The Quest for Jason Bourne





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The Quest for Jason Bourne

Dr Alex Tang


Who is Jason Bourne?

Robert Ludlum is an accomplised writer of best sellers. His plots are often intriguing, with a hint of truth so it is often difficult to distinguish between truth and fiction. Ludlum series of novels on Jason Bourne is my favourite amongst of all his novels.

David Webb was in charge of a special dark operations assassination team during the Vietnam under project Medusa. David is ‘Delta” and is the ruthless leader of the team. The team was made up of criminals and killers. During one of the operation, Delta killed Australian Jason Bourne because Bourne was a double agent. Because of the nature of the team, it was classified and nobody knew that Jason Bourne was dead.

Years later, a CIA black ops unit called Treadstone 71 recruited David Webb (Delta). Because the identity of Delta was too well known, David took on the name of Jason Bourne. The target was to get Carlos the Jackal, known to be the world’s most ruthless and successful assassin. Webb/Bourne took on the identity of Cain. Cain will be another ruthless successful assassin, often taking credits for Carlos’ kills. The idea is to get Carlos to come after Webb/Bourne/Cain so that Cain can eliminate Carlos. Unfortunately during one of the operations, Webb/Bourne/Cain lost his memory.

The Robert Ludlum novel, The Bourne Identity (1980) was where Webb tried to regain his memory as Jason Bourne. The Bourne Supremacy (1986), the US government tried to get David Webb to become Jason Bourne again. Apparently some one was using Jason Bourne’s name to conduct assassination in the Far East. In the end it turned out that there is no phony Bourne but a US government plot for Jason Bourne to kill a Chinese warlord. The Bourne Ultimatum (1990) was about Carlos taking revenge on Jason Bourne and the way these two assassins fought each other.

Eric Van Lustbader took up the series by writing The Bourne Legacy (2004) and The Bourne Betrayal (2007). I have almost finished reading The Bourne Betrayal which is an excellent thriller to read. 21st century films are The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). There was an earlier movie, The Bourne Identity (1988) starring Richard Chamberlain.





The present Bourne movies portray a simpler Jason Bourne and does not follow Robert Ludlum’s plot closely. The storyline for The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) is simple. It is to tie up all the loose ends in the earlier two movies. However the action and cinematography makes it exciting to watch and makes the movie longer. In a way, the screenplay was formulaic as it shows how Bourne eludes his pursuers, being helped by a girl who has to dye her hair, and the incompetence of CIA’s finest. Matt Damon plays a good Jason Bourne, making believable that a person can be trained as a weapon of mass destruction. I believe we will not see the end of Jason Bourne on the big screen.








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|posted 24 October 2007|


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