The Bourne Supremacy (2004) / Thriller-Action

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence and language
Running Time: 110 min.

Cast: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Franka Potente, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Gabriel Mann, Marton Csokas
Director: Paul Greengrass

Screenplay: Tony Gilroy
Review published July 26, 2004

The Bourne Supremacy continues the trend of the first entry in the Jason Bourne saga, The Bourne Identity, with mostly the same cast, same screenwriter, much of the same crew, but a different director.  The new director is Paul Greengrass, who made a decent splash the previous year with the critically acclaimed, Bloody Sunday, and is much of the reason this sequel is as good (and some may argue better) than its predecessor.  The most fundamental thing that Greengrass knows is that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".  So here it is.  All of the action, intrigue, espionage, mystery, and exhilarating confrontations that you enjoyed from the first chapter, put together in professional fashion in a pulse-pounding and absorbing continuation.

Adapted from the Robert Ludlum novel of the same name, The Bourne Supremacy recasts Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Rounders) as amnesiac CIA agent, Jason Bourne, who has spent time trying to live a normal life with his girlfriend, Marie (Potente, Run Lola Run).  Try as he might to forget the past, recurring visions that have little explanation still haunt him, as he tries to remember who he is and what he was doing, but to no avail.  Things catch up with Bourne when he is blamed for the murder of two fellow agents, while an assassination attempt tells him that a normal life is going to be impossible until he can tie up the loose ends of his life.  Instead of waiting fro the fight to come to him, Bourne takes it to those out to get him, as he finds himself entangled in a world of double crosses and lies that hide the truth about who he really is.

This is a thinking man's thriller, very much akin to some of the best of the 70s, in that French Connection vein.  Utilizing some of the modern shaky camera work, much of the action has a frenetic feel, and the look of actually being there, witnessing the events as they unfold, although some viewers may find it a bit queasy or annoying to take.  It's a subtle film, but for those who have a good command of attention and sense of detail, it's a rewarding and often exciting experience, old-school style.

The acting is superb, the direction immersive, the locales are impressive, with some beautiful cinematography by Oliver Wood (Face/Off, U-571), this is a top-notch thriller that should be enjoyed by those who like the first film for its intelligent premise and fantastic stunt-work.  Bring on The Bourne Ultimatum!    

Qwipster's rating:

2004 Vince Leo