The Jason Bourne movies are so famous now, and detailed in such an impressive way, that it’s inevitable for an action movie fan to come across them sooner or later and most likely fall in love with their meticulous execution. When they’re done with them, however, those viewers can then be left reeling from the jolt of above-average quality and find it hard to adjust back to normal offerings from the spy thriller genre. However, there are numerous movies like Jason Bourne that capture the same excitement.
Bourne’s world balanced the implausible with realism, its technology felt grounded, and its cynicism was sharp and intriguing. To be counted as one of the best movies like Jason Bourne then a film needs more than just well-choreographed martial arts and must offer something for fans of espionage and engaging dialogue to chew on. Whether they’re playing super spies or complex criminals, many actors have found ways to create intelligent and deadly characters who would work well with Jason Bourne or would be a formidable match for him.
12 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
Available to stream on Prime Video and Paramount+
Chris Pine took on the role of Tom Clancy’s titular protagonist in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit for a modernizing of the lastingly-popular hero. Younger and even more inexperienced than previous iterations, Pine’s Jack Ryan certainly shares far more of Bourne’s brains than he does his brawn, but that doesn’t mean that Shadow Recruit shuns action set-pieces. Sent to Russia to spy on a ruthless villain (Kenneth Branagh), Ryan fights more with his words than his fists in the movie, but Pine’s verbal sparring matches with Branagh, who also directed the film, are electrifying enough to keep a Jason Bourne fan enthralled, and it all builds to an explosive finale.
11 Salt (2010)
Available to stream on Peacock
Though it was originally envisaged as a Tom Cruise vehicle (via The Los Angeles Times), Angelina Jolie brought all of her star power to the lead role of Salt and made it her own. Similar to Matt Damon’s performance in the Bourne movies, she injected a relatively conventional part of a mysterious superspy figure with an unconventional level of emotionality mixed in with tenacious ingenuity. The plot follows a CIA agent accused of being a hidden Russian sleeper agent. Up against all that law enforcement and the intelligence community can throw at her, Evelyn Salt has to think on their feet as Bourne does and proves herself a worthy comparison.
10 Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
Available to stream on Paramount+
The sixth movie in Tom Cruise’s long-running espionage-thriller franchise surpassed its predecessors in many areas, the most famous of which was its use of stunts to make its impossibly action-packed world seem real. Facing the remaining villains left over from the rogue international spy ring that Cruise’s hero and his team broke up in the previous movie, the “Impossible Mission Force” races to stop a doomsday plot involving stolen plutonium. Mission: Impossible – Fallout added Henry Cavill to the ever-expanding roster of super spies that the franchise has created and like the Jason Bourne movies, has wowed both action fans and critics alike with dazzling choreography and death-defying chases.
9 Atomic Blonde (2017)
Available to rent or purchase on Prime Video
Charlize Theron stars as an uncompromising spy in this Cold War action-thriller adapted from the graphic novel The Coldest City by director David Leitch, who was one of the creative forces behind the original John Wick movie starring Keanu Reeves. Theron’s character, Lorraine Broughton, gives Bourne a run for his money with her bare-knuckle brutality and precision, making for some of the most entertaining fight sequences of recent years. Atomic Blonde is as stylized on the screen as its origins on the page, but the brutalist architecture of the late Soviet era evokes the more grounded feel of the Jason Bourne movies.
8 Breach (2007)
Available to stream on Cinemax
Reality is almost never as appealing as fiction, but there are a few incredible true stories from the spy world that make it into thriller movies. Breach dramatizes figures and events at the heart of the biggest and most famous data breach in US intelligence history, where secrets were sold to Russia by FBI agent Robert Hanssen for decades before he was caught. Though Breach shares none of the Jason Bourne movies’ focus on action, its unromantic and tangible view of the intelligence world will be very familiar to Bourne fans as will the performance of Chris Cooper in the role of Hanssen, as the actor also played Treadstone’s original head, Alexander Conklin, in The Bourne Identity.
