The Bourne Supremacy


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"Hey, he's an assassin.  There's nothing funny about that (unless he wore one of those Groucho noses and glasses)."










The Bourne Supremacy
The Masked Reviewer

Are you Bourne to be wild?  Are you a natural Bourne killer?  How about a Bourne leader?  Is it time to be Bourne again?  Hallelujah!  If the answer to any of those questions is yes or no, it doesn't matter, because the sequel to The Bourne Identity is finally here.

Matt Damon stars as the titular Bourne.  Now, if you haven't seen The Bourne Identity you might want to go out and buy it (here) or rent it (somewhere else).  Why?  Because Supremacy picks up where the last film left off.  Also, a lot of events from the first film are referenced in the second, and almost the entire cast is brought back for round 2. 

The movie is a spy/thriller/action adventure.  In addition to Matt Damon, the film stars Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Franka Potente (Run Lola, Run), Joan Allen (The Contender and Manhunter), and Karl Urban (he played Julius Caesar in "Xena: Warrior Princess" and also appeared in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Chronicles of Riddick).  Chris Cooper also appears briefly in the movie. 

First of all, this isn't a spy flick in the style of the James Bond movies.  It's much grittier and realistic, similar to Spygame or The Recruit.  The emphasis is on suspense and evasion rather than blowing things up or big fights.  There is quite a bit of action, though, which is handled quickly and painfully, for the most part.  As far as long hand-to-hand battles, there's only one, and it's more intense than the action in the first film.

The "money shot" for this film is an extended car chase sequence; it is certainly the best car chase in years, and it has some truly memorable and incredible sequences.  It gets a bit over the top, with Matt Damon's car getting hit, spinning 360 degrees, then continuing on in forward or reverse (and that happens a couple of times).  However, there are moments that look absolutely convincing and completely harrowing.

The Masked Reviewer has a few major gripes about the film, however.  First of all, director Paul Greengrass seems to love shaky handheld shots.  Many directors feel this adds to the realism of a scene.  It's like you're there.  It adds to the confusion.  Well, yes it does.  Every fight scene is plagued with shaky camera movements.  Most of the driving scenes are in shaky-cam too.  It's not just a little shaky, but very shaky.  Did the cameraman have palsy?  It will undoubtedly make a lot of people unhappy to try to see what's happening through the shakes, and those of you who are prone to motion sickness had better bring a barf bag.  It's too bad, and rather pointless.

The shakiness is particularly bothersome because it isn't effective.  Everyone has seen shaky handheld cameras, but even on shows like "COPS" the camera doesn't shake that much, when they're running down the street in pursuit of a suspect.  It's quite distracting.

The acting is fine across the board.  Matt Damon doesn't get a whole lot to say, and in many ways the story and characters unfold around him.  He's the driving force behind the movie, but the story seems to be about everyone else, for the most part.  Joan Allen, Karl Urban, and Brian Cox all give interesting performances.

The overall story isn't terribly suspenseful, but there are nice moments of suspense at various points.  There isn't a lot of humor in the film (maybe a few laughs of surprise) which is why this review is so serious (relatively).  Hey, he's an assassin.  There's nothing funny about that (unless he wore one of those Groucho noses and glasses).

It's not great but it's not bad, either.  It feels a bit like a TV show; many elements from the first film (like, almost the entire cast, the music, the credits) are re-used and it seems like there aren't any major changes in the main character.  Though the other characters are fairly well developed (at least, some of them are) it just falls a bit flat.  The story isn't quite good enough.  Though the car chase at the end is great, it seems like there should be more of that in the rest of the film.  The one real fight scene is marred by herky-jerky camera movements.  There are a few good moments of suspense, but not quite enough.  It's a better than average film, but not by much.

If you loved The Bourne Identity, then you'll almost certainly love this one more.  If you weren't a fan of the first, you might think this is's certainly not bad, but it isn't as good as it could have been.  Still, there's a lot to like.  And, of course, Matt Damon fans will enjoy seeing him in this (because they'd enjoy seeing him in anything).


Expectation from the Title: It's probably got something to do with Nazis and genetics.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Matt Damon is very polite for an assassin.

The Pros: Excellent car chase, some good suspense moments, fine supporting performances, more realistic spy stuff.

The Cons: Shaky camera movements are distracting, gimmicky, and ineffective.  Not quite enough of the good stuff...the good moments make you wish the whole film was like that.


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