movies · TV

Why Jack Bauer is Way Cooler than James Bond..

“Right now, terrorists are planning to assassinate a presidential candidate. My wife and daughter have been kidnapped… and people that I work with may be involved in both. I’m Federal Agent Jack Bauer, and today is the longest day of my life.” – Jack Bauer monologue in the opening episode of most seasons.

What is it with these men with initials JB? James Bond. Jason Bourne. And now Jack Bauer. I am not even sure if it was a conscious decision by their respective creators. Somewhere down the line, Tom Clancy missed the drift and named his agent Jack Ryan. And so he never got to the cult status the other three undeniably enjoy. Hard luck Mr. Ryan.

James_Bond

The problem with Ian Fleming’s James Bond is that, he is a show off. He needs to constantly show off his skills.  He simply has the urge to flaunt his license to kill. And though he is known to follow the adage, “kill first, ask questions later”, he wastes just too much time chasing women and having sex. He rarely gets injured. Or should I say never? Till about Casino Royale, which was the twenty first movie, we never got to see the other side of James Bond. Superheroes need a back story. It makes them dark and vulnerable. Perfection is not good. And in the case of James Bond, it is unexplained, unwarranted perfection.

jason_bourne

That is where Jason Bourne comes in. Back story? Well, that is exactly what he is trying to figure out. He is smart, can kill, and run for his life. He devises inventive techniques to get out of a situation, sometimes scientific, sometimes practical, sometimes both that you instantly idolize him. Bourne is unmoved, emotionally and mentally strong in all situations. And he avoids physical damage to himself with unbelievable precision compared to the other two. He travels between countries as if he just took a Virar fast from Andheri. He is a wonderful schemer, and his presence of mind can give Jackie Chan’s limbs an inferiority complex. And of course, Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon gave us three cracker of movies with some kickass soundtrack. That just did it.

Jack_Bauer

Jack Bauer is ruthless. He has a long history, and often,  whether you like it or not, he has a family to protect along with his country. Yes, Jack is loud and more dramatic than the above two. Yes, Jack has tremendous stamina compared to the above two. Yes, Jack is your quintessential Indian B-movie hero who doesn’t eat a single bullet in an ambush, who operates amidst immense physical and mental pain and he has only 24 hours to do all that. Hey, even Jason Bourne took a holiday in Goa!? However, there is magic realism when it comes to Jack Bauer(Not the magic realism wrt cinema, but just a literal meaning). He doesn’t operate alone. He has a whole counter terrorism unit, the government etc. working to provide him with every resource. That way, he has people covering and backing him up. It does bring in a little bit of credibility to the proceedings, though not entirely. But Jack doesn’t waste time. He doesn’t use inscrutable techniques the way Bourne does sometimes. He is plain, raw, in your face and thinks the world is simple where men are either black or white. And that is why Jack Bauer is way cooler!

All said and done, am still waiting for the Bourne sequel that Matt Damon has signed up for. And I am definitely looking forward to Daniel Craig’s third outing as James Bond. For the sheer opulence involved. And am also waiting for season 8, when our own B movie hero Mr. Anil Kapoor, appears on 24!

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29 thoughts on “Why Jack Bauer is Way Cooler than James Bond..

  1. Bond, as everyone before Daniel Craig played it, was a character out of every guy’s fantasy who got to wield the fanciest of gadgets, live a 7 star lifestyle, sleep with the choicest of women, and oh, save the world every once in a while – all without messing up a single strand of slicked-back hair. Craig’s Bond is more believable – though the last movie installment was a supreme letdown in terms of plot.

    As for Bourne, the one in the books was a cool cat, but the movie incarnation (the movie has a completely different plot than the books) was kinda lame in the first part when he was trying to figure out who he is/ what he did before his amnesia. Any complete idiot with amnesia who discovers that he has 3 passports and some kick-ass ass-kicking skills, is probably gonna take a first guess that he’s a spy/ hitman/ smuggler, etc. Again, plot-wise, these guys don’t really expect the viewers to think too hard.

    Also, I remember a History channel series on spies and if anything, real spies look and act more like Ned Flanders or Eugene Levy (Jim’s dad from American Pie) than any of these characters!

    PS: Never followed 24 – just the parodies on SNL and MadTV re: 24 hours in the life of Bobby Lee.

    Adi: But the Bourne movies were so well made, everyone completely forgot the book. The book and the movies have very little in common, I know. But still, I am not sure about the idiot Bourne. He does kinda realize he is a spy/assassin whatever, but he needs to find out who exactly, right?

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  2. I couldn’t agree more on your thoughts about Bond. He’s just a candyfloss spy who’s out to impress women more than get the job done. Daniel Craig seemed ruthless to a degree but all other Bonds were too busy being their charming selves to even bother about planning a sniper attack, avoiding a detonation or even pull off a car chase with a touch of realism.

    As I said earlier, I wouldn’t compare Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer. For starters, Bauer is not portrayed as a spy. He belongs to CTU and even the bad guys know it. So, as you said, in any situation he has the whole unit to back him up which can seem like the right way to handle things in combat but Bourne as we all know operates alone and nobody has a clue he belongs to a clandestine agency. He doesn’t have a badge, he always conceals his gun and he never announces anything out loud.

