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Awesome: 37.42%
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9 reviews, 101 user ratings

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Bourne Supremacy, The
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by David Cornelius

"A real treat for those wanting smart, grown-up action."
5 stars

It’s been a year of sequels that are managing to outshine their predecessors, and of them all, “The Bourne Supremacy” is - surprise! - the best of them all. The film is everything we liked about “The Bourne Identity,” only with a more steamlined, involving plot and, dare I say it, better action sequences. This is a complex, grown up thriller that’s rich in its gritty detail and nearly flawless in its stuntwork. And if you thought the car chase last time around was nifty, step back: the one in “Supremacy” is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Both films were scripted by Tony Gilroy and adapted from the popular thriller novels by Robert Ludlum; the difference is all in the new director, Paul Greengrass. Greengrass is a guy who loves the shaky handheld camerawork, and while that’s usually a sign of a filmmaker who’s run out of better options or who’s looking for cheap instant style, that’s not what happens here. Somehow the director takes this visual gimmick and uses it for the film’s advantage, heightening tension and creating a sense of lived in realism. Greengrass lets the audience feel like a fly on the proverbial wall - or passenger seat, as we’re right along side Matt Damon as cars smash into him. The result is a movie that comes off as darker, more secretive (an excellent feel for a spy thriller), and remarkably believable. (The director used the handheld style for similar realism in “Bloody Sunday.”)

The script also tosses us oodles of realism, or, at least, manages to sell the espionage stuff as real enough. As with David Mamet’s “Spartan,” “Supremacy” finds its characters talking like real people would, not dumbing down their dialogue with clunky exposition for the sake of the audience. The world here is one of agents and company men who speak their own code and play out their own politics, and it’s up to the viewer to follow along, not the characters to stop and explain. I always love it when a film trusts its audience to be intelligent - because it’s something that happens so rarely in Hollywood movies.

So we have here is a thriller soaking in realism (hey! we even see rearview mirrors in cars!), so it should be no surprise that so many of the events come as complete, um, surprises. (You get the idea.) People die here suddenly and unexpectedly, their deaths never timed to be convenient to the plot but dropped in almost at random because, hey, that’s how these things would actually turn out.

All of this works wonders for a guy like me who enjoys a solid spy caper. Better still, the filmmakers aren’t merely concerned with keeping things realistic; they’re also building an exciting plotline filled with detailed characters. This is the sort of rich spy drama/character study that fans have been hoping the next Bond picture will be.

Watch the scenes that leave our hero, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon, reprising his role from the original), brimming with anxiety over his still-cloudy mind. Other filmmakers would have made Bourne a Bondian superhero of sorts, but here he’s a man of many problems, including self-doubt - not your average lead role. He even gets to chill out for a rather tender final scene that has him revealing his demons in a moment that’s rather heartbreaking. Damon plays this character wonderfully, unafraid to go for emotion over action, willing to be more than just a blank movie hero.

But don’t worry, stunt fanatics, he’s still a kick-ass assassin able to outwit anyone who dare cross his path, which in this case is a whole slew of CIA personnel as well as the Russian mob. The plot, which I’d rather not reveal, gives Bourne plenty of opportunities to globetrot, shooting, running, and wrecking cars all along the way. This is an action movie fan’s dream, with a man of action as our hero and sequences that give us endless visceral jolts.

Brian Cox and Julia Stiles return from the first movie, and there’s a new hitman in the form of Karl Urban, and while all are cool in their parts (even Stiles, who’s given much more to do this time out), the biggest asset in the supporting cast is Joan Allen. With the deep precision we’ve come to expect from this wonderful performer, Allen plays the CIA deputy director who’s on Bourne’s trail (trying not to give away plot here), and with all of her tough, quiet obsessiveness, she becomes something of a Lt. Gerard; we don’t want her to catch Bourne but don’t want her to lose, either. The script solves this dilemma by giving her another adversary as well, which lets us cheer for people in all directions.

