|THE BOURNE SUPREMACY
Jason Bourne, an amnesiac who uncovered pieces of his past as a CIA operative in
the highly entertaining box-office hit THE BOURNE IDENTITY, returns for more in this
sequel. In 2002, the first entry in this franchise based on novels by Robert Ludlum, became
a bona fide success and turned actor Matt Damon into an action star.
Over the years, many critics have failed to give this fine actor his due. He offered strong
supporting work in diverse fare as SCHOOL TIES and COURAGE UNDER FIRE, before
solidifying his status as a leading man with GOOD WILL HUNTING. Like many handsome
actors, Damon's actual talent has been underestimated. I would suggest that reviewers were
overly harsh toward his work in the title role of THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY and even
toward his turn as Jason Bourne in the first entry in this series.
This sequel retains the same screenwriter, Tom Gilroy (with uncredited assistance from
Brian Helgeland), but employs a new director, Paul Greengrass. Gilroy wisely jettisoned much
of Ludlum's plot and instead crafted a viable world of intrigue that depends more on ruthless
businessmen and rogue agents than old-fashioned Cold War spies.
The action unfurls some time after the end of the first movie. Bourne and his lover Marie
(Franke Potente) have settled in India with the former operative having memory flashes.
Meanwhile, miles away in Berlin, a CIA agent is murdered during an undercover operation
and the evidence points to Bourne as the killer. The operation's leader, tough as nails
Pamela Landy (Joan Allen, once again excelling as an ice queen), sets out to exact revenge
by hunting down Bourne. Things get dicey when the original killers seek to have Bourne
murdered but fail, although not without collateral damage.
The remainder of the film is a cat-and-mouse game between Bourne and Landy and
her associates. Bourne begins to recall pieces of events that occurred during an
unauthorized incident in Berlin, which resulted in the death of a Russian diplomat. Seeking
answers, Bourne heads to Moscow with Landy and her team on his heels.
As with the first film, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY excels in being an entertaining
action movie without resorting to the ridiculous clichés that are the norm in Hollywood-driven
movies. Greengrass builds on the work he achieved in BLOODY SUNDAY, using
hand-held cameras for emotional impact. He has staged one of the most exciting and
unusual car chase sequences set in Moscow, one that rivals THE FRENCH
CONNECTION for its immediacy and thrills.
Greengrass also elicits strong performances from his cast. Damon's Bourne is a richer
and deeper characterization than in the original. Allen does her usual good work and is ably
supported by Julia Stiles, Gabriel Mann and the inestimable Brian Cox as her cohorts.
Upstaging a sagging James Bond franchise, the Jason Bourne films are proving that
there's a market for smart, entertaining spy dramas.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and intense action, and
for brief language
Running time: 108 mins.
|© 2008 by C.E. Murphy. All Right Reserved.