The Bourne Supremacy

One of the fun thing surprises about The Bourne Identity was how well made it was.  It threw a little bit of everything together, from espionage, romance, and a great non-CGI car chase through some really crowded streets, then wrapped everything up nice and pretty with a bow.  The entire thing was a really slick movie, that took off running and never stopped until the end.  The Bourne Supremacy is much the same way.  Why mess up a good thing?  Most of the cast is back, the first's director is producing, and The Bourne Supremacy again moves at a lightning pace never stopping too long for the viewer to catch his/her breath.  The really good thing about this is that it covers the fact that although everybody is running around, there isn't as much plot as the first time around.  These movies are based on Robert Ludlum's wildly popular trilogy, but are pretty unrecognizable from the source material.  The geopolitical landscape is a vastly different place then it was nearly twenty years ago when the book was initially published.  What the filmmakers have done is maintained the basic story while updating pretty much everything else.

The Bourne Supremacy picks up pretty much where the first one left off.  Bourne (Matt Damon, Jersey Girl, Eurotrip) is still conflicted over his lack of memories.  He is having dreams of the past that he cannot understand, and he and Marie (Franka Potente, The Bourne Identity, Storytelling) are currently in India, still on the run.  This changes when somebody sets him up.  Bourne immediately thinks it is the government, and making good on his threat he resurfaces to go after them.  Meanwhile, Pamela Landy (Joan Allen, The Notebook, The Contender) believes that Bourne was in Germany and murdered two of her agents.  She is understandably pissed and wants Bourne brought in, much to the amusement of Ward Abbot (Brian Cox, Troy, The Reckoning).  Landy brings together all of the people who used to be associated with Treadstone, Bourne's old espionage outfit, in order to bring him in.  Abbot thinks that she is in way over her head, and Bourne quickly proves him right.

When the Tony Gilroy's (The Bourne Identity, Proof of Life) screenplay does slow down a little, there is a surprising amount of depth.  Bourne is trying to come to terms with who he is.  He has snippets of his past, but nothing seems to make any sense.  Worse, what does seem to make sense is that he was doing some pretty unscrupulous stuff.  Because his memories are such a jumble, the seemingly easy task of proving his innocence from Landy becomes all the more convoluted.  What results is a cat-and-mouse game between Bourne and Landy's men, with the real instigators lurking in the shadows.  The pace is lightning-quick, and people seem to jet all over the world, and director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, The Theory of Flight) holds it all together.

Greengrass in an interesting choice, since he doesn't quite fit the mold of a blockbuster action movie director.  His films tend to focus more on the characters, and this serves The Bourne Supremacy well.  Damon gets into his groove quickly as Bourne, and this is shaping up to be one of his better roles in recent years.  Plus, with veterans Cox and Allen playing large supporting roles, the chances of a bad film grow dimmer.  Allen in particular gives a vicious performance as a driven woman determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.  She thinks Bourne is responsible, and pulls out all the stops in order to apprehend him.  There is a lot of action, and once it dies down, a lot of it feels superficial.  But Greengrass did such a good job of propelling the story forward and adding in the same intrigue, double-crossing, and car chases that made the first one fun that it doesn't really matter.  And remember, The Bourne Ultimatum is still lurking out there, as well as a new Bourne novel not by Ludlum.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 48 minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence and intense action, and for brief language.

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