Jason Bourne: Who am I?
Conklin: You’re U.S. Government property. You’re a malfunctioning $30 million weapon.
I may be bending the rules a little here, but The Bourne Identity either isn’t a martial arts movie at all or its one of the best martial arts movies of all time.
Either way, The Bourne Identity changed how action movies are made.
Action movies go through cycles. Someone makes a movie that defies expectations and then everyone copies it.
One cycle started with the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Commando. This film brought the harsh comedy and crazy action of 1970s pulp novel series like The Executioner and The Destroyer to the big screen; the villains were cardboard thin and the henchmen were numerous and easy to kill. The hero did crazy stunts like hitching a ride on a plane by climbing in through the landing gear. It was over over-the-top.
After questioning a bad guy while holding him over a cliff by his ankle, Arnold drops him. A few minutes later he rejoins the girl..
Girl: What happened to him?
Arnold: (monotone) I let him go.
Die Hard (1988) added a little vulnerability to the hero and toned down the the gallow’s humor. He still tossed off a snarky comment after he killed a guy but there was a little more humanity overall.
Innovation always meets with resistance. By 2002, we had been getting some variation on Die Hard (or actual sequels) for over ten years. Speed (Die Hard on a Bus). Under Siege (Die Hard on a Boat). Speed 2 (Die Hard on a Cruise Ship). It was done to death.