7 Body Of Lies (2008)
Available to rent or purchase on Prime Video
Adapted from the novel of the same name by David Ignatius, Body of Lies is more of a political thriller than it is an action thriller movie like Jason Bourne as its story is mainly concerned with contemplating the United States’ relationship with the Middle East. The screenplay revolves around different approaches to stopping a terrorist as a CIA operative (Leonardo DiCaprio) is caught between his handler (Russell Crowe) and the local government intelligence in Jordan. William Monohan’s screenplay will remind Jason Bourne fans of the franchise’s passionate critiques of modern counter-terrorist policies while director Ridley Scott keeps short and sharp bursts of action gritty and grounded.
6 Jack Reacher (2012)
Available to stream on fuboTV and Philo
Jason Bourne, like James Bond, was a popular literary hero before becoming a movie franchise, and one of the biggest characters from the world of thriller novels to recently make the jump to film and TV is Jack Reacher. The former soldier turned drifter and unlicensed investigator shares Bourne’s military skills and his devotion to living completely off the grid despite being a magnet for trouble. The film is based on the novel One Shot and sees Reacher uncover a sinister organization operating from the shadows in Pittsburgh. While lead star Tom Cruise is physically different from how Reacher is described in the novels, he captures the character’s intimidating nature.
5 The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Available to stream on HBO Max
Though screenwriter Shane Black makes this story about a highly-trained government killer with amnesia a lot more comedic than espionage thriller movies like The Bourne Identity, it’s still an action-packed detective story that centers around a government conspiracy. Jason Bourne fans are also sure to appreciate the appearance of actor Brian Cox, who appears in the first two Bourne movies as CIA Deputy Director Ward Abbott. Geena Davis leads the movie as a mild-mannered school teacher who discovers that she’s really an elite CIA assassin and can trust no one as, like in The Bourne Identity, the deadly plot that led to her memory loss is still ongoing.
4 The Accountant (2016)
Available to stream on Prime Video
Matt Damon’s longtime creative collaborator Ben Affleck has famously stepped into the role of a violent crime-fighting superhero several times in the past, but his turn in The Accountant took this concept and played it more similar to the Jason Bourne movies. Affleck stars in the thriller as a man with high-functioning autism who masquerades as a dreary accountant while secretly getting himself involved in the illegal activities of some of the shadiest criminals on the planet. Jason Bourne fans are sure to love the methodical precision of Affleck’s character in the fight scenes as much as they are the Hollywood star power.
3 Skyfall (2012)
Available to stream on Netflix
To mark the 50th anniversary of Eon Productions’ run of James Bond movies, Daniel Craig’s third 007 film opted to do things a little differently. The story delves into Bond’s past as he protects M (Judi Dench) from a vengeful former agent (Javier Bardem). Both Bond and Mission: Impossible had a knee-jerk reaction to the success of the Jason Bourne movies in 2006, adopting darker tones and featuring grittier fight sequences. However, despite keeping some of the fighting styles from the Bourne influence, Skyfall comes off as a much more mature and considered film than its predecessors and states Bond’s place within the broader makeup of spy movies more confidently.
2 Ronin (1998)
Available to stream on Tubi, Pluto TV, and Paramount+
Like the Jason Bourne movies, Ronin is famed among crime thrillers for bringing a distinctly American flavor to a European thriller, not least in its largest car chase sequence, which has generally been considered to be one of the greatest of all time since its release and even being compared to The French Connection. The film follows a group of mercenaries who are in pursuit of a mysterious briefcase. Twists and turns in the story, with double-crosses and conflicting interests abounding, help to make the film feel epic in scale despite the stakes always being somewhat vague and Jason Bourne fans will appreciate all the nuances.
1 Patriot Games (1992)
Available to stream on Paramount+
The Jack Ryan franchise is one of the few that both predates Bourne and appeals to his fans. Ryan has always been one of the more convincing CIA agents on screen. He is an analyst, involved in a more familiar political landscape rather than fictional plots, but the slick approach results in an interesting balance, which is very rewarding. Harrison Ford only starred as the character in two movies but has so far had the longest run in films. His first outing as the character saw him foil a terrorist plot in London, making him a target and bringing the franchise’s sharp eye for political intrigue to many of the discussions that movies like Jason Bourne do.