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Overall Rating
4.05

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 MP Bartley

"Memo To Bond: Somebody's Doing It Better Than You."
5 stars

"Nobody does it better" sang Carly Simon about James Bond in 'The Spy Who Loved Me', and I'm all for agreeing with her. I'm a huge James Bond fan and proud of it, and if the series has been coasting of late it's simply because no-one is doing it better. 'xXx' tried and failed miserably while Jack Ryan just isn't sexy enough to take our affections. But Bond had better start to buck his ideas up because there's a new kid in town and he's taking your crown.

'The Bourne Identity' was one of those great sleeper flicks that doesn't sound promising (an amnesiac secret agent? Matt Damon as an action hero?) but turned out to be an unexpected treat. It was a superior flick but still one that I didn't think would support a sequel. But whaddya know? Along comes 'The Bourne Supremacy' which is up there with the very best that Bond has to offer.

The last we saw of Jason Bourne he had escaped the authorities and his old CIA employers and was living in Goa with girlfriend Marie. His happiness is soon shattered however when he's dragged back into his old life. The CIA have been stung in Berlin with the result of losing two agents and 3 million dollars. Whose fingerprints are all over the crime scene? Bournes. So now he has to take the fight to them to clear his name whilst avoiding the lethal attentions of the hitman really behind the kill (Karl Urban).

Paul Greengrass has taken over from Doug Liman behind the camera and what was seen as an unusual, leftfield choice quickly becomes inspired as 'The Bourne Supremacy' achieves what all great sequels should do: it takes the original, deepens and builds upon it. It isn't simply a re-run of what made the first great (the first at times like 'Spider-Man' - feeling like an extended trailer for a follow up), but it uses it as touchstone to spin its own yarn. And what a yarn Greengrass has woven.

Veering from car chases to brawls to sweaty interrogation scenes to escapes via trains and boats, 'The Bourne Supremacy' doesn't pause for breath for a minute. But it isn't at the expense of the plot either. No, this is one of the most intelligent blockbusters for years, as Greengrass teases the audience along with fresh revelations and twists to keep everyone guessing, as well as Bourne and the CIA, who are constantly trying to second guess each other. There's no set-pieces grafted on top of the screenplay, everything grows organically out of Bourne's mission and purpose.

But when the action does come, it roars out of the blocks. A punch-up in an apartment fizzes brutally and the much talked about car chase at the finale may well be the best since 'The French Connection'. A screeching, pounding, bruising pursuit, it will have the James Bond execs tugging at their neck ties nervously. Greengrass directs like '24' on speed with a constantly jogging camera urging us on and keeping the pace going.

Damon rises to the challenges superbly too. Initially uncomfortable in the original (who wouldn't be playing someone who doesn't know who he is?) he's far more settled here in a tough performance constantly on the edge of bursting into violence. Take a look at scene where a docile Bourne under interrogation explodes into life and wipes out his guards in a few seconds. Throw Damon, Pierce Brosnan and Vin Diesel into a crowded room and I'd happily take bets that it'll be Damon emerging with his reputation intact. Crucially however, he never turns Bourne into a surly muscle-bound brute, but keeps his humanity just peeking out. You can feel the turmoil and inner sadness that Bourne has, not knowing who he truly is but having to fight because of it anyway. Brave Mr. Damon.

There's great support from the returning faces of Franke Potente, Julia Stiles and particularly Brian Cox trading insults with Joan Allen throughout as the two charged with tracking down Bourne. And Urban also makes a successful transition from 'Lord of the Rings' horseman to Eastern European hitman with great conviction.

It remains to be seen whether Jason Bourne can develop into a fully fledged franchise (there's only one remaining book in the series), but in a way it's perhaps best that it doesn't. How many more times can Bourne be pulled back into his old life before it loses its appeal and dilutes the impact of the first and especially the follow up? Because if the first can be compared to 'Spider-Man' then I have no hesitation in declaring 'The Bourne Supremacy' the most exciting film of the year behind 'Spider-Man 2'. And that's a reign supreme.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10220&reviewer=293
originally posted: 09/03/04 23:54:57
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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
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT POLISHED, EFFICIENT 3 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 movies...camera 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 movie......how 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Jul-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Aug-2004


Directed by
  Paul Greengrass

Written by
  Tony Gilroy

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



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