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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 Jay Seaver

"Mechanical and only intermittently involving."
2 stars

The Bourne Supremacy may not be the most unnecessary sequel of all time, but for most of its length, it's among the most lackluster. There are only a few points when it is actively bad (but oh, how frustrating those moments are), but its characters are so professional that they never get much chance to become individuals, and the movie only rarely rises above being completely mechanical.

Having a clockwork plot isn't necessarily a bad thing; I greatly enjoyed David Mamet's Spartan earlier this year. The Bourne Supremacy, however, loses its outsider fairly early on, which means that for much of the rest of this film, Matt Damon's Jason Bourne and Joan Allen's Pamela Landy (the CIA operations manager searching for him) are playing an elaborate game of spy vs. spy, and they are so professional about it that there's no emotional or character hook for the audience. Where The Bourne Identity had Franka Pontete's civilian character Marie and Bourne's own search for his identity, Supremacy only fleetingly offers human drama.

I would have liked to see more of Julia Stiles as Nicki, Chris Cooper's assistant from the previous adventure. She probably has less screen time than she did in Identity, but does more with it, as a meet with Bourne adds a jolt of fear to her professionalism. I felt like I had a better handle on her than I ever did on Ms. Allen's Pam, who comes off almost as robotic as Bourne here. There are comments from other CIA characters that Pam's getting in over her head, but those words are never backed up with evidence pro and con. Brian Cox also returns from the first movie as the CIA veteran who had had oversight on the Treadstone assassins.

A big positive for this movie is the location shooting. Bourne and company travel from Goa, India to Naples, Berlin, and Moscow, and for the most part the movies shot there, rather than trying to make Vancouver or a Los Angeles soundstage look like somewhere else. Each of the locations has its own personality, and that makes the scope of the film feel a little better. Also, as anyone who has seen Ronin will tell you, old and narrow European streets make for a much more exhilirating car chase, like the big one through Moscow that serves as this movie's climax should be.

::sigh:: That car chase. It suffers from the same malady as the rest of the movie's action scenes, which is Michael Bay disease - director Paul Greengrass is either unable or unwilling to just give the audience a clear shot at what is happening. This technique works, briefly, in the first chase scene, as it helps the audience share Marie's inability to process all that is happening so fast, but after that, the chaos serves no good purpose. You don't necessarily have to use slow-motion, but pull back a little, stick with a shot for more than half a second, and just basically try to communicate what's going on to us. The final car chase is so frustrating, because there are just enough quick glimpses to show that it could have been one of the greats - you can see how much traffic there is, how fast the cars are moving, and how Bourne and the other assassin are banging against each other, using their vehicles as weapons. But there's no feel for the geography, no flow from one shot to the next.

To make it more painful, John Powell contributes a better-than-decent score; you could argue that Powell does more to generate tension in this movie than anybody else. Damon does his job, finding a very good balance between showing that Bourne is absorbing punishment and pushing through it. And then, after the car chase, Damon finally gets a chance to talk to another character for more than two or three lines, and for more reason than just to move the plot to its next stop, and it's almost enough to redeem the movie.

Instead, it's just enough to keep me from writing off a third Bourne movie as an inherently bad idea. There was potential here, and that potential remains, but The Bourne Supremacy doesn't realize it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10220&reviewer=371
originally posted: 07/28/04 02:19:29
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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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