The Bourne Supremacy

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated PG-13 for violence and intense action, and for brief language 
Starring:Matt Damon, Brian Cox, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles 
Directed By:Paul Greengrass 

Final Grade: 

I forget everything. Birthdays, anniversaries, where I am supposed to be at any given time; sometimes I even forget deadlines. I concluded that if I were to ever get amnesia, my life wouldn’t be too much different than it is right now. I’d still be a clueless guy hanging out in Movie Theater. I guess that that is where Jason King, differs from Robert Ludlum’s super spy Jason Bourne.

Matt Damon returns to the big screen once again as Jason Bourne, the amnesiac super spy who we were first introduced to in 2002 in The Bourne Identity. This summer Bourne bursts back onto the big screen once again to entertain audiences. Now living in what he thinks is an escape from his past, Bourne suddenly finds himself drawn back into the government agency he tried so hard to leave behind. Recently identified as a murder suspect in an elaborate set up, Jason Bourne sets out to try and clear his name once and for all. But when everyone in the world is looking for you, and not the truth, Bourne finds out it’s a lot harder to clear your name than he had thought.

The Bourne Supremacy does a nice job of picking up where Identity left off. The story easily flows from the first film right into the second, but is also clear enough that a newcomer to the Bourne films will have no major troubles trying to decipher the film’s plot. While there is plenty of room for deeper plot, plot hole fillers and all around areas that could use some explanation, the film does a nice job of moving from point to point, quickly and concisely without bogging itself down with details.

The acting is once again a great all around, with another great performance by Brian Cox (Troy, Manhunter, X-men2). Cox is a great actor whom most forget about when “who’s who” in acting conversations come about, but there is no doubt in my mind, the aging actor does an exceptional job in every scene he is in. Also joining the cast of the latest Bourne flick is Joan Allen (The Contender, The Notebook) as Pamela Landy, a Government operative who is trying to unravel the truth behind the murders and their connection to Bourne. Allen plays the role well, and in fact her performance might be the best thing about the film. Also returning cast member, Julia Stiles makes an appearance for a few scenes. While she does nothing great during her screen time, he performance is note worthy because she truly is one of Hollywood’s most beautiful actresses who can both look absolutely stunning and put on a great performance at the same time. (It should be noted that the reviewer of this film absolutely in no way shape or form has a “crush” on Miss Stiles….)

I understand the reason they cast Matt Damon to play Bourne. He is an A list actor who wasn’t tied into any franchise films and is a great actor. But I still can’t warm up to Damon as a super spy. Damon has a certain boyish charm about him (even though he is already passed the age of 30). You don’t expect to see Damon in a film as the lead super spy, instead you see him as more of a “pretty boy” playing the role of a young professor, or a librarian who stumbles upon a shocking secret that will change the government or something. The point is I don’t see him as a spy. Damon does a great job, but for me he doesn’t quite fit the persona. When he tries to act serious and deliver some of his most serious lines, he looks more constipated than he does angry. I guess I just expected a little more out of Damon.

The films major flaw however is directing and cinematography. Bourne Identity Director Doug Liman (Go, Swingers) turned over the reins to newcomer director Paul Greengrass and remained on the project only as the film’s producer. Greengrass took the much more action packed film and tried his best to give us a stylistic view of the action, but failed far more than he succeeded. He hired a cinematographer that has a shakier hand than Michael J. Fox ((or a nervous brain surgeon on his first patient) I’ll let you decide which analogy is more politically correct.) and the film bounces all over the place. The picture is bouncing around the screen, and you rarely see a steady shot in the film. Some of that can be attributed to the editing department, who made sure that we saw every possible angle through a variety of cuts. You could literally watch cut after cut flash before your eyes quicker than you could count them, as if you were watching a film made by a drunken Baz Lurhman. The film is a visual mess at times, which causes you to just lose overall interest in some of the film’s big action sequences.

In the end, The Bourne Supremacy isn’t bad; it’s just not a great film either. If some technical aspects would have been cleaned up and fixed, I think everything would have flowed a lot better. But since they didn’t this film jumps on board with yet another summer blockbuster that really isn’t all it is cracked up to be. If you were a fan of the first Bourne movie, Bourne Identity, go check out Bourne Supremacy, you might enjoy it. But if you are looking for the movie event of the summer, go look elsewhere, this flick sure isn’t it. 

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