Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen
Director: Paul Greengrass
Running Time: 108 mins
The Bourne Supremacy is an American film and the second in the Bourne series. After being targeted by a Russian assassin whilst in hiding with Marie, Jason Bourne is forced to return to Europe and engage in a tense cat-and-mouse chase as he attempts to uncover the truth behind a brutal murder that he is being blamed for.
It’s very rare that a sequel can be so similar to its predecessor, and yet make that its biggest positive. Retaining the thrills and intrigue that made The Bourne Identity so great, as well as the perfect central performance by Matt Damon, along with a breath of fresh air in the form of new director Paul Greengrass, The Bourne Supremacy is a display of brilliance when it comes to the espionage-thriller genre.
Once again, the highest praise that I can give this movie is that it has a very clear and confident identity, and the way in which it allows its story to unfold gradually, whilst retaining a rapid pace and high-octane thrills, was absolutely brilliant. Just like the previous film, I was hooked on The Bourne Supremacy from start to finish, and its continuous unpredictability and intelligence make it a truly impressive watch.
If there’s one way in which this film doesn’t quite match up to the first, it’s the fact that the tension between Bourne and his pursuers isn’t as strong. It’s still there, and there are some undoubtedly suspenseful moments where the two sides face off, but in comparison to the first, where there was a deeper, personal tension and hatred driving both Bourne and his enemies, it’s not quite as effective.
But apart from that, The Bourne Supremacy stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Identity in almost every single way. Once again, the patient revealing of small details to increase the intrigue and suspicion as the film moves towards boiling point was fantastic to see, whilst Matt Damon does a truly brilliant job playing a bruiser-type Jason Bourne in a much more solitary role than last time out.
In fact, there is one part of this film that is an improvement over the first: Paul Greengrass’ directing. Whilst I loved Doug Liman’s ability to keep the film fast and exciting throughout, as well as his unique visual style, I felt that the action scenes directed by Greengrass were truly exhilarating.
Using shaky cam to perfect effect (and not too regularly either), Greengrass turns some of the smallest action scenes into hugely intense ones, and that makes a huge difference in giving the film a heavier, grittier intensity than the first one, which was good to see.
Overall, I loved The Bourne Supremacy. It’s just as good as the first film, with ingenious storytelling and performances yet again, as well as a new directing take on the series from Paul Greengrass, and that’s why it gets an 8.1 from me.