By: Akram Shaban
Matt Damon returns as probably-not-Jason-Bourne in the sequel to The Bourne Identity, in The Bourne Supremacy. I watched these movies for the first time specifically for the reviews. I must say that I have been missing out on some of the best action I’ve seen. It also makes me all the more excited for the upcoming Jason Bourne.
The plot is set two years after the ending of the first movie. Jason Bourne is reunited with his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente). They go into hiding, but Bourne continues to have nightmares that consist of fragments of his past. Eventually, they let their guard down a little too much and get discovered by an assassin. The rest is spoiler free history.
So far I’ve only seen the first two movies, but I have noticed a pattern. Jason Bourne did something in the past, and a crooked CIA agent finds a way to manipulate him or frame him. But technically this is one continuous plot. The moles of the first movie influence the next. But it does leave little room for mystery or suspense in terms of the plot. Some characters just scream “secretly corrupt agent.” There is also some oversight on the supposed investigators of the movie. For example, why would super badass, professional, virtually flawless Jason Bourne be so reckless that he leaves a fingerprint behind in that one crucial scene.
But this is an action movie, and Jason Bourne is the center of it all. He is the lure of these movies, and they do not fail on that end. I’ve been told that Paul Greengrass is pretty much the inventor and champion of shaky-cam cinematography. Usually, when I mention this shooting technique, it is when it has put me in a cranky mood. But this time, it wasn’t overwhelmingly distracting. It added to the intensity of the movie. I feel like it was immersive in a way that made you feel like you were in the cars during the chase scenes. And while there were rapid and sudden cuts in those scenes, I could still follow what was going on. A lot of shaky cam attempts nowadays have you try to figure out what’s going on, and you feel dizzy at times.
Most of the movie is Jason Bourne running away from something. Most of the time it’s in a car, but a significant portion is spent on foot. There are plenty of scenes where Bourne has to find some fast and creative solution to an obstacle or dead end. At times you will think “ok, this is the scene where they finally catch him.” But then he whips out a crowbar a slings himself onto a bridge and inconspicuously escapes. That’s the kind of suspense that would keep you watching. In a way, you’re trying to figure out the situation along with Bourne. You too are trying to find out about his past, and the best way to escape a surrounded hotel.
And that’s what I believe the biggest appeal for this movie to be. The audience doesn’t just get to sit back and watch. We have to do some work. We have to keep up with the facts, with settings, locations, and memories. We are as ignorant as Bourne himself, so we are influenced by the same forces that drive him to do what he does. The only difference is that we aren’t trained in the most extreme of mental and physical disciplines. But what we know is all that he knows, which I find fascinating.
If the Jason Bourne series is consistent, then I would imagine no trouble for future iterations to succeed. B+ (8.3/10) for The Bourne Supremacy.