Some of the reviews of The Bourne Identity
I've seen have criticized it for not being more than a simple, straightforward thriller. Me, on the other hand, I've seen too many action fliks ruined by sappy dialogue and too many important subjects trivialized by a popcorn movie's misguided attempt at profundity. Case-in-point: Windtalkers
. Okay, so the battle sequences were well-done. I'd expect no less from Woo. But there were long, long, long stretches in between that were downright painful to watch. And the contribution of the Navajo codetalkers to victory in the Pacific (something that cannot be overestated) is completely obscured by the action sequences. For example, the friendly-fire scene was based on a real event. The only way they were able to stop the shelling was by the Navajos talking to each other. Anyone else could have been the enemy impersonating an American. But when a Navajo codetalker said stop the shelling, they knew it was the real thing. SPOILER, I GUESS
In the movie, the Navajo codetalker decides to impersonate a Japanese, walk into their camp and steal their radio (his own radio having been shot). First of all, I found the idea that just because white Americans can't tell the difference between a Navajo and Japanese (assuming that's true), that the Japanese would also be fooled offensive. And I was somewhat surprised at it coming from an Asian director. Second, the whole sequence rendered the code irrelevant. Yahzee ends up conveying the message in non-cryptic English. END SPOILER
I don't care all that much about historical accuracy in movies, but I think a movie that purports to be about Navajo codetalkers should be about Navajo codetalkers.
You can have Windtalkers. Give me a simple cat-and-mouse tale with a killer car chase and Clive Owen as an assasin and I'm happy as a clam. The Bourne Identity
is well-paced, clicking efficiently along. And I liked Matt Damon a lot in this. True, most of what he does is look good in bulky sweaters and heavy coats, but he does that very well. No, really, I thought he effectively conveyed someone operating on instinct and muscle memory. I didn't like the ending so much (happy, you know), but otherwise, it was a good ride.