out of Five
Running time: 115
A worthy sequel that won’t disappoint fans of the first film, The Bourne Supremacy has a decent, fast-moving plot, delivers cracking action sequences and features a terrific performance by Matt Damon.
Doug Liman’s 2002 spy thriller The Bourne Identity turned out to be one of the biggest box office hits of that year, which pretty much guaranteed that we’d eventually see the second instalment of Robert Ludlum’s spy trilogy, The Bourne Supremacy. Fortunately, fans of the first film can relax, because the sequel is just as much fun as the first film and British director Paul Greengrass does a fine job of stepping into Liman’s shoes.
Two Years After Identity
It’s a testament to the quality of The Bourne Identity that the entire cast has returned for the sequel, even Chris Cooper, despite not making it to the final reel last time round. Supremacy picks up almost two years after Identity ended.
Despite walking away from the deadly world that created him, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is still plagued by flashes of memory from his former life as a professional assassin. Bourne and his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente) have managed to stay one step ahead by constantly moving around, but inevitably Bourne’s past comes calling and he finds himself in the frame for that old plot classic, a crime he didn’t commit.
Pursued by an FBI taskforce headed by the no-nonsense Agent Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), Bourne finds himself pulled back into the world he left behind as he tries to clear his name while getting closer to the truth about his past.
Intelligent, Exciting And A Worthy Sequel
Damon proved himself as an action hero in the previous film and his performance here is equally impressive, his ‘nice guy’ persona providing an intriguing contrast with the fact that Bourne is, essentially, a stone-cold killer. The supporting cast are also excellent, particularly Joan Allen, Brian Cox (as the shadowy Ward Abbott), but also Karl Urban (as the Russian assassin sent to kill Bourne) and especially Julia Stiles, whose scenes with Damon are a definite highlight.
There’s a lot to enjoy here. The photography is gorgeous and the film uses locations as diverse as Berlin, Goa, Moscow and Naples. The action sequences are excitingly directed, with Greengrass employing a frenetic handheld camera approach that works surprisingly well and serves to reflect Bourne’s fractured mental state.
Fans of the first film’s Mini chase set piece won’t be disappointed by the chase sequence involving an indestructible taxi and there’s also a bravura fight scene in which Bourne fights off an assassin using only a rolled-up magazine. There’s also a superb soundtrack by John Powell.
In short, The Bourne Supremacy is something of a double rarity: an exciting, intelligent Hollywood thriller and a worthy sequel to boot. Highly recommended.