REVIEW: THE BOURNE IDENTITY (1988)

CAST

Richard Chamberlain (Shogun)
Jaclyn Smith (Charlies Angels)
Anthony Quayle (Lawrence of Arabia)
Donald Moffat  (The Thing)
Peter Vaughn (Game of Thrones)
Denholm Elliott (Raiders of The Lost Ark)
James Faulkner (Atomic Blonde)

The Bourne Identity (1988)While movie-goers are probably more familiar with the newer, Matt Damon, version of The Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum’s novel was also the basis for a two-part TV miniseries during 1988, also titled The Bourne Identity. As many did , I too saw The Bourne Identity film having no knowledge of the earlier miniseries.

I found that it worked it is much closer to the original source material. Richard Chamberlain (Jason Bourne) and Jaclyn Smith (Marie) star, with Anthony Quayle (General Villiers), Donald Moffat (David), Yorgo Voyagis (Carlos), Peter Vaughan (Koening), and Denholm Elliot (Washburn) in supporting roles. A man washes ashore in France with no memory of who he is and several gunshot wounds. Nursed back to health by a doctor, the only clue he has to his past is a Swiss bank account number surgically implanted in his hip. At the bank in Zurich, he discovers his name – Jason Bourne – and that he possesses a large sum of money. When he tries to leave the bank, however, assassins attempt to kill him. In order to escape, he takes Marie, an economist, hostage. In tracing the few clues and recalled memories he uncovers, he realizes that much of his past matches that of Carlos, a European assassin. With numerous agencies after him, Jason Bourne must uncover his true identity and why he’s wanted…before he ends up dead.

The Bourne Identity is a very competent thriller that mainly escapes the TV miniseries ‘feel.’ Though running a tad over three hours in length, it is, for the most part, well paced and interesting. However, some of the film does move a bit too slowly, especially much of the second hour. Some of the story is overly complicated as well. In my mind, though, there is only one main problem with The Bourne Identity, and that is Richard Chamberlain. Chamberlain is overly stiff and displays little in the way of facial expressions throughout, making the character rather bland. The chemistry between he and Smith is decent, though nothing special.

The Bourne Identity TV miniseries from 1988 is easy to recommend to those intrigued with the theatrical release.