Jason Charles Bourne (real name David Webb) is a fictional character of Robert Ludlum novels and subsequent film adaptations starring Matt Damon. He first appeared in The Bourne Identity (1980). This novel was adapted for television in 1988 and a film by the same name in 2002.
Most of the members were murderers, fugitives, smugglers, arms dealers, or drug lords who were led by a man called Delta. Delta became well known as a ruthless person, with little regard for orders, but succeeding in all his missions. But the fact that "Delta" was really David Webb had become known to too many people. To get to Delta, his brother, Gordon Webb, a US Army Lieutenant stationed in Saigon, was kidnapped.
One member of Medusa was a man by the name of Jason Charles Bourne. During the mission to save Gordon Webb, it was found out that the Australian-born Jason Bourne was a double agent. Bourne was involved in illegal activity including slavery, narcotics, smuggling, and assassinations. With this knowledge, Delta executed Bourne in Tam Quan while he (Bourne) was busy exposing the rescue operation. This was on March 25, 1968. Due to the American government not wanting to acknowledge the existence of Medusa or its members, it never reported the death of Bourne, but rather listed his status as MIA.
Throughout the novel Bourne fights to learn about his past and his true identity while being chased by both the CIA and Carlos' henchmen. During the novel, at a hotel, Bourne takes a young woman hostage to escape. This woman, named Marie St. Jacques, is an employee of the Canadian government. Bourne and Marie start discovering the identity of Jason Bourne, the contract assassin. The true identity of David Webb is known only to those at Treadstone. She is convinced that the man she knows as Jason Bourne cannot be the ruthless killer that all discoveries they make seem to imply. It is due to Marie that Jason continues to search for his true identity and in the end finds the truth. Through this time, Bourne continually has the phrase "Cain is for Charlie, and Delta is for Cain" flash through his mind, propelling him in the direction of his mission. Charlie refers to Carlos in Spanish and Bourne (Cain) is to replace him.
Between the books Identity and Supremacy, Bourne marries Marie and they both settle down (although under guard) in a small town in Maine. David Webb would go on to become an associate professor in Asian studies at a local university.
When Supremacy starts, Marie is taken captive by the United States government in an attempt to turn David Webb back into his former self, the mythical Jason Bourne. While in reality it was the U.S. government who took Marie captive, it has pinned the blame on a fictitious powerful Chinese druglord. This scheme was conducted to send Bourne after a phony Jason Bourne who had been credited with a Far East political assassination that could, in a worst-case scenario, cause a civil war in China over the ownership of Hong Kong.
As Carlos the Jackal enters old age and his infamy fades, he decides that he will do two things before he dies: the first is to kill Jason Bourne. Webb's family is forced to hide in the Caribbean while Webb himself works with old friend and CIA agent Alex Conklin to hunt down and kill the Jackal first. Webb poses as an important member of Medusa, now a nearly omnipotent economic force that controls the commander of NATO, leading figures in the Defense Department, and large NYSE firms. The plan is to use Medusa's resources to contact the Jackal. Webb just misses the Jackal several times, including when the Jackal locates Webb's family in the Caribbean, before Webb stages his own death and convinces the Jackal that he has succeeded. Following this, the Jackal turns to his second goal: to destroy the KGB facility of Novgorod, where the Jackal was trained and later turned away. His files with his real identity were still stored there. Webb tracks the Jackal down with the help of Conklin and a KGB agent as the Jackal begins destroying the KGB compound. In a final confrontation, Webb at last kills the Jackal and returns to his family.
With the climactic events of The Bourne Ultimatum behind him, Jason Bourne is able to once again become David Webb, now professor of linguistics at Georgetown University. However, this serenity does not last for long and, when a silenced gunshot narrowly misses Webb's head, the Bourne Persona reawakens in him yet again. Bourne's first objective is to get to his long time friend and handler at the CIA, Alex Conklin. However, unbeknownst (as yet) to Bourne, a Hungarian by the name of Stepan Spalko has now drawn Jason into a web—one which he cannot escape as easily as his professorial façade.
