The Bourne Identity (1988)
Not to be confused with the recent Matt Damon vehicle, The
Bourne Identity is a 1988 two-part TV miniseries based on the
Robert Ludlum thick paperback best-seller. 'How can I find out who I
am if I've been turned into another person?' Amnesiac Richard Chamberlain
is fished out of the sea by drunken doc Denholm Elliott, who patches
him up and discovers a Swiss bank account number sewn into his thigh.
Coming to believe that he is Jason Bourne, international assassin, our
hero is sought after by the CIA, several European police forces and
the gang of an evil terrorist, hooking up with unlikely economist Jaclyn
Smith to get to the bottom of the mystery, stay alive and face the big
baddie. Stretched over three hours, this has room for a lot of the complex
plot dropped from the big-screen movie, but this also means that the
thrills are often interrupted by soap opera scenes. Chamberlain is perhaps
too aptly cast as a man without an identity, but Smith matches him for
lack of expression without any excuse given in the script. Aside from
Donald Moffatt and Shane Rimmer in the CIA, the supporting cast mostly
consists of distinguished Brits delivering value-for-money ham, mostly
with cod-French accents, especially Anthony Quayle as a deGaulle-style
General, Jacqueline Pearce as a dress-designing spy and Peter Vaughan
as a heavy Swiss banker.
First published on Amazon.co.uk.
All text on this page © Kim Newman