a critiQal film review The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Plot: When the CIA begins tracking down amnesiac Jason Bourne (Damon) for a crime he didn't commit, Bourne must track down the real killers -- and uncover more of his hidden past in the now defunct black-ops project, Treadstone.

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  • ...Damon keeps improving in this series, and this second film helps him cement his new 'action hero' status a little bit more.

Jason Bourne is back! After the surprisingly good job Matt Damon did in The Bourne Identity (2002), a lot of fans were hyped up about seeing a sequel. Luckily for us, the books that these films are based on are actually parts one and two of a trilogy (!) by Robert Ludlum. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, one has to wonder: will Matt Damon be able to again become the action star he wants to be in The Bourne Supremacy, or will he become just a wannabe?

It seems Damon has learned a bit more about his character in The Bourne Supremacy. He continues to play Bourne perfectly, even improving on his role from the The Bourne Identity (2002). In the first film, he worked so well with Franka Potente, most were probably hoping for a repeat of that good team. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to work with her very much in this film, and the film does lack a little because of it. He does his best to make up for it, however, and definitely keeps the film going with his real grasp on his character.

There are quite a few other characters back from the first film as well in The Bourne Supremacy. Brian Cox takes on more of a role here than he did in the first, and does just as good a job with it, especially in his scenes with a newcomer to the series, Joan Allen. Julia Stiles is back as well, and does a better job in her small role in this film than she did with her brief role in the previous film. Even Gabriel Mann and Clive Cooper put in appearances again as well. Karl Urban, best known for Eomer from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), is another of the newcomers to the series, and does a good job as an assassin going after Bourne.

The plot picks up from almost where we left off in the last film. Still an amnesiac, Bourne is trying to piece together pieces of his old life when he is suddenly thrust back into conflict with the government. That basically sums it up.

The Bourne Supremacy has got a nice continuity from the original film, and with all of the main actors returning to their roles, it helps make the movie feel as if it’s just the second-piece of the trilogy. That’s not to say this movie can’t stand on it’s own – it can. But the best way to see it is to watch the original then this film back-to-back. Some sequels really divulge from the original, giving it a totally different feel (see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), for instance). This film knew the first was successful, and wanted to keep following the same patterns, right down to the slightly jerky camera movement that gets you right into the action.

So, is The Bourne Supremacy better than The Bourne Identity (2002)? Not quite. While Damon keeps improving in the title role, the lack of a lot of the great Damon/Potente team we saw in the first film definitely leaves something missing in the film.

For those of you who haven’t seen The Bourne Identity (2002), check it out today. You’ll definitely want to own that film (now in an Explosive Extended Edition DVD) and The Bourne Supremacy. I know I want to. That’ll keep me going until The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) hits theaters.

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