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Overall Rating

Awesome: 37.42%
Worth A Look41.29%
Average: 11.61%
Pretty Bad: 7.74%
Total Crap: 1.94%

9 reviews, 101 user ratings

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Bourne Supremacy, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"Hollywood forced me to give up on James Bond. Long live Jason Bourne!"
4 stars

What with the James Bond series suffering through an outlandishly stupid (and therefore extremely profitable) mode of existence, those of us who still like their espionage tales steeped in intelligence and intensity have very few places to turn.

For every solid surprise like Spy Game there's a Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, and you have to suffer through stuff like XXX and The Recruit to discover an outstanding little sleeper like The Bourne Identity.

So it is with much cautious optimism that one approaches The Bourne Supremacy. If it measures up to its predecessor, we just may have a swanky new spy series to enjoy for the next several years. If it doesn't...well, let's not even worry about that, because Supremacy is just as good as Identity and in many regards - it's even better.

Although Doug Liman has moved from director to producer for this second installment, crafty screenwriter Tony Gilroy is still on board, and the replacement director proves to be a fantastic fit for the series. Paul Greengrass (known mainly for his excellent faux-documentary Bloody Sunday) holds the directorial reins this time out, capably building off the first film while forging some frantic new ground of his own. (Note: The Bourne Supremacy is one of those "You really should see Part One first..." sort of sequels.)

When we last saw Jason Bourne, he and his intermittent amnesia were warming up for a happy ending involving a jungle, his girlfriend and a whole lot of solitude.

As Chapter Two opens, Bourne finds himself sucked back into the world of international espionage, thanks mainly to a botched spy game, a few dead agents, and a villain with equal parts ingenuity and technology. (Much of Act I makes sense only after Act II starts to gel.) Logically, Mr. Bourne does not take kindly to having his cover blown and he promptly takes measures (and we're talking extreme measures) to discover the motives and location of his newfound enemies.

Some action movies can be judged solely on their 'money scenes': the fistfights, the car chases, the gun battles, the explosions. Other action movies (those that aspire for something more cohesive) feel like one long action sequence - and that's precisely what The Bourne Supremacy does. The "fighting parts" emerge logically from the narrative, as opposed to a movie in which the action scenes plop on to the screen only to interrupt the mindless plot points. Even simple scenes of characters talking and devising schemes have a harried, urgent air about them. From top to bottom, from action parts to the talky bits, The Bourne Supremacy is a movie that absolutely flies by with nary an unnecessary breath.

Matt Damon improves upon his impressive work in the prior installment; Bourne might not be the largest or most imposing super-spy ever conceived, but Damon brings a simmering intensity and a mercenary manner to the role. It takes less than five minutes before you're convinced that Jason Bourne is a seriously dangerous man. Good work, Mr. Damon. You've found yourself a great little niche with this character.

Fans of The Bourne Identity will welcome return visits from folks like Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Franka Potente and Danny Zorn. New-bournes include Karl Urban as a ridiculously dangerous assassin and Joan Allen as an officious politico who goes poking around in Top Secret files that were sealed for good reason.

So between Damon's smoothly commanding performance, a tight-fisted and exceedingly efficient screenplay, and a handful of stellar supporting performances, we've already got a pretty damn good Spy Thriller.

Now consider what Hollywood newcomer Paul Greengrass brings to the equation - and you're looking at a film that transcends a mere 'popcorn flick'. This director's approach is to make us feel what Bourne feels. Literally. This explains why some action scenes place you right between the combatants, their limbs and weapons becoming shadowy blurs as your eyes try to catch up with the fisticuffs. If the film occasionally suffers from "Shaky Handheld Camera Syndrome" (and it does), this malady can be forgiven simply because the overall result is so intensely effective. Along with Bourne the viewer is jolted, disoriented, and given dizzying adrenalin jolts by sudden bouts of violent activity.

And in a movie landscape laden with action scenes we watch more than feel, The Bourne Supremacy is a welcome oasis indeed. Phrases like "white-knuckled" and "pulse pounding" have been overused and abused to the point of meaninglessness, but one could absolutely use both descriptions to describe The Bourne Supremacy. But since I don't want to sound like a quote-happy junket monkey, I'll just call it the best spy thriller I've seen in years. And I see 'em all.

You'll soon be hearing about it and talking about it yourself, but trust me now when I report: "The Bourne Supremacy" boasts one of the coolest, craziest and most enjoyably intense car chases of the past twenty years. Quite possibly of all time.

