johnlink ranks THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004)

A few days after revisiting the first BOURNE film, I was able to move on to the second in the series. This is the shaky-cam filled sequel, directed by Paul Greengrass, which turned some people off to the series. While no one seemed to question the story or the character development, there were those who just couldn’t get past the handheld camera usage. Me? I always liked this entire series.

I watched THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004) on 7.1.12. It was my third viewing of the film, and first since just before the release of BOURNE ULTIMATUM in 2007.

Rumor has it that Greengrass was selected to direct this second installment due to the fact that he was in no way affiliated with the action genre. He brings a seriousness to the film which elevates it beyond much of the less subtle action genre, and as a result this film plays more like a 70s espionage film than a 21st century action-thriller.

At least, most of the time it does. Bourne seeks some revenge for a killer first-act twist I won’t spoil for anyone who has yet to see this. And while most of this film concerns Bourne again trying to remember who he is, the movie also takes some necessary detours into violence. The action is jaw-dropping, and includes a classic knife versus magazine fight which is just inspiring. I don’t have a problem with the handheld camera as much as I wish they didn’t feel the need to cut every second and a half. The action looks great, but I feel it is in spite of the editing rather than because of it. I’m sure there was some compensating for the fact that Matt Damon was doing a lot of these fights himself, but the consistent quick cuts were excessive. Having aired that complaint, I still do love the choreography, and enjoy the way the action flows.

Keeping in check with the first film we have a centerpiece car chase jacked full of intensity. Is there any way the little cab Bourne drives would have survived the entire chase? Not a chance in hell. But, well, this is an action flick and they certainly have to take some liberties.

What I appreciate most about this film is its pacing. While this isn’t in the ’70s slow’ genre I invented, it certainly considers its actions more than standard action films do. By doing so, the people chasing Bourne are allowed to be more genuinely fleshed out. We get a nice battle of dicks between Joan Allen’s Landy and returning spy-in-a-suit champion Abbott (Brian Cox), who is still trying to kill Bourne after everything that went wrong for him in the first film.

This is a series which feels like it has a natural build, even if it wasn’t necessarily created with the idea of a trilogy in mind. Bourne gets much more desperate, takes it all so much more personally. There is a small disconnect between how the government thinks they programmed him, and how he actually acts. But perhaps that is the point. All these other assassins are seen as machines, as programmed goods. Bourne, because of his amnesia which sparks the events of the first film, has been deprogrammed enough to interact in society. He sees his former self as an entirely different person, even if it is a person for whom he has to answer. The thematic build is nice, and I appreciate how well this film strikes the proper tone. There is very little humor or joy in this second film. It is shot more darkly, and much more occurs at night. That can be a death sentence for some action franchises, but BOURNE SUPREMACY succeeds because of it.

SCORES

FILM: 7; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 8

7+7+7+8+0=29

FINAL SCORE: 7.25

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~ by johnlink00 on July 2, 2012.

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