    In a hypothetical situation, if Bourne and Bauer were given a task to complete, both will go about completing it in their own ways.

    Bauer is raw because he’s been in Iraq but you’d think if he’s been in such conditions, he’d cut back on some melodrama. Season 5, first episode (I could be wrong about this) – the agency requests his help but Bauer plays hard-to-get because he has spent time in Iraq but in the next episode he comes out all guns blazing. If he’s ruthless and unaffected, he wouldn’t care, he would jump right into the action.

    Bauer’s torture techniques are questionable, and I haven’t reasearced about Bauer but it seems like he’s spent time in one of the agencies to be cognizant of such techniques.

    I have no shame in admitting I’m a big fan of Bourne and the reason I like his character is because he’s cold, calculative and unaffected. Bauer is loud which in reality could get him killed.

    As an example, in Supremacy, when Bourne is trying to locate Pamela Landy’s suite in the hotel at Berlin, he uses a simple yet a clever technique. Finally, when he looks at the room number the receptionist dials, he hangs up and goes to a floor above the floor where Landy’s room is located. It’s simple – it’s not easy to make eye contact when you are at an elevated position. Then, he goes on to follow her.

    If it were Bauer in that situation, I’m trying not to sound baised, he would have located Landy’s room, barged into it, stuck a gun to her face and asked for answers.

    Clearly, I made a post of my comment. But yeah, 24 is cool, slick and has good action. I was addicted to it two years ago and remembering seeing 3 Seasons in 72 hours. Bauer is good but I wouldn’t put him in the same ballpark as Bourne.

    Ok, I don’t think I have ever left such a long comment on any post in my history of blogging!

    Adi: I think that’s the longest comment I’ve ever received. Lol, I think Bourne and Bauer come very close. Tough decision!

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  3. I cannot comment on a page that places stupid family men over Bond.

    Bond is the epitome of action flicks, it’s been around since my dad was in school. You compare the earlier versions to bourne and 24 and point the deficiencies.

    Bond was way beyond its time and the earlier bonds warrant comparisons to action flicks of their time.

    the brosnan bond can be compared to the mission impossible series if you want.

    Craigs bond holds up well against bourne(film) and 24 is unselected, so lets not even talk abt him.

    Adi: I cannot comment sollitu ivolo periya comment. Anyway, if you haven’t seen something, why talk about it? Unselected it seems. Podaang. I think you are able to identify with Bond because you are also a scene party like him and wrt women, …err….peace. :p

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  4. Dude, Craig is the most badass Bond ever! But I loved the Bourne series too. I’ve watched Casino Royale only some 5 times and the Bourne series twice over.

    They were both so hot. :D

    Adi: I agree Casino Royale was awesome. Especially after the Pierce Brosnan movies among which only Goldeneye was kickass. Craig I think just jumped to the second best but I think he shares it with Timothy Dalton!

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  5. I prefer Bourne over Bond any day. ‘cos Bourne clearly has issues. a fact which warms the cockles of my heart.

    Adi: Haha, well said!

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  6. Okay.. it might sound dumb as compared to other intelligent comments here.. :)…
    I have only read one of the Bourne books, have never seen Bauer episodes and have only seen around 4-5 Bond movies… But I think you cant just call Bond candyfloss, show-off and all.. he is made that way because he was supposed to be the character that everyone is jealous of.. getting to work in the best of the spy orgs, working for someone like M, getting to use the best of the gadgets, in fact having someone to design them for you, of course, getting to sleep with someone of the best looking women without having to commit… well.. I think he is ideal! :)
    And please dont forget how suave Bond was in Casino Royale and QoS when he had to be ruthless, protect his love and all that jazz..
    Oh, and I have carefully tried not to write that Bond is the most handsome of all.. but I know that doesnt matter for spy-hood! :P
    My point basically is, dont just write off Bond. Sit and talk about Bourne or Bauer all that you want, but Bond will stay the most famous spy ever! :P

    Adi: Lol, am not exactly writing off Bond. I am still a big fan! I was just comparing the character arcs and who is the real badass.

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  7. Good piece :-)

    I was a big fan of 24 until the last couple of seasons when I felt they crammed way too much into a day. Action’s awesome as ever and Jack does exude a charm that places his character uniquely.

    Bourne, love the dude, the character and the movies. Can’t wait for the next one.

    James Bond? Well, what can I say, am in love with Pierce and no one can ever replace him. I know folks rate Sean as the best Bond and it doesn’t matter.
    This guy somehow doesn’t cut it for me. JB’s all about glamor you know..

    Adi: I think every season of 24, the last few hours, they tend to drag. Lol, Pierce was great in the looks, style department. But his movies were a huge letdown except Goldeneye.