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originally posted: 07/23/04 16:22:36
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell fast & exciting 5 stars
7/29/16 Bob Shakey camera made gave me motion sickness 3 stars
6/03/14 Quada Great spy cinema 5 stars
5/22/14 The king One of the greatest action movies ever 5 stars
11/23/13 Lord Leave Jason Bourne alone 5 stars
10/02/13 The rock Intelligent action movie 5 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. really good action, i like the way it ends :P 4 stars
10/28/08 blah blah awesome 5 stars
10/07/08 Shaun Wallner Intense Action!! 5 stars
3/03/08 ladavies Matt Damon is currently the best action hero around. 4 stars
2/01/08 Bonny Sallee This was an awesome movie, just like all the Matt Damon movies are! 5 stars
1/26/08 Pamela White Matt is wonderful action like no other 5 stars
10/12/07 Charles I still can't believe they killed Franka Potente... what a shame! 3 stars
5/24/07 Matt Standard spy, car-chase, fare. Okay, but hardly memorable. 3 stars
2/18/07 R.W.Welch Not quite up to Identity but close enough. B- 4 stars
5/26/06 William Goss Rather solid spy sequel, w/ equally sweet car chase, but prefer Identity just a bit better. 4 stars
5/20/06 Kcaj Loved some of the effects but you only really enjoy it once 4 stars
2/07/06 Phil M. Aficionado The silly car chase is so ridiculous it costs this fine movie a star. Great film locations 3 stars
10/12/05 Quigley even though the camera moves too fast and too much, this film is as awesome as film one. 5 stars
8/19/05 ES fantastic, best spy movie ever made 5 stars
8/05/05 Nate Frary It was a good sequel. It would have been better with less shaky-cam. 4 stars
8/01/05 Beth Kerrick Great action, keeps you on the edge of your seat. 4 stars
7/24/05 Carolyn Rathburn Good movie, lots of action decent story line 4 stars
7/21/05 Chris Much better than "Die Another Day", enough said. 5 stars
7/19/05 Eric Rollins Not as much fun as original but action is top-notch 4 stars
7/18/05 Jack Sommersby Far superior to the mediocre original and brilliantly directed and edited and scored. 5 stars
6/09/05 Enrico Really bad, this IS NOT good as the first! Bad camera movements are the worst thing. 1 stars
5/30/05 Jake Not as good as the prievous film but worth your while. 4 stars
5/02/05 Indrid Cold Aside from a spectacular car chase, really quite insubstantial. 3 stars
4/29/05 kathleen4691 Didn't see Identity, but I will now. 5 stars
4/26/05 E-FUNK The camera-work is vomit-inducing. Pretty limp sequel to a great original. 3 stars
3/15/05 cinkcool Shoudn't even be called the Bourne Supremecy...onle resemblance to the book is its name. 3 stars
2/23/05 julia great movie 5 stars
2/22/05 Fabri My favorite movie ever 5 stars
2/11/05 H.P. Lovecraft Great sequel. Better than the first one. 5 stars
1/28/05 Charlie Great! 4 stars
1/27/05 Bobby da Squid Entertaining, great locations, incredible chase scene 4 stars
1/14/05 Raymond Shaw what the hell did they do? strap the camera on a fly's back for chrissake? 1 stars
1/05/05 M S 5 stars
1/03/05 Franka not bad at all, just bad camera work at times, book better as usual 3 stars
12/31/04 Tjalda L. Schiel Does Hollywood have any camera men without the DTs? 2 stars
12/27/04 The Mockingbird Same movie, minus the chick, plus more emotion on Damon's part, who is more endearing/hot 4 stars
12/23/04 Tatiana Wisp-thin plot, but awesomely entertaining (especially some of the "Russian" accents). 4 stars
12/19/04 Nicole Entertaining action movie - keeps you on edge 4 stars
11/29/04 Kristina Williams Matt Damon is officially the shit 5 stars
11/28/04 Italian Guy scene in the tunnel best ever!! 5 stars
11/15/04 Gabby These movies are leading the way on how it should be done. Both excellent. 5 stars
11/04/04 Dave Marney The musical score is exceptional, a perfect complement to every frame in this film. 5 stars
11/03/04 Stevo It seems everyone agrees on the camera work. Why do they keep doing it? 5 stars
9/22/04 Al Guy Surprise! This was a great sequel. 5 stars
9/16/04 ALDO Not a bad movie....But i agree that the director stuffed up with the camara...made me dizzy 3 stars
9/06/04 HitmanThomas For better than The Bourne Identity 5 stars
8/30/04 Archanist 101 It's way better than another SHITTY Bond flick 5 stars
