With the latest installment of the Bourne film franchise soon upon us, we took it upon ourselves to watch through the first three movies to catch up. (Jeremy Renner? What? No, we don't think he was in a Bourne movie, that'd be silly.)
RELATED: "Jason Bourne" Film Review
A few stray thoughts have coalesced:
- At this point, Jason Bourne should be far more adept at dying women's hair than he's portrayed to be.
- The series has to exist in a universe separate from ours. Not because of super-spies, or mind wipes, or even that it's fiction, even though those would all be valid reasons. No, the most clear reason that this is a universe separate from our own is that we don't think there are enough moped factories, let alone customers, on the planet to justify the amount of mopeds that just happen to be nearby when Jason Bourne needs one.
- Donald Rumsfeld famously made the point that when it comes to security, there are Known Knowns and Known Unknowns, but it's the Unknown Unknowns that present the greatest threat. We now understand that an angry man with a rolled up magazine is the most dangerous Unknown Unknown in human history.
But by far, the greatest realization we've had is that Jason Bourne can escape from anybody.
Government superagents in a train station full of civilians? No problem.
Trained sniper in a cornfield? Easy peasy.
The entire police department of a European city he has no knowledge of while he's in a beat up Mini Cooper? Without breaking a sweat.
Clearly, there are no challenges to this one-man hurricane of fists (fisticane?) left in his reality, so with that in mind, we've reached outside the bounds of his space and time to find some actual challenges for him. If he can so easily dismantle the combined efforts of multiple nations' security forces, surely he could take on a few super-powered agents, right?
Here are 10 superhumans Jason Bourne could escape from.
10 DAISY JOHNSON, Marvel Cinematic Universe
Let's start from the bottom, with a superhuman he could pretty easily manage. Daisy Johnson, for all her power, experience, and impressive growth as a character, is still a government agent first. And we know how effective Jason Bourne is at dispatching government agents.
To be fair, Daisy would likely arrive in a Quinjet with the Bus, her team's portable airbound command center, nearby, giving her a distinct advantage in the tracking department. This is the kind of mission her S.H.I.E.L.D. team is uniquely qualified for, as they run bag and tag missions on Inhumans, rogue agents and supervillains all the time.
She'd likely move to contain Bourne first, hoping she could take him quietly and calmly in the street outside his apartment. She'd set up a perimeter and a strong show of force, which would be her first mistake. One who is attempting to take in Jason Bourne does not allow Jason Bourne to make a move.
Upon hearing an agent was after him, Bourne's first thought would be to get on the move by himself as quickly as possible. He'd gather up the magazine, keys and phone, and insist the woman he was with turn herself in for her own safety. She would refuse to, of course, giving Daisy and her team two minutes -- more than they need to get in position outside the apartment and call for their surrender with a bullhorn.
Realizing he can't get both himself and the woman he's with out of this situation alive, Bourne would play along. They'd leave the building, hands raised above their heads, with the woman in front to ensure she was taken into custody first. Under the pretense of surrender, which Daisy's noble teammates would be just a bit too trusting of, he'd allow an agent or two to get close enough to handcuff him, at which point he has the advantage.
Hand to hand combat with an unprepared opponent is an area Bourne is unmatched in. Regardless of which team member approaches him, enhanced or otherwise, Bourne would immediately control the situation, take out the agent, and incapacitate the team just long enough for him to run to his moped around the corner.
He's taken out groups of agents before, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be a cakewalk for him. And yes, while they have enhanced operatives on their team he's not accustomed to, they're all taught to use their powers strictly as a last resort. His burst of action would catch all of them off guard long enough for him to get around a corner, which is all he needs to reach transportation.
With him being chased on his moped (another area he's nigh-untouchable in), Daisy would immediately pursue on her own motorcycle. She wouldn't fire her weapon into a crowded street, but she'd definitely use her gravity powers to attempt to shake Bourne off his moped, giving away her one advantage.
Thought she'd eventually be successful at getting Bourne off his moped, she would have given away her element of surprise by allowing him to know she's superpowered. While she has the advantage in a medium-range encounter with Bourne, a simple footchase through apartments and over rooftops would be all Bourne required to eventually bring her in close, at which point it'd be a simple matter of knocking her out. She's an excellent hand to hand fighter, but she simply can't take Jason Bourne one on one.
He knocks out Daisy, steals another nearby moped, and would be in another timezone by nightfall.
