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Review published
July 26, 2004
A.J.'s Rating:    3.5 Spygame Stars
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    Sequel Alert!  Sequel Alert!  Matt Damon returns as the ex-CIA assassin known as Jason Bourne, with The Bourne Supremacy picking up right where The Bourne Identity left off.  When we last saw Jason and Marie, they were planning to lead a normal life of anonymity together.  But then, if they were to succeed, this would be an incredibly boring movie.  Luckily for us, it's not long before another ruthless assassin arrives to shatter their 'happily-ever-after'.  The result?  Bourne is back with a vengeance!  The twist to this 'ex-warrior' cliché is that, instead of being tortured by memories of his brutal past, Bourne continues to be brutally tortured by a past he can not remember.  Coolness!
    I love this recent trend of sequels that thoughtfully continue the original story, rather than shamelessly regurgitate the original story with new surroundings and characters.  The Bourne Supremacy is such a sequel.  While the same themes that drove The Bourne Identity also drive this second installment, the ensuing adventure is surprisingly original.  It helps that the story is based on the novel by Robert Ludlum, his skills raising the affair above what could easily have been The Bourne Identity 2: Bourne Again. The only drawback is that, for those who aren't familiar with The Bourne Identity, nothing in The Bourne Supremacy is going to make a lick of sense.
    The standout acting performance this time out is by Bourne newcomer Joan Allen as Pamela Landy, who takes the reigns at CIA headquarters to attempt to bring Bourne in.  She achieves a strong presence as the narrative center of the events, even against the films better known characters.  Also turning in a solid performance is Matt Damon himself, who proves that, with a solid script behind him, he can indeed act convincingly.
    And now... time to rant!  What was director Paul Greengrass thinking?  He had all the elements at his disposal to make a fantastic thriller, then didn't bother to keep anything in focus or stationary long enough for anyone to see them!  In fact, only 5 minutes into The Bourne Supremacy, I was ready to scream at some poor, pimply-faced projectionist for screwing things up.  But then, to my horror, I realized that it wasn't a projection problem!  What happened, Greengrass... did a steady-cam kill your father?  I've seen more stable camera work in 'Dockers' commercials!  Perhaps suspending all the cameras from Slinkys wasn't such a good idea.  Is that old Blair Witch infatuation flaring up again?  Don't you know it's wrong to strap cameras to monkeys?  Oh, sure, it may be funny, but it's still wrong!  You're putting a starving union cinematographer out of work!  Bad director!  Bad!
    Alrighty then.  To sum up, if not for one glaring miscalculation, The Bourne Supremacy would have been an excellent movie.  The screenplay is great, the actors are great, and the directing is, well, I hesitate to even call it that.  If you can stand shaky-cam overload and pointless MTV-style editing, then it's worth a look.  Personally, I'm recommending it with higher hopes for the next Bourne adventure! (new director to be named later)
Directed By:  Paul Greengrass
Written By: Robert Ludlum (novel) / Tony Gilroy (screenplay)
Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban,
Gabriel Mann, Joan Allen

MPAA:  Rated PG-13
The Bourne Supremacy