Review: The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Matt Damon stars in Paul Greengrass's The Bourne Supremacy. Framed for a botched CIA operation in Berlin, Bourne is drawn back into action

The Bourne Supremacy is the second of the franchise. Framed for a botched CIA operation in Berlin, Jason Bourne is drawn back into action as a trained killer in order to survive.

Regrettably, without the amnesia hook and with the early death of Maria, there is little in this second film to warrant viewing. The wintry charm of the first film’s locations is lost in place of the more touristy European locations of Naples and Berlin, the varying plot strands apparently connecting Bourne to current events are ludicrously constructed, and generally there is less excitement and instead more meaningless posturing between Bourne and his CIA foes.

Worst is the state that Matt Damon’s character is left in now that he is in pure isolation. Without the emotional output that Franka Potente’s character drew, Bourne becomes almost automatised in his reactions and movements. This leaves him much less endearing and sympathetic than in The Bourne Identity, and therefore less watchable.

What can be said about the film is its improvement in the few fight scenes that are featured. Doug Liman had a habit of speeding up the combat scenes of the previous film, giving them an almost artificial look. As the new director, Paul Greengrass, relies instead on close, jerky camerawork, focusing on individual parts of the body that are being used at any particular time, highlighting the skill and variety of fighting styles shown, and in real time. This is not enough to save the film from its many weaknesses, but certainly keeps up with the fine tradition of constructing some of the most memorable fight sequences within this genre of film.

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