NOTE: To be fair, this scenario assumes Daisy would be the one to pursue him. There are other members of S.H.I.E.L.D. that would have a much better shot at subduing him (Agents May and Ward come to mind).
9 JESSICA JONES, Marvel Cinematic Universe
Bourne could likely handle any version of Jessica Jones, but aside from us using film versions for the purposes of this article, the MCU's Jessica Jones is also the one most likely to agree to this kind of job.
Jessica's a hard-drinking, cynical loner with trust issues and isn't exactly trying to keep herself in the best of shape, so her inclusion on this list might raise an eyebrow or two. But more than Daisy or even a few of the other entries on this list, Jessica's power present a significant threat to Bourne in a way few others do. Bourne's most adept at hand to hand combat and escapology, but Jessica is at her most dangerous when she's close enough to land a punch. One punch from her would break a handful of Bourne's ribs, and his high tolerance for pain would get tested to a greater degree much more quickly than he's accustomed to. What's more, her superhuman durability would allow her to stay in the fight with him longer than he would assume at first glance, meaning he would enter this fight severely underestimating his opponent.
Granted, once he realized she was far more durable and stronger than she appeared, he'd adapt his strategy to prioritize escape over submission, and she can't really keep up with him there. While Bourne would leave this with quite a few broken bones and bruises, he'd still manage to escape.
8 IRON FIST, Earth-616
While the recent "Iron Fist" teaser trailer gave us chills, we don't know anything about that character's abilities yet. We'll be using the comics version for this.
Iron Fist would be an incredibly difficult prospect for Bourne -- hand to hand combat is where this dude is king. However, he's a bit too much of good guy to be effective against an operative like Jason Bourne. His honor would be the weak link that Bourne would exploit, but it would only be after getting his tuchus handed to him royally.
Danny Rand would be given a full briefing on the person he's expected to bring in and would know he can handle himself against a non-powered combatant, however good of a fighter he is. Aside from having the power of the Iron Fist, Rand is an unparalleled master of multiple forms of martial arts and would utterly dominate a hand to hand fight against Bourne. If, somehow, Bourne was able to put up a fight against him hand to hand, Rand's chi powers would easily tip the fight back his way.
Bourne would quickly realize he was outmatched and surrender to Rand, knowing that fisticuffs simply aren't where he can beat him. However, as accomplished a fighter as Iron Fist is, Bourne is equally talented in many other respects -- like subterfuge. Even handcuffed, Jason Bourne is a threat, and the moment Danny lets his guard down, Bourne would quickly knock him out and get away. And the moment he's on the run (especially if it's a moped), Bourne can only be tracked by the best.
And while Iron Fist is incredibly talented at many things, tracking just ain't one of them. Bourne would be out of the city within the hour.
7 SABRETOOTH, X-Men Movies
While we may not be using the most powerful versions of these characters for this article, we'll at least throw ol' Victor a bone and use his "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" version, as opposed to the dumb goon we saw in the first "X-Men" movie.
Schreibertooth is a savage, brutal, calculating hunter, and Bourne likely wouldn't even be able to start fighting back before Victor was on top of him. Add his size, strength, claws, and healing factor and Bourne recognizes he's immediately outclassed. He hits the road, fast, and Schreibertooth follows.
Bourne quickly realizes he can't lose this guy, either. Sabretooth is easily as fast as him, isn't so big that he can't go where Bourne can, has far better endurance, and can track him by scent if he ever does loose a line of sight with his prey. Bourne is screwed seven ways from Sunday: he can't outfight this guy and he can't outrun him.
However, for all of Sabretooth's strength and speed, he's not the brightest mutant in the mansion, and that's where Bourne can finally outdo him. After getting his butt handed to him across half the city and a few hours of not being able to shake this guy, Bourne's going to put together a few things:
- This is definitely an enhanced operative, probably a mutant.
- Outwardly, this guy exhibits animalistic characteristics, and that probably continues beneath the surface.
- He's clearly an excellent tracker. Given that and his animal nature, this guy is likely using a sense of smell to stay on Bourne's trail.
With this in mind, Bourne needs to muddle his scent as quickly as possible by going somewhere full of crazy smells. He beelines for a zoo or processing plant, or even better, jumps in a passing garbage truck and lays low.
Once Schreibertooth loses Bourne's scent, Bourne just needs to keep his head low and not shower until he's outside the city for 24 hours. As long as his scent is masked by garbage, Creed can't sort it out from any of the other scents in a city. The point goes to Mr. Bourne.
