We saw 'Green Zone' last week and we can without a doubt assure you, Green Zone is not a Bourne move (no, really!) and here's why: Matt Damon's new film, 'Green Zone,' premieres this weekend and there are a few rumblings floating around that it appears to resemble the fourth installment of the Jason Bourne saga. Sure, it involves the same director and actor as the 'Bourne' films -- Paul Greengrass and Damon. And, sure, the same "shaky cam" technique is used throughout 'Green Zone' such as it was used in the 'Bourne' films. And, strangely enough, Matt Damon plays a military specialist who happens to be named Jason Bourne (OK, that part's not true).
After seeing 'Green Zone,' we can without a doubt assure you, 'Green Zone' is not a 'Bourne' move (no, really!). Here's why:
The Source Material
Matt Damon's Jason Bourne is a fictional character living in a fictional reality created by author Robert Ludlum. There were changes along the way, but the films do make an honest attempt to stay faithful to the tone of the source material (OK, at least the first movie tried).
'Green Zone' is inspired by the non-fiction book 'Imperial Life in the Emerald City,' but, really, who are we kidding? The film has very little to do with that book. In fact, ironically, most of the film takes place well outside of the Green Zone. The film could almost as easily have been called 'Wrigley Field,' because about as much of the film takes place at Wrigley field (none) as takes place in the Green Zone (very little.)
When we first meet Jason Bourne, he's floating face down in the Mediterranean and has no idea of his own identity. The Bourne films are about one person: Jason Bourne. Every character on screen has one of two purposes in the three Borne films: To capture Jason Bourne or be killed by Jason Bourne.
Damon's Roy Miller knows exactly who he is: He's an Army chief warrant officer who, when we first meet him, is leading a platoon in a raid of a possible WMD bunker. Guess what? There aren't any. As far as Damon's character in this film, think more Forrest Gump than James Bond. Damon's investigation seems to unwittingly put his fictional character right smack in the middle of historical events that led to the failures in the war in Iraq. He often finds himself involved in heated discussions with facsimiles of former New York Times reporter Judith Miller and the U.S. Administrator of Iraq, Paul Bremer.
Jason Bourne is trained in martial arts and has lightning quick reflexes. Bourne can quite easily win a fight when outnumbered. If you innocently grab Bourne's shoulder from behind, you're soon going to have a broken wrist.
Roy Miller has basic military hand-to-hand combat training. In other words: He tackles people. Miller can certainly carry his own in a fight, but if outnumbered, he's probably going to lose. If you innocently grab Miller's shoulder from behind, you're soon going to be asked by Miller how he can help you, sir.
Jason Bourne was a guy who had no memory of his past and really no inkling of the conspiracy surrounding him, but, somehow, still managed to accomplish his mission. Roy Miller plays (mostly) by the rules; Bourne doesn't even remember the rules.
Roy Miller knows exactly who he is and he knows -- as he makes it clear to his superiors -- something sure isn't right with the intelligence they've been given concerning WMDs. Alas, this leads to the overwhelming proof that Roy Miller is not a Jason Bourne clone: Bourne had no idea what he was doing and managed to defeat the corupt U.S. government; Miller knows exactly what he's doing and finds it most difficult to navigate through the government bureaucracy.
That is to say, both characters may appear unexpectedly in your office. And both will show up with a message to deliver: Bourne's will come from the business end of a pistol. Miller's will come from the business side of a pen; with a very strongly worded report.