Run, Bourne, Run
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Jason Bourne vs....

By Deborah Netburn and Patrick Day
Times Staff Writers

Jason Bourne doesn’t come with a swanky tuxedo, an animal mascot or super powers. He’s never been on the side of a lunch box, had a cartoon made of him or been the basis of a theme park ride.

He’s a stripped-down hero, a tormented killing machine and a throwback to the days before all our heroes became marketing ploys. Some may argue that he doesn’t stand up to his cinematic forbears, but we say he’s an action icon for our times. He takes the best of the heroes that have come before him, but leaves their kitschy trappings in the dirt. Forget all the hype: we love Bourne because he’s the real deal. (Jasin Boland / Universal Pictures)
John Rambo

What he skimmed: Both men are the products of that special kind of U.S. Army training that turns ordinary soldiers into lethal one-man-killing machines.

What he left: Rippling, oversized pectorals with veins popping out of them? Bourne needs not these things.

But who could take whom? In the jungle, Rambo has the advantage, but pick any major city worldwide and the shirtless guy with a big machine gun would be an easy target for the stealthy Bourne. (Tri-Star Pictures)
Ethan Hunt

What he skimmed: It’s hard to be a superhero entirely on your own. Ethan Hunt has a support team behind him at all times. Bourne’s got Julia Stiles, occasionally, but he needs her.

What he left: Hunt still has faith in the people who trained him. Bourne gave up on those guys long ago.

But who could take whom? American secret agent on former American secret assassin? It’s a draw. (Murray Close)

What he skimmed: With eagle eyes, Aragorn the ranger could track anything in the wild -- hobbits, orcs, black riders, you name it. Similarly, Bourne can spot an undercover federal agent at 50 yards.

What he left: Maybe it’s just upbringing, but Bourne always, always has time for a shower and shave.

But who could take whom? For all his skills, Aragorn still needed a ghost army, a wizard and a handful of munchkin people at his back before he really got stuff done. While Aragorn would be putting on his armor, Bourne would have snapped his neck twice. (Pierre Vinet / New Line)

What he skimmed: Like Batman, Bourne’s soul is tormented and dark. Both characters suffer nightmares, they’re taciturn, they’re severe, they do what they have to do.

What he left: There’s no devoted butler to help ease Jason Bourne’s battle scars, no Wayne fortune to help him buy the gadgets he needs, no secret underground lair and no animal mascot.

But who could take whom? Disappearing behind buses wouldn’t work with Batman; dude’s got glasses that can see through buses. We’ll call this one a draw. (David James / WB)
Sean Connery’s James Bond

What he skimmed: Like 007, Jason Bourne is no country bumpkin. He’s got a passport and he knows how to use it.

What he left: The fancy tuxes, the taste for martinis, cards and women. Bourne’s tastes are simple and all-American.

But who could take whom? Bourne may not be quick with a quip, but he does have great improvisational skills when it comes to finding weapons. While Bond fumbles with his hi-tech gadgets, Bourne would have killed him with a book. (HO·Hand Out)
Inspector Gadget

What he skimmed: Innocent good looks.

What he left: Bourne has no use for the dumb trench coat, dumb fedora or the helicopter inside his head.

But who could take whom? Since Gadget would never dream of putting up a fight, Bourne would win. But only by default. (AP / Dream Quest Images)

What he skimmed: Peter Parker’s humanity. Bourne rarely lets the humanity seep through his always plotting, exit-scouting, tormented brain, but every once in a while, usually in the presence of a young lady, we see that Jason Bourne is an actual human being.

What he left: Bourne doesn’t have a loving Aunt Mae or a high school sweetheart he has to protect. Bourne doesn’t have anyone except for a dead girlfriend.

But who could take whom? Jumping around the rooftops of Tangier is not a problem for Jason Bourne, but it would be easier if he had webs to help him get around. Spidey might not win this, but he could get away. (Columbia Pictures)
John McClane

What he skimmed: McClane and Bourne live by a code. They do what they have to do because there’s nobody else around to do it.

What he left: The insanity. Bourne doesn’t smile when he kills someone, even if it’s a bad guy. He doesn’t get off on his ability to constantly thwart death, and he doesn’t take on jets single-handedly.

But who could take whom? McClane has guts and brawn. Bourne has guts and brawn and brains. McClane might commandeer a semi to run Bourne down, but guess what? Bourne’s already in the semi. Surprise! (Frank Masi / 20th Century Fox)
Daniel Craig’s James Bond

What he skimmed: Daniel Craig’s James Bond totally skimmed from Bourne. He’s tougher, tighter and less arrogant than his Bond predecessors. I think we know why.

What he left: Craig got to play fancy card games with the villain, and he still got plenty of bedroom action; Bourne doesn’t have time for that stuff.

But who could take whom? Craig’s bond still has a hint of arrogance. He’d think he could take Bourne out no problem, and that would be his fatal mistake. (Jay Maidment / UA)
Chuck Norris

What he skimmed: Fists of fury, feet of death and a torso that makes them all move quick.

What he left: Style -- Bourne fights efficiently to survive. Norris makes it all look good.

But who could take whom? Unfortunately, Bourne is a mere mortal, while Chuck Norris is, well, Chuck Norris. ()