Frankly, I don't know why people think Matt Damon is a good actor. At first I thought that I'd only seen him in Kevin Smith movies, but upon closer examination I've also seen him in School Ties, Rounders, Saving Private Ryan, and The Brothers Grimm. Oh, and The Departed. So surely that's enough to base an opinion on, right? I've seen Matt Damon in a reasonable range of movies and while I've never thought he was terrible, he's never wowed me either. I mean, I came out of The Departed very impressed with Mark Wahlberg, who had a lot less to work with.
However, I have to admit that aside from Rounders, none of the movies I've seen are the ones that people point to as evidence of good acting; you have to go to the Bourne movies, Good Will Hunting, and The Talented Mister Ripley. I think. So I'm going with The Bourne Identity on the grounds that if I like it, I'll have more of the same to watch.
Okay, after watching it . . . I still don't think Damon is that great of an actor. To me, he's still a guy who shows up, hits the same one or two notes, and gets out without leaving much of an impression. Luckily, the movie doesn't require his character to actually do a great deal of emoting, so it winds up being pretty entertaining. Damon looks befuddled, then something happens, so he snaps into Action Mode (like when Gir becomes efficient on Invader Zim, we have an action scene, and then he runs off. I enjoyed the early scenes where his character was relearning what skills he knew; the scene where he realizes he can speak German was well-played. I did kind of wish he'd assume he had a skill he didn't really know, but I guess it would have ruined the pace of the movie for him to fall off a building or not know how to drive a stick.
It's certainly a serviceable action film.