6 LUKE CAGE, Marvel Cinematic Universe
Luke Cage in most any continuity would fair the same as any other in this contest (save anywhere he's a zombie or something outside his norm), but most people are familiar with the MCU version, so we'll use him.
Cage is ridiculously strong and has a keen nose for BS, but his most notable ability is his bulletproof skin and overall durability. Not only could Bourne not defeat him in hand to hand combat, he wouldn't be able to hurt him to begin with.
In nearly every other encounter, Bourne's main strategy is to bring his opponent in close, where he can control the situation with his hands. But here, that strategy will only hurt him. Cage has a size, strength, and invulnerability advantage here. The minute he can put his hands on Bourne, this fight is over.
Bourne's one and only option here is to flee as hard as possible. Cage is one bad dude and he can swing it with some of the toughest around, but he's just not an accomplished pursuer. Bourne would make one attempt at a fist fight, break his hand and get thrown through a wall, and immediately flee. He'd lose him within minutes.
5 DAREDEVIL, Marvel Cinematic Universe
These are getting a lot harder now. Daredevil can match Bourne in hand to hand combat both for attacking and durability, can track Bourne better than anyone on this list so far, and would be severely underestimated at first glance.
While Bourne is a Marine, Green Beret, and CIA operative, Matt is flippin' real-life ninja. The two are vicious fighters and can stand up to a beating better than anyone. But still, Bourne has one significant advantage over Murdock: his willingness to kill. When he's backed into a corner, especially by a Langley operative, Bourne has never had a problem ending someone's life.
And Murdock, though he's flirted with crossing that line, has still never strayed.
Daredevil is unique on this list in that Bourne really can't beat him without killing him. Anyone who's seen Season One, Episode 3 of his Netflix show knows just how much of a beating he can take while dishing out one just as bad. While Daredevil's 360Â° situational awareness gives him a bit of a leg up, Bourne's utter talent as a combatant counters that easily.
This fight would be a long one, and both combatants would be equally thrashed in the skirmish. But after seeing their opponent just won't stay down, Bourne would go for the kill, and Daredevil wouldn't. Point: Bourne.
4 HELLBOY, Dark Horse Comics
Now here's a character that Bourne can't simply overwhelm. Hellboy is not only a half-demon who goes toe to toe with the likes of golems, vampires, and hellhounds, he's literally the harbinger of the apocalypse. The dude can take whatever Langley's best can dish out, easily.
And while Bourne is an excellent escape artist, Hellboy has pursued far worse creatures than him through urban environments. Big Red is extremely accomplished at confronting dangerous targets, beating them to a pulp, then running them down until he finally subdues them out of exhaustion.
Hellboy's biggest advantage is his incredible durability. He's taken gatling-gun fire directly to his face and chest while sprinting into it, he's handled spears through his chest by pushing them out the other side, and has gone toe-to-toe with what was basically an off-brand Cthulhu.
Bourne can't subdue Hellboy by sheer force and he won't be able to outrun him. But he's still got one card to play in this fight: his knack for improvisation and adaptability.
When it comes to launching himself into situations completely unprepared for the threat therein, Hellboy can't help himself. He knows he's tougher than pretty much everything, so he rarely needs to worry about being in over his head. His initial (and only) strategy will be to rush Bourne and overwhelm him as quickly as possible.
Bourne is no slouch in hand to hand combat, of course, and will keep Hellboy's punches off him at first. He'd recognize Hellboy has the size advantage and switch to playing defense, waiting for the opportunity to strike a strategic blow to the ribs or kidney. Which he'd get, and which Hellboy would barely notice.
Bourne realizes he's completely outclassed and isn't going to win this physical matchup, so he takes it to the streets. He favors tight alleys and apartments, using Hellboy's huge relative size against him to slow him down. And while Hellboy is extremely adept at tracking a bleeding, frantic hellhound through Manhattan, he's not tracking a wild animal here. This is Jason Bourne, a guy who knows how to lose a tail. Bourne gets 30 to 60 seconds ahead of him, temporarily stops any bleeding, and makes his way through the city as quietly and untraceably as possible.
All he needs is 90 seconds without a tail and access to a moped. At that point, he's out of the city and takes the win.
3 BATMAN, "The Dark Knight" trilogy
Okay, hold on. Before you scroll down to the forums to tear us a new one, hear us out. Comic book and animation Batman has punched Darkseid in the face and somehow managed to not shatter every bone in his fist. That Batman would utterly and completely stomp Jason Bourne into a bloody, broken paste -- we are not disagreeing with that.