Let’s hope Allen gets to return for the sequel, which I’m hoping there will be, considering there’s more to go in Ludlum’s book series. This is a movie series that now demands another entry, if only to see more action sequences like those found here, if only to see Damon return once more what could very well be his best role to date, if only to get more intelligent, mature, intricately plotted and cleverly written spy drama. If only Hollywood would make more movies as smart and as thrilling as this one.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10220&reviewer=392
originally posted: 12/06/04 20:03:06
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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
6/02/14 Quada Great spy cinema 5 stars
5/21/14 The king One of the greatest action movies ever 5 stars
11/22/13 Lord Leave Jason Bourne alone 5 stars
10/01/13 The rock Intelligent action movie 5 stars
1/12/09 Anonymous. really good action, i like the way it ends :P 4 stars
10/27/08 blah blah awesome 5 stars
10/06/08 Shaun Wallner Intense Action!! 5 stars
3/02/08 ladavies Matt Damon is currently the best action hero around. 4 stars
1/31/08 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
10/11/07 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
2/17/07 R.W.Welch Not quite up to Identity but close enough. B- 4 stars
5/25/06 William Goss Rather solid spy sequel, w/ equally sweet car chase, but prefer Identity just a bit better. 4 stars
5/19/06 Kcaj Loved some of the effects but you only really enjoy it once 4 stars
2/06/06 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
8/18/05 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
7/31/05 Beth Kerrick Great action, keeps you on the edge of your seat. 4 stars
7/23/05 Carolyn Rathburn Good movie, lots of action decent story line 4 stars
7/20/05 Chris Much better than "Die Another Day", enough said. 5 stars
7/18/05 Eric Rollins Not as much fun as original but action is top-notch 4 stars
7/17/05 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
5/29/05 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
4/28/05 kathleen4691 Didn't see Identity, but I will now. 5 stars
4/25/05 E-FUNK The camera-work is vomit-inducing. Pretty limp sequel to a great original. 3 stars
3/14/05 cinkcool Shoudn't even be called the Bourne Supremecy...onle resemblance to the book is its name. 3 stars
2/22/05 julia great movie 5 stars
2/21/05 Fabri My favorite movie ever 5 stars
2/10/05 H.P. Lovecraft Great sequel. Better than the first one. 5 stars
1/27/05 Charlie Great! 4 stars
1/27/05 Bobby da Squid Entertaining, great locations, incredible chase scene 4 stars
1/13/05 Raymond Shaw what the hell did they do? strap the camera on a fly's back for chrissake? 1 stars
1/04/05 M S 5 stars
1/02/05 Franka not bad at all, just bad camera work at times, book better as usual 3 stars
12/30/04 Tjalda L. Schiel Does Hollywood have any camera men without the DTs? 2 stars
12/26/04 The Mockingbird Same movie, minus the chick, plus more emotion on Damon's part, who is more endearing/hot 4 stars
12/22/04 Tatiana Wisp-thin plot, but awesomely entertaining (especially some of the "Russian" accents). 4 stars
12/18/04 Nicole Entertaining action movie - keeps you on edge 4 stars
11/28/04 Kristina Williams Matt Damon is officially the shit 5 stars
11/27/04 Italian Guy scene in the tunnel best ever!! 5 stars
11/14/04 Gabby These movies are leading the way on how it should be done. Both excellent. 5 stars
11/03/04 Dave Marney The musical score is exceptional, a perfect complement to every frame in this film. 5 stars
11/02/04 Stevo It seems everyone agrees on the camera work. Why do they keep doing it? 5 stars
9/21/04 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
9/05/04 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
8/25/04 S.F. Good as sequels go. I kind of liked the way the first film wrapped up. 4 stars
8/18/04 Ketan Patel Excellent film, keeps to the original...nice touch with end titles and music by Moby 5 stars
8/15/04 David Devine Horrible, choppy camera work. The director must suffer from ADD. 3 stars
8/15/04 Peter James Flawed, but entertaining none the less 4 stars
8/14/04 Koitus Good flick! PHAT car chase, but agree "too much camera-work" in some scenes... 4 stars
8/12/04 Mike H Get Doug Liman directing for next film. A 5 except bad camerawork, i.e. ruined car chase. 4 stars
8/12/04 Obi Wan Damon continues to pick right movies...camera was to shakey though! 4 stars
8/11/04 kc somewhat entertaining but nothing original, camera work was dizzying without purpose 2 stars
8/11/04 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
7/31/04 psychotic black dwarf Die Welt ist keine Ware= the world isn't a commodity. (It's just Bourne's playground.) 5 stars
7/31/04 maryellen entertaining movie......how many lines did Matt Damon have. Oh well my husband liked it! 3 stars
7/31/04 John an action film with some integrity - reminiscent of the great films of the 70's 4 stars
7/30/04 arctic The film making style of The Bourne Series is so different than most movies. 4 stars
7/30/04 teegee Ditto SW Kennemer. But nausea-inducing camera-work aside, entertaining. 4 stars
7/30/04 Jack Bourbon Fun movie. 4 stars
7/29/04 SW Kennemer way TOO MUCH shaky camera shooting 4 stars
7/29/04 Mark D. Fulwiler good well paced movie 4 stars
7/28/04 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
7/27/04 scott grabowski great 5 stars
7/27/04 ad Another entertaining movie. 4 stars
7/27/04 Mike Devans excellent 5 stars
7/27/04 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
7/26/04 nuke Greengrass should be sent out to greener pastures 4 stars
7/26/04 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
7/25/04 Phonse Fagan Gross overuse of the "jerky camera method". 2 stars
7/25/04 William Wells I would have liked it more if I could have seen the actions sences and not blur. 3 stars
7/25/04 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
7/24/04 j brown The only viewers who wern't please should give more thought to their expectations 5 stars
7/24/04 Lord Jiggy Bourne to Rule. Smart, confident...and the trailer didn't give away the whole damn movie! 5 stars
7/24/04 Uncle Phucker Edited in such a way that many times its hard to tell whats happening. First was very good. 1 stars
7/24/04 Chris I think the camera man had MS. Great movie, but the camera work was to quick and short. 4 stars
7/24/04 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
7/23/04 Jim That's one hell of a car chase through that tunnel. 4 stars
7/23/04 Mix Master Mason I, robot & this Turd should be shown back to back, 4 hours of cliche' 'action' scenes. Yawn 2 stars
7/20/04 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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