Jason Bourne takes a mission to rescue his only friend in the CIA, Martin Lindros, who disappeared in Africa while tracking shipments of yellowcake uranium. Once safely back in America, Lindros persuades Bourne to help track the money trail of terrorists buying the nuclear material in Odessa. But once there, Bourne is hampered by confusing flashbacks of unfamiliar places and events and he wonders: Is someone brainwashing him in order to throw him off the trail? Worse, is the man he saved in Africa really Martin Lindros? Now, Bourne is alone gathering evidence while trying to stay one step ahead of the terrorists who won't let anyone stand in their way of destroying the U.S.
In the films, the character of Jason Bourne, portrayed by Matt Damon, is a much simpler character than the one described in the novels, the background story does not involve the Vietnam War and the only mention of Carlos the Jackal is an homage; "Carlos" is the assassin originally thought to have made an attempt on Nykwana Wombosi's life, but is just another alias.
Jason Bourne was born as David Webb on September 13, 1970, in Nixa, Missouri and joined the Army, later being recruited into Special Forces as a Green Beret. In his military career he went on to be indoctrinated into the elite Delta Force, attaining the rank of Captain. He is a Catholic as shown on his dog tags in The Bourne Ultimatum. The dog tags also show his blood type as type O and his Army affilliation, evident in their setup; however, a Treadstone file seen earlier in the film list his blood type as A+. His film backstory also makes no mention of Jason Bourne as a separate character (the real Jason Bourne in the novel backstory was a double agent who was killed by Webb, who then later assumed his identity); however, a scene in The Bourne Ultimatum implies this killing and identity exchange.
Webb volunteered for Operation Treadstone, which was a secret CIA black-ops program. The Bourne Ultimatum reveals that Webb's free will and sense of morality were intentionally broken down by means of an insidious behavior modification process; he was deprived of sleep for days on end; a hood was pulled over his head and he was repeatedly submerged head face-forward almost killing him; and he was told to shoot and kill an unknown bound, gagged and hooded man sitting in the corner of a room, as the head of the department asks him, "Will you commit to this program?". Webb's questions of "what has he done" were brushed aside; the man is to be killed because Webb has been ordered to kill him, and refusal to kill the man results in Webb being subjected to another near-death experience in the water tank. Finally Webb's personality was broken; he capitulated and killed the subject without remorse. The Treadstone chief welcomed him to the program, and told him that David Webb was dead and that he is now Jason Bourne.
As Jason Bourne he gained the knowledge of CIA's protocals and tradecrafts. His other special skills include expert in hand-to-hand combat, superb at handling vehicles, and speaks fluent English, French, Russian, Dutch, German, Swedish, and Spanish, rather than French and "Eastern dialects" as in the novels.
Once training was over, Bourne was deployed to various locations around the world as an assassin. But on a job in France he had a sudden attack of conscience when he saw his target in the company of his children, aborted his mission, and was shot in the back twice while attempting to escape. Similarly to the story in the novel, he woke up with his memory gone.
The character of Bourne in the films is a very quick-thinking, condition, and linear type of person that moves quickly and brutally towards his goal. He is tormented by fragmented memories of his past, which tend to hit him so hard and suddenly that he reacts to them physically, such as flinching. He is highly adept at hand-to-hand combat and also shows an immediate ability to utilize lateral thinking to solve problems. He sometimes uses improvised weapons, for example using a pen to stab an assassin and using a book and a towel as defence. He is shown using tactical improvisation such as using a fan, flashlight and tape to fake his location and gas, a toaster and a magazine to cause an explosion. He is also proficient with firearms, explosives, electronics and evasive protocols, such as driving.
Not only is the plot of this movie completely different from the original novel. The character of Jason Bourne himself has changed. In the book, Jason Bourne is a hard, ruthless man, capable of hurting or killing anyone who gets in his way, even after he has lost his memory. As the story progresses he slowly begins to show a more gentle side, but it takes a lot of time and he never completely loses the underlying hardness. Though Richard Chamberlain stayed true to this character in the 1988 television movie, the portrayal by Matt Damon is much more positive, giving the impression that with the amnesia Bourne's character has fundamentally changed.
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