PG-13 for violence and intense action, and
for brief language
1 hr. 48 minutes
Drama, Action/Adventure, Thriller
Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Joan
Allen, Julia Stiles
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The Bourne Supremacy
By Megan Basham
One thing's for certain--Russian taxicabs can sure take
a beating. Or at least that's the impression you get in one of The
Bourne Supremacy's heart-stopping action sequences.
Now, as a woman, I do not use the phrase "heart-stopping action
sequence" lightly. There are few things I find more irritating
than the drawn-out, predictable chase scenes that pass for action
these days. In fact, I usually plead with my husband to wait until
the latest "thrill-a-minute" blockbuster comes out on DVD
so that at least I can get a snack while the hero is leaping from
expensive European sports cars onto sleek European bullet trains.
So I'm happy to report that The Bourne Supremacy suffers from
none of the tragically hip trappings that usually come along with
spy flicks. This is not to say it skimps on action--it just makes
them so visceral you may very well find yourself looking around on
the floor for your breath.
We catch up with Jason Bourne where we left him two years ago at
the end of the groundbreaking Bourne Identity. He is still
with the naturally lovely Marie on a beach in India, trying in vain
to remember who he is and why so many people are trying to kill him.
Only the second film in this series, Supremacy reaffirms the
franchise as a remarkable departure from today's typical spy fare.
Though it retains the requisite panorama of stunning international
locations swarming with turncoat agents and ever-shifting covert alliances,
it offers the audience much more than mere style. CGI-free and focused
on the emotional impact of violence, it is far less entranced with
spectacle than with watching Matt Damon's eyes direct the plot of
His performance in the title role is once again razor sharp. Though
they are reportedly best-friends, when it comes to acting, Damon may
very well be the "anti-Ben." He is as understated and shrewd
as Affleck is unruly and grandstanding. Damon doesn't need cheap,
"I'm-so-handsome-couldn't-you-just-die" swagger to fill
up two hours of screen time, he has talent to do that.
But while the acting and direction are top-notch, what I like best
about this thriller is that it presents violence-soaked Americans
with a spy who comes to understand the spiritual consequence of taking
life--even if one is just following orders. The assassinations Bourne
carries out not glamorous; they're gritty and ugly and wreak havoc
with his soul, even when he knows the bad guys have it coming.
Bourne becomes more restrained throughout the film as this truth
sinks in, even going so far as to try and make amends to the victim
of his first agency "job." Unlike James Bond or Ethan Hunt,
Jason Bourne never experiences satisfaction from killing one of his
adversaries. Instead, we get the feeling that he is entirely sorry
for what he has had to resort to in order to save his life.
Though it carries moral messages (or perhaps because it does) The
Bourne Supremacy is still supremely thrilling. Rarely does it
fail to stimulate our eyes even as it speaks to our heads. That's
a rare thing for this genre and it is certainly worth cheering (or
at least paying 8 bucks) for.
Entertainment Grade: A- / Moral Grade: B
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