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Jason Bourne: 10 Best Action Scenes, Ranked

The Bourne franchise boasts one of the most innovative and thrilling trilogies of all time. And although the subsequent entries have faced harsh criticism, they do have their moments. The action in this series is consistently filled with clear motivation, creativity, and practical stunts. It keeps even the more implausible stunts grounded, and introduced a unique and practical form of hand-to-hand combat.

During any chase or fight, there is often improvisation, which keeps things fresh. Paul Greengrass may have popularized “shaky cam”, a bane to moviegoers everywhere. But this series has a gritty, hard-hitting tone that is unique and appealing. In anticipation of Treadstone, let’s review the best action sequences from the entire Bourne franchise. Spoiler warning!

RELATED: The 10 Most Iconic Steven Spielberg Action Scenes, Ranked

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Start Now advertising 10 Legacy: Motorcycle Chase

This attempted reboot gets a lot of hate, both warranted and undue. The plot leaned a little hard into science-fiction, with the experimental pills. Also, there was far less martial arts, and Bourne’s absence looms over the story. However, in retrospect, there was certainly more world-building here than expected. This entry also addresses the aftermath and cost of Bourne’s rebellious actions, an element which is revisited for Jason Bourne. The selected chase scene yields to action-movie logic more so than usual, but remains fun nonetheless.

The sequence has interesting nuances, like Aaron avoiding people on a staircase while the supersoldier simply plows through them. On that note, running around traffic in the Philippines provides a unique, cramped setting.

9 Jason Bourne: Killing The Asset Jason Bourne (2016) - Vincent Cassel

This is one of the more rewarding action sequences in Jason Bourne. The film had issues with disparate storylines and a controversial retcon for Bourne’s origin story. Also, Alicia Vikander turns in her most disinterested performance. And although the Vegas chase was severely off-brand, the subsequent fight with the Asset is terrific.

It is contextually gripping, allowing Bourne to destroy the catalyst of his dark history. It also allows vengeance for Nikki and his father. The fight is distinctly personal, and until the end, even the music is largely absent. It isn’t as claustrophobic as its predecessors, but the location does suit the context.

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advertising 8 Ultimatum: Waterloo Matt Damon in the Waterloo sequence in The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum has the highest rating of the franchise on IMDb, for delivering compelling action and a perfect ending. The story was complete, which is how the studios ended up at such an impasse with the franchise. They had to retcon this movie’s ending with Landy just to move forward.

This gripping action scene is one of many foot chases in the series, which are basically unique to this franchise. Bourne helps guide a reporter through Waterloo station, as the government hunts him down for digging too deep. It’s incredible how much suspense and kinetic energy this series can generate without massive stunts or fancy gadgets. It’s a stealth game, but Bourne also dispatches with several men on the reporter’s tail. Bourne uses his wits throughout, which is equally entertaining as his brawn.

7 Supremacy: India Chase

The Bourne Supremacy had a more convoluted and intriguing plot than any of the other entries. It involves the theft and cover-up of twenty million dollars. The culprit frames Jason for a crime in Berlin that keeps things under wraps. So, he naturally wants Bourne dead, to tie up loose ends.

Kirill, an agent for the Russian co-conspirator, ends up killing Marie by mistake. It’s a thrilling scene, but certainly the most tragic. Jason’s relationship with Marie was always organic, and their chemistry undeniable. So, with her life in danger, the stakes were extremely high throughout the scene. Panicked dialogue keeps the tension high, and Marie’s last words are very impactful. The chase closes with a haunting image of Marie floating away underwater. The plot device feels cheap, but the execution is incredible.

RELATED: Natural Bourne Killer: The 10 Most Creative Kills In The Bourne Franchise, Ranked

advertising 6 Jason Bourne: Riots in Greece

Paul Greengrass’ frenetic directing and editing really lend themselves to something like a riot. And he captures the chaos exceptionally well. Even conceptually, staging a chase sequence in the middle of a riot is innovative and promising.