But the Batman we see in Christopher Nolan's films is a very different Batman than that. He's still one bad dude, but he's far more grounded in reality. That Batman likely wouldn't be able to bring Jason Bourne in.
That said, he'd certainly give Bourne a run for his money. He'd likely already be on top of Bourne when he gets the call from Nicky and takes off (likely with the woman he just met in tow). Batman would follow at a distance, allowing his prey to believe he was going to get away scot-free. Once Bourne had accepted this false sense of security, Batman would strike.
Here's the thing, though -- that Batman isn't the Batman that has fought the likes of Deathstroke and Killer Croc. There are numerous examples of him entering a fight without knowing enough about his opponent and being completely outmatched. This Batman's advantage is his absolutely iron-clad, indomitable will. Even when his back is broken and he's left in a third-world prison pit, he will mend himself and claw his way back to finish the fight months later.
As formidable as Christopher Nolan's Batman is in the long game, in the short game, he can easily get his tights handed to him by a fighter like Jason Bourne. He may only have a magazine, a moped and a cell phone, but he's a master of improvisation and will turn every Batarang into a weapon to use against Bruce.
Jason Bourne has been a Marine, Green Beret, a member of Delta Force, and trained to be a black bag CIA assassin. You think he can't handle some knockout gas and a couple of Batarangs?
Bourne takes the inevitable one-on-one fight by a nose (he wins, but it is still Batman we're talking about) and escapes the city, on moped, with the newly-dyed woman in tow. He'd lose his tail for a solid 24 hours, and therefore take the win, but given enough time this Batman would eventually have him in custody again.
2 GREEN ARROW, DC TV
Now here's a Batman-esque character a bit more like the genuine article, and an incredibly worthwhile opponent for Bourne. An absolute match in strength, speed, fighting ability, stamina, and iron clad will, Green Arrow is basically Jason Bourne with a bow and arrow. He'll even resort to a kill sooner than Bourne will.
In all honesty, we don't think Bourne escapes this of his own volition. He can't outfight Ollie, he can't outrun him, and he can't outsmart him. It doesn't matter how the fight begins -- Ollie breaks into the apartment to take Bourne out immediately, waits until he's on the move, or confronts him in person -- Green Arrow and Jason Bourne are equally matched. Bourne can't escape him.
However, Bourne's got one effective card still up his sleeve: their shared status as government pawns. It's the very thing he's rebelling against, and Ollie himself is even more untrusting of institutions than Bourne is. Upon realizing he can't win this with brains or brawn, Bourne makes the appeal to emotion: "Look at what they make you give up."
We can't know why Ollie would take on a job like this in the first place, but if they get to that moment, it wouldn't be hard at all for Bourne to turn Ollie to his side. Hell, Ollie would probably help him.
Bourne would escape the city and lose his tracker for 24 hours. Point: Bourne.
1 DEADPOOL, X-Men Movies
First off, you know darn well which Deadpool we're referencing (hint: it's the awesome one).
Secondly, this might be the only character on this list that doesn't just match Bourne in every category -- he outclasses him in most. Bourne can't outfight, outrun, outsmart, kill or reason with Deadpool. This is a losing battle on nearly every front for Bourne.
However, when you can't find an advantage, look for a weakness. Deadpool's defining feature is his mouth and meta-awareness. He's going to know who Bourne is, he's going to know that he can't beat him by fight or flight, and he's going to want to tell him.
(Hell, if we were being really true to the character, he'd know he was in a "who would win" Top 10 list, too. But we're not going to go that meta.)
After a solid six hours of Bourne trying to either kill or escape Deadpool only to find himself thwarted at every turn, he'd be running on fumes and desperate to end this as quickly as possible. Deadpool would start gloating about his position: he can't beat Deadpool, he can't outrun him, hell -- he can't even kill him! He can't die!
The moment Deadpool reveals that fact, Bourne would shift priorities from escape or kill to dismember -- something he wouldn't have a terrible time pulling off. Consider that CIA operatives are trained to go for the kill as soon as possible, not dismemberment. Once Bourne makes that his objective, he'd be able to achieve it quickly.
With victory by dismemberment to the point of incapacitation, Bourne takes the point against Deadpool, too.
There's no doubt you disagree with many or all of the above cases -- good. Come at me in the forums! Let's do this!