised Weapons
Fight Scenes from The Bourne Identity
Bourne vs. Desh