Jason’s coolheaded ability to maneuver throughout the fire and raucous protesters is definitely engaging. It’s implausible that Nikki Parsons doesn’t do much to remain stealthy. However, Jason’s race to meet and rescue her includes some of the best practical stunts in any action movie. It’s the kind of riveting force that is largely missing from the genre, these days. And the tragedy of Nikki’s death adds plenty of weight to the sequence.

5 Identity: Jason vs Castel Nicky Naude as Castel in The Bourne Identity

The Bourne Identity is a truly striking, cynical, inventive action film that delivered us a new kind of hero. The mystery, romance, and action are well balanced, and the tone is uniquely grounded for an action-oriented blockbuster. This scene of hand-to-hand combat was a big indicator of how different this franchise would be. The techniques are far more practical and realistic and include strategic use of the surroundings.

This style of combat would become essential to audiences’ expectations across the entire genre. It’s a great fight, with improvisation, and a stunning conclusion. Jason breaks Castel’s bones, and the man steals an opportunity to deliberately leap to his death. Both Casino Royale and Mission Impossible: III resorted to a similar tone and style to refresh their broken franchises.

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advertising 4 Supremacy: The Last Two

This fighting sequence expanded on the reputation of those before it, although it’s unclear how Jason finds the opponent. Jarda is the only other remaining Treadstone agent, and Jason’s distinct carefulness ramps up the tension. Jason keeps his distance, and almost seems anxious, clearly treating the man with a high degree of respect. Conversely, Jarda is the coolheaded one this time.

Knowing Bourne’s reputation, we can’t help but feel nervous. As soon as the phone rings, Jarda takes the opportunity to fight back. It’s the only sound throughout the scene, which is very brutal and definitely creative.

3 Identity: Embassy Escape Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity

This is another foot chase, and it really lets Bourne stand out in the pantheon of action heroes. It starts off with Bourne’s situational awareness and quickly dispatching some guards. The music kicks in, and the adrenaline really gets going.

But Bourne remains calm and strategic amid the chaos. It’s fascinating to watch him carefully outwit security, all of whom are armed to the teeth. Rather than simply overpower everyone, he uses clever tactics. He moves slowly to avoid drawing attention and steals a map to reach an old fire escape. The subsequent descent down the wall is absolutely captivating. It captures the height well and creates a great frame of reference by dropping Jason’s bag.

RELATED: The 10 Best James Cameron Action Scenes, Ranked

advertising 2 Supremacy: Outrunning Kirill

This is one of the longer chase sequences, but it’s the final confrontation between Kirill and Bourne. Both men have proven to be very capable, and the Russian is responsible for killing Marie. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the escalation is superb. The finale starts out with a foot chase, which absolutely radiates suspense. It does a great job of establishing Kirill’s capacity to track Jasin, using both clues and instinct.

But the scene still finds time for humor. Bourne hilariously intimidates someone to reclaim his cab. The ensuing car chase is literally perfect, with Bourne and Kirill matching wits at insane speeds. The practical stunts feel potent and convincing. Ultimately, Bourne’s reversal of Kirill’s tactic is really neat, and the scene closes with meaningful mercy.

1 Ultimatum: Desh in Tangier Joey Ansah as Desh in The Bourne Ultimatum

This is one of the most impressive action sequences ever made. Generally, the best chases on film involve the hero in pursuit of someone else. In this case, Nikki is on the run, after helping Bourne. Asset Desh Bouksani assassinates Daniels, a man with critical files that could undo the entire operation that created Bourne. The government then orders Desh after Nikki, for aiding Jason. Bourne must avoid the police, while Nikki flees Desh.

It’s a terrific combination of a claustrophobic motorcycle chase, leading to a rooftop foot chase, and into a fistfight. After exhausting himself, Jason is temporarily overwhelmed by Desh, but Nikki intervenes. Bourne has the opportunity to recover, and the ensuing martial arts is stunning. Various household objects prove fruitful. The scene became more claustrophobic throughout, from the streets to a bedroom, to the bathroom. This perfectly ramped up the escalation, until the satisfying and gritty choke.

NEXT: Bourne Again: 10 Characters We Need To See Back In The Next Bourne Movie


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