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  8. “he wastes just too much time chasing women and having sex” – ???

    and for the Ayn Rand readers, here’s St.Rand on James Bond – (http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=6151) – “Dr. No. It was a brilliant example of Romantic screen art—in production, direction, writing, photography and, most particularly, in the performance of Sean Connery. His first introduction on the screen was a gem of dramatic technique, elegance, wit and understatement: when, in response to a question about his name, we saw his first closeup and he answered quietly: “Bond. James Bond”—the audience, on the night I saw it, burst into applause.” – needless to say, I agree with Dagny above.

    Adi: Woah, thanks for that link, I didn’t know Ayn Rand had commented on James Bond. That’s quite a treasure. Lol, I have to agree about that analysis though. Bond is all about style and glamor. And like everyone else, I am a fan for all that.

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  9. Ah! I’m in the James Bond demographic. Though I must confess that the “Kill first. Ask questions later” strategy has always left me confused. How is dear James supposed to get replies out of a corpse? Very rash to kill them first, if you ask me. Still, spies will be spies. They have ways I suppose.

    Another thing the chaps of my age used to wish back then was for Brooke Shields to marry James Bond, so that she could become Brooke Bond.

    Jason Bourne. I read those super frantic pace Ludlum books but somehow, maybe I’m a wuss, they left me strangely unmoved. My favorite spy story writer was Le Carre.

    And finally, congratulations on writing a post that has provoked such long and intense comments! Cheers

    Adi: Thank You! I did not know that so many of my readers were purists :p

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  10. Okay.. as long as we dont diss the handsome Bonds, be it Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig, I am okay.. I dont care who is the greatest spy ever.. sometimes I look for just style ! :P

    Adi: Lol, I can see that..

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  11. @Ms Taggart,

    “I dont care who is the greatest spy ever.. sometimes I look for just style ! :P”

    You will make a great spy. You have just the skillset.

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  12. *Pretends to not observe the sarcasm, if there is any*

    Thanks for noticing my skillset, Mr.V.
    Will you please eff off? :P (I think this is a family blog and so I shall not scandalize the readers by using the eff word! :P)

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  13. Kobe will never be as good as Jordan. Obviously when he changed his jersey to #24 from #8 he was implicitly stating that he was better than #23. Or #45 UNC. The only reason that Kobe won a ring this year was because he had a semblance of a team in Gasol, Odom and Ariza. Who did LeBron have? Mo Williams? DeLonte West? No kidding. But once again he is cursed with Shaq in his team. He will have to go through the same path that Kobe walked. Under the shadow of big diesel, who I hate.
    Yes, I hate Shaq. Big whoop. Wanna fight about it? That’s a Paddy Tanninger reference who incidentally could mutilate every action hero on a hot air balloon on an afternoon when the Tour de France was underway below. RIP Paddy. We will miss you.

    Adi: Hahaha very clever, in this case, my loyalties lie with Jordan. Kobe will never be as good as Jordan. But I do think a large part of Lakers success is because of Kobe. He has single handedly won them so many games. And consistently. And yes, am looking forward to the Shaq/LeBron combo. But I support Celtics. KG da man!

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    1. I find your usage of the ebonic word “da” displays a lack of sensitivity to race. Especially in the context of basketball, where African-Americans are a majority. And when discussing Mr. Garnett, who himself is part of that community. Race relations are important within and without mainland United States.

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  14. As a fan of both Mr. Bond and Mr. Bauer, I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree.

    The one thing that James Bond has above all else is style. Worse yet, he does not go seeking it — instead, it is every bit a part of everything that he does, and style is merely incidental.

    Unfortunately, the movies do not capture this very well. Ian Fleming’s Bond did not kill unless he had to, and there was more to the character than meets the eye. For example, Quantum of Solace (the short story) is a rather insightful peep into human nature, more than anything else.

    Finally, Fleming’s Bond is more realistic. He was a worldly man, who traveled, had fine taste and gorgeous women. And if he was a spy for the crown, well that was as good a job as any other.

    It’s easy to do a lot of things — it is difficult to do them with casual nonchalance that speaks of class and elegance. It’s style that Mr. Bond has, that none other can match.

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  15. Very interesting piece. You had some great lines here, especially the one on magic realism and the failure of Tom Clancy to make an impact. Nice job there!

    The JB fixation had not occurred to me. Mr. Bond will always remain that elusive “complete man” that many men at some point in their lives have secretly wanted to be. James Bond is not just a character. He is a metaphor. A metaphor for that magical, charming, tough yet romantic man. Over the years, it has just been a question of how his persona will be tested in trying circumstances. He is James Bond because he is perfect.

    Bourne on the contrary is the equivalent of the guy next door who turned a hero which is perhaps what makes him more ‘real’. He romances with danger but that nanosecond faster movement of his makes the whole Bourne experience memorable.

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  16. Jack Bauer is a fuck up. And a murderer to boot. I don’t see how comitting three or more cold blooded murders for personal reasons is a sign that a character is cool.

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  17. I don’t cheer for Jack Bauer for the killings and tortures he commits, I cheer for him because of his heroism and courage and duty to his country. A country that doesn’t deserve him. I love that he actually hates what he has to do but is the only one with the guts to do it. He’s a hero but they treat him like a criminal. All he wants is to be be free. But his old life is a dark cloud of heavy chains that pulls him back

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