8/26/04 Helen Bradley Matt Damon show great acting excellent editing 10 minutes too long 5 stars
8/26/04 S.F. Good as sequels go. I kind of liked the way the first film wrapped up. 4 stars
8/19/04 Ketan Patel Excellent film, keeps to the original...nice touch with end titles and music by Moby 5 stars
8/16/04 David Devine Horrible, choppy camera work. The director must suffer from ADD. 3 stars
8/16/04 Peter James Flawed, but entertaining none the less 4 stars
8/15/04 Koitus Good flick! PHAT car chase, but agree "too much camera-work" in some scenes... 4 stars
8/13/04 Mike H Get Doug Liman directing for next film. A 5 except bad camerawork, i.e. ruined car chase. 4 stars
8/13/04 Obi Wan Damon continues to pick right was to shakey though! 4 stars
8/12/04 kc somewhat entertaining but nothing original, camera work was dizzying without purpose 2 stars
8/12/04 BJ Endicott The plot and acting was excellent.The photography was horrendous-not a clear shot of anythi 2 stars
8/09/04 Andrew Holes I thought the first one was great, but this one blew me away. 5 stars
8/01/04 psychotic black dwarf Die Welt ist keine Ware= the world isn't a commodity. (It's just Bourne's playground.) 5 stars
8/01/04 maryellen entertaining many lines did Matt Damon have. Oh well my husband liked it! 3 stars
8/01/04 John an action film with some integrity - reminiscent of the great films of the 70's 4 stars
7/31/04 arctic The film making style of The Bourne Series is so different than most movies. 4 stars
7/31/04 teegee Ditto SW Kennemer. But nausea-inducing camera-work aside, entertaining. 4 stars
7/30/04 Jack Bourbon Fun movie. 4 stars
7/30/04 SW Kennemer way TOO MUCH shaky camera shooting 4 stars
7/30/04 Mark D. Fulwiler good well paced movie 4 stars
7/29/04 Matthew Sommer Man, what a letdown... horrible MTV editing, bland plot. Come back Doug Liman! 2 stars
7/28/04 Elizabeth Wasn't a fan of the first, but expected better. Joan Allen was great, though. 3 stars
7/28/04 KingNeutron A bit slow in parts, but well worth seeing. 4 stars
7/28/04 Jim Hoosty Truly a fabulous movie, excellent score, perfectly paced and totally engrossing masterpiece 5 stars
7/28/04 scott grabowski great 5 stars
7/28/04 ad Another entertaining movie. 4 stars
7/28/04 Mike Devans excellent 5 stars
7/28/04 Stevo It seems everyone agrees on the camera work. Why do they keep doing it? 4 stars
7/27/04 metapod Starts slow, picks up speed, then slams on Turbo for 1.5 hours. 5 stars
7/27/04 Mario Awesome Movie/only flaw action sequences shaky camera angles. 4 stars
7/27/04 nuke Greengrass should be sent out to greener pastures 4 stars
7/27/04 mwildema Excellent! 5 stars
7/26/04 Mike V A great sequel in a great franchise. 5 stars
7/26/04 Thomas Ressler This movie is outstanding. Definitely everything James Bond wanted to be but couldn't. 5 stars
7/26/04 Phonse Fagan Gross overuse of the "jerky camera method". 2 stars
7/26/04 William Wells I would have liked it more if I could have seen the actions sences and not blur. 3 stars
7/26/04 Frank Lynch Shaky camera made me want to vomit. 3 stars
7/25/04 reptilesni I would've given it a better rating if it wasn't for the awful camera work. 3 stars
7/25/04 j brown The only viewers who wern't please should give more thought to their expectations 5 stars
7/25/04 Lord Jiggy Bourne to Rule. Smart, confident...and the trailer didn't give away the whole damn movie! 5 stars
7/25/04 Uncle Phucker Edited in such a way that many times its hard to tell whats happening. First was very good. 1 stars
7/25/04 Chris I think the camera man had MS. Great movie, but the camera work was to quick and short. 4 stars
7/25/04 Chuck lotz of ation but the camera shotz suck: your dizzy trying to watch! 3 stars
7/24/04 Celeste Pretty good 4 stars
7/24/04 Dean The Bourne series is tight! 5 stars
7/24/04 Jim That's one hell of a car chase through that tunnel. 4 stars
7/24/04 Mix Master Mason I, robot & this Turd should be shown back to back, 4 hours of cliche' 'action' scenes. Yawn 2 stars
7/21/04 Ray Another regular movie is bourne!!! 3 stars
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  23-Jul-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Dec-2004



Directed by
  Paul Greengrass

Written by
  Tony Gilroy

  Matt Damon
  Franka Potente
  Brian Cox
  Joan Allen
  Julia Stiles
  Karl Urban

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