In franchise-mad modern Hollywood, it's become a tradition unto itself: Whenever you have a new installment of a series coming to theaters, the prior films will be re-released on DVD. With The Bourne Ultimatum hitting theaters August 3rd, Universal's released a three-disc set, The Bourne Files, that collectively packages The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Bourne Supremacy (2004) along with a new disc of extras. There are two questions raised by any set like this -- namely, 'Do the films hold up?' and 'Are the extras worth it?'

The first question's easily answered: Yes. The Bourne films were perfectly-timed: James Bond, our number-one screen icon of espionage action, had descended into a sickly morass of high-tech high camp that made his adventures closer to the high-flying exploits of Batman or Wonder Woman (Die Another Day's invisible car, for example) than the down-to-the-ground espionage action of the character's roots. Directed by Doug Liman from a script by Tony Gilroy, The Bourne Identity was so grim and gray and wrapped in cynicism that it immediately stood out in contrast against the bright, light gloss of the Bond series. The Bourne Identity started with a hook that stuck for the duration of the film: A man is pulled from the sea. He has no memory. He wants to find out who he is. He learns that he was not necessarily a good person -- and that others want him dead. Played by Matt Damon, Jason Bourne wasn't a bulletproof superhero; he was a human being with armed with instincts and training and pure will, capable of doing whatever was required to survive.
categories DVDs, Cinematical