HOW D'YA LIKE THEM APPLES?
July 20, 2004
In theatres July 23, 2004
Admittedly, after watching the Bourne Identity, I wasn’t really that concerned whether there was a sequel or not. Sure, the film was interesting, and far more intelligent than your average action-espionage flick, but there wasn’t really anything that left me wanting more. So, in approaching the new-Bourne, I was firmly grounded in a state of indifference. Thankfully, the Bourne Supremacy fixes most of the shortcomings of the previous film, delivering a tighter narrative, and a far more interesting Bourne.
BS (heh heh) starts a few years after the paperback-romance ending of the first one. Bourne is still jetting about Europe with Franka -- at least, until she gets shot by a dastardly Russian (Thor from LOTR) in a botched attempt on Bourne’s life. Bourne takes the attempt as a sign that Treadstone is after him again, and sets about what he promised in the first film (ie. Take the fight to The Man’s doorstep!). To complicate matters even more, those dastardly Russians have framed Bourne for an unsanctioned assassination in Berlin. The CIA’s not too happy about his fingerprints being found at the scene of the crime, and launch an investigation, headed by Joan Allen, into the operations of Treadstone and the whereabouts of Bourne. With the Agency closing in on Bourne, and Bourne returning the favor, the stage is set for some kickass “wrong-spy” action, as Bourne tries to clear his name while staying off the grid.
As far as technical aspects are concerned, the film is shot as if caught on the fly. Every action sequence and intense conversation is captured in an unfiltered, herky-jerky hand held, helping to add to the realism of the picture. A prime example of the technique can be found in the end car chase, as the camera frantically tries to capture all the action as if it were a tourist performing their self-appointed civic duty of documenting random disasters and acts of mayhem. As such, the chase is actually the best, and most believable straight chase I’ve seen since Ronin.
All in all, The Bourne Supremacy is a very solid action film that maintains the intelligence of the original. While I didn’t care to follow the adventures of Bourne after the first film, I am very much interested after this one.
Identity. Its what we take to the grave with us, yet in this era of convenient technoid lifting, it’s all too easy for complete strangers to steal it, spend your money and soil your good name. Why, they could even frame you for murder in a high profile special investigations case, destroy the only relationship that means anything to you, and thrust you into a spiraling death march that solidifies your sudden lack of anonymity. Of course that’s what happens to Jason Bourne and of course it has you at the edge of your seat the entire time.
Predictable with a glaring plot flaw* beyond redemption, The Bourne Supremacy is still chockfull of suspense, action and a bitchin’ car chase (now that’s what I’ve been waiting for!). What was missing for me in the first installment was character warmth. Although a completely different catalyst and scenario, I was disappointed that there was no urgency in recalling his true self. The sequel stops short of being overly sappy, but allows us to grasp emotions and relations through the stoicism.
Some of the camera-actor dialogue worked well; especially in the beginning where you really feel the bond between Bourne and Marie. In some scenes the clip-clop editing and cinematography could’ve used a little “decaffeinating” --jittery hand-held overload with a miasmic mix-up of unsorted unattractive close range shots that were visually pointless and minimally distracting. Other than that, it was very direct, blatant action zoom with the subject often smack dab centered and fight scenes tumbling rapidly across the screen (as is the major trend) and served the storyline accordingly. One more tiny quibble: the music (uhh a recycled Moby tune) and Ikea furniture.. isn’t this supposed to be big budget?
Overall, Bourne Supremacy was entertaining with a perfect release date (mid Summer) to almost serve as the transition into more serious swashbuckling (i.e.: I Robot, etc).
*POSSIBLE SPOILER: Out of all the criminals in the world, why choose the fingerprints of one who could be link-traced to the underlying scam that started it all? Even if they had successfully assassinated Bourne, it would’ve opened up a thorough investigation.