Friday, July 15, 2016

Bourne Watch: The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

As Jason Bourne is headed soon for theaters, I'm catching up with the three Matt Damon starring Bourne films, and may watch the one with Jeremy Renner (thereby becoming the one person who has seen the one starring Jeremy Renner).

I didn't actually remember much about the plot to The Bourne Supremacy (2004), only moments from the film.  It's the one where he fights a dude with a rolled up magazine, his girlfriend takes a headshot, a massive car chase in Moscow...  stuff like that.  And, of course, Joan Allen.

But it turns out that the story picks up very, very well from the first movie, both the threads from Treadstone and Jason Bourne's evolution as a character, culminating in a heartbreaking scene in the final minutes of the movie that tell you how much this programmed assassin has managed to restore of his humanity.

I have mixed feelings about the direction of Paul Greengrass, which became known through this movie as a hyper-kinetic shooting and editing style that doesn't match action on the cut and provides a sense of disorientation and paranoia to the events of the film and is thereby pretty successful.  But, every once in a while, he could do with not cutting on the 1-second mark.  Occasionally I'd like to feel some continuity between shots.

The movie stars, of course, Matt Damon as Bourne, Franka Potente as Maria, Joan Allen as a CIA section chief Pam Landy, Brian Cox is back as shady CIA chief Ward Abbott, Julia Stiles as Nicky the CIA chewtoy and a very young Karl Urban as a Russian secret service agent.

Bourne has gone to ground and isn't bothering anyone while he suns himself in India, but meanwhile someone has murdered a CIA Agent and a Russian accomplice and framed Bourne.  And soon Bourne's sojourn and attempts to recover his memory are interrupted by Karl Urban there to make short work of him (and getting Maria).

So, he's off to Europe to find out why the CIA is on him, and... our plot unfolds.

I like the character of Pam Landy.  She provides some evidence that the CIA is not entirely comprised of law-breaking heels, but she's also a seemingly competent agent who has stepped into the deep end without realizing it.  There's a lot at stake for her professionally and otherwise, and her character's arc to rising to the challenge (even if the rewards do not seem great.  Hey, welcome to government work.) is a much needed backbone for the movie.

If I had one thing that made me kind of roll my eyes during this movie, it was watching Bourne's small Russian stolen cab get t-boned about three times and (a) keep driving and (b) Bourne walks away with a minor limp.  No, Jason Bourne, you need an ambulance.  Possibly a hearse.

But, overall, it's still a great thriller with some excellent scenes and moments, and top flight action.

Plus, of course, Joan Allen.


J.S. said...

I'm assuming that all of this is leading up to a screening of the new Bourne movie. I want in.

The League said...

Release date is next Friday. Want to go next Sunday?