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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 Erik Childress

"Your Fugitive’s Name Is…Jason Bourne. Isn’t It? Whatever…Go Get Him!"
4 stars

The popularity of The Bourne Identity turned out to be one of the biggest surprises for all those involved. Its release date was swapped about as much as Prozac Nation and was whispered to be a disaster. The joke was on the cynics as it turned out to be one of the leggy hits of 2002 and became the #1 rental title of 2003. I was more apathetic, viewing it as a rather slow-moving, tedious exercise with a couple really solid action sequences. Now comes the sequel during a summer with some of the best sequels on record. On cue, it lives up as a definite improvement. Just don’t expect the wheel to be reinvented. The car chase, on the other hand…well, it won’t be long before you get to it.

That’s because The Bourne Supremacy moves like a thunderbolt riding a cheetah. The first time I looked down at my watch I was shocked to discover that 75 minutes had already flown by. Barely a second goes by before our hero is being chased, in a fight or someone is plotting to chase or fight him. Basically you have The Fugitive with CIA agents moving through an entire plot that could be written on a napkin.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been globetrotting with Marie (Franka Potente), the gal who gave him something worth remembering. But just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in thanks to an elaborate frame-up that places him killing a pair of agents in Berlin. Their superior, Pamela Landy (Joan Allen, in a completely phoned-in role) wants answers and enlists the help of Bourne’s former handlers, Nicky (Julia Stiles, proving that even the CIA has crybabies) and Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) who shut down that chapter of his past. There are also some pretty boring Russians running around, duly responsible for this mess, who bookend the hunt for their one loose end.

Sure, Bourne is still piecing together his memory and the previews have done well preserving one major twist (don’t go for popcorn too early). A second one is pretty obvious (think L.A. Confidential or Minority Report). Otherwise this is one great big enduring chase, country-to-country-to-train-to-car-to-foot. Director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday) keeps the action moving so fast that his camera can barely keep up with it.

For once, close-ups and erratic movement during the fight sequences actually work. When Bourne battles the final member of his project hand-to-hand, it is done in mainly one-shots (CLOSE one-shots) but the lack of cuts provide the sense of peril necessary to get our adrenaline going, even if our neurons have to catch-up to the previous punch. The car chase from the original was a well-done, if quite overhyped affair (about on par with a solid early one here) but, boy, do we get a doozy at the climax. Taking into account that the principal motor vehicles would sooner be eliminated at a demolition derby, it combines the earlier histrionics of the mano-a-mano with enough crashes, squealing, hydroplaning and skillful special effects to justify applause.

Damon is a large piece of why the film doesn’t succumb to just another assembly line action time-waster. I don’t necessarily care who Jason Bourne is and I cared even less wading through the first go-round to discover the rather limp reasoning for his amnesia. But Damon institutes a belief and that’s enough for me. The next step of his twelve-plan reform to stop killing is rather blasé, but then again so is most of Tony Gilroy’s adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s first two Bourne novels. I don’t know what admirers of Ludlum’s content think of the films, but it only takes a backcover glance to realize that they are completely independent of the text, flying further from the reservation than even Bourne has tried to.

Reducing Ludlum’s tales to dimestore trivialities was probably inevitable. Tom Clancy’s techno-prosing is always trimmed to fit the action medium, so there’s no sense crying over them if you haven’t partaken in the paperbacks. I’m more partial to the Clancy film series, even through three different incarnations of Jack Ryan. I suspect Damon will out-Bourne them with at least one more run through and I welcome him to along with Greengrass for another outing, hopefully with a richer screenplay to maneuver within. All-in-all, The Bourne Supremacy doesn’t have any meat to offer, but serves up a pretty satisfying appetizer for 100 minutes.

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originally posted: 07/23/04 14:01:16
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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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