Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Bourne Supremacy

The Bourne Identity was pretty much the perfect action movie and it set the expectations very high for a sequel. Unfortunately, the bastards at the studio couldn't convince Doug Liman (Swingers, Go) to come back and follow up his masterpiece - enter Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday). Greengrass is a departure from the skillful camera shots of Doug Liman. Liman would set up and do these clean sweeping shots that captured everything. Greengrass tends to do that annoying steadicam crap because he isn't used to working with the budget of something like The Bourne Supremacy. Lots of critics seem to be lauding him for it although when I watch an action picture with some dollars behind it I want to see everything. If I wanted quick cuts and half shots I'll watch some shitty Seagal film.

That being said... Greengrass manages to not completely ruin the film. Watching now on a tv instead of the big screen, you don't get quite as jarred from the constant cuts. Bourne finds himself the target of Abbott (Brian Cox) who is trying to tie up the loose ends from the Treadstone project. Abbot sends an assassin (Karl Urban) to kill Bourne, but he fails and instead kills Marie (Franka Potente). This provokes Bourne to come out of hiding to find out what is going on.

Damon is still up to the psysical task, although when the hack director Greengrass... you don't really see everything. In fact, all the action sequences are toned down. There is a ridiculously boring car chase late in the picture that has you checking your watch.

Practically the only thing that saves this mess is the actors. Joan Allen is quite effective as an agent trying to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Bourne. Brian Cox always classes up a film - heck if he can do that with Super Troopers he can do anything. Urban is always better when he doesn't talk unlike the Chronicles of Riddick - which exposed his terrible acting. But you do feel the lack of Chris Cooper here. Cooper is that rare actor who always gives you more than what is in the script.

So bottom line... the film is watchable, but hardly worthy of the accolades given to it. I thought it would be wise to rewatch the second installment so I can try to enjoy the third one. Hopefully, Greengrass learns you can do more with an $80 million budget than the half-assed effort he gives here.


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