The Bourne Supremacy Reviews
The characters may feel synthetic only if you haven't seen the first film where a lot of Bourne's self-discovery and humanization took place, I guess the director didn't want to waste time repeating these particular themes.
Supremacy plays out as a revenge-trip-turned-conspiracy film, and in a word? It's great! Extra half a star for the restrictions of the genre (Spy-film) and the fact that it's a sequel.
When Jason Bourne is framed for a botched CIA operation he is forced to take up his former life as a trained assassin to survive.
As "The Bourne Supremacy" opens, we find Jason living in India, trying to maintain a low profile as he attempts to create some kind of a "normal" life for himself and his girlfriend. But, as always happens in these kinds of scenarios, reality intervenes, this time in the form of assassins sent out to kill him. As if that weren't enough, Bourne is also being hunted by some CIA bosses who mistakenly believe that he has recently killed two of their own agents. Thus, Bourne finds himself running for his life in a chase that takes him from India to Berlin to Moscow before the movie is over. With the Ludlow novel as his source, Tony Gilroy has written a complex screenplay that respects the audience's intelligence even when what is happening on screen doesn't always rate too high on the plausibility meter.
Amidst all the convoluted plotting, espionage doublespeak and hi-tech hardware that are the standard accoutrement's for the genre, Gilroy manages to stay focused on the human drama at the story's core, as a man struggles to piece together the puzzle of his life. Joan Allen makes an effective foil as the agent who first suspects Bourne of killing some of her undercover operatives, then comes to believe in his innocence. Director Paul Greengrass keeps the action percolating along, maintaining a high level of suspense throughout. He uses a hand-held camera to convey the desperation of Bourne's plight and the fragmentation of his mind, often showing us incidents and events from the character's own point of view inter cut with subliminal snatches of disconnected memories. In addition, the lively, hurly burly editing keeps the picture constantly moving forward. As an actor, Damon combines the seemingly paradoxical elements of strength and vulnerability necessary to make his character believable and touching. In Bourne, he seems to have found his perfect role.
Matt Damon's second time around as the lead character elevates him into a bona fide action star. He walks through this picture with a real confidence in Bourne's strengths and weaknesses. But unlike other actors like Jason Statham or Jet Li, Damon doesn't try to take over the film. He embodies Bourne as a smart, captivating protagonist but doesn't try to overshadow the other characters, which include Joan Allen as a CIA Agent investigating a murder of two of her ops, allegedly performed by Bourne, Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons, a young analyst who has more to do with Bourne's past than he may realize, Karl Urban as a Russian assassin, Franka Potente as his lover, Marie, and Brian Cox as the head of the Treadstone Project who means to put Bourne away for good this time.
The story does what the story of a sequel is required to do. It reveals more about the Treadstone Project. It places the lead character closer to reaching his motivations. It creates a more complicated plot that will allow for even more elaborate and bar-raising action sequences. It's also a lot more assured of itself, probably because it's written solely by Tony Gilroy, who's really good at these kind of plots.
Paul Greengrass takes over the director's chair, replacing Doug Liman, but ignites the same visual flair and pacing of the original. He opts for a more documentary style look for this film. The camera is almost always handheld, and shots are taken mostly from passenger seats in cars, behind or beside characters involved in the action, or placed among bystanders to give that "you are there" look. It does wonders for a film that also spans multiple locales like Berlin and Moscow, and in a climactic car chase sequences that I seriously would rank as one of the top ten car chases ever put on film.
I don't want to reveal anything else or talk up this great film any more. The Bourne Supremacy is without a doubt the action picture of the year, and elevates Jason Bourne into an action hero to remember.