The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Genre: Action and Spy Running Time: 1 hr. 48 min.

Release Date: July 23rd, 2004 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Paul Greengrass Actors: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Gabriel Mann, Joan Allen, Marton Csokas, Michelle Monaghan, Oksana Akinshina




unted – and currently wanted – black ops specialist Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has spent the last two years (approximately) hiding away from the CIA forces who assume he’s dead (or, at least, they’re content to pretend that he is). But Bourne’s seaside sanctuary in India has its limitations. When a hitman shows up on the beach, clearly tracking Jason’s movements, his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente) becomes a liability – and then a casualty. Coincidentally, Bourne ends up in the water yet again, but it has no further effect on his memory. Instead, this new trauma sets into motion a plan to strike back with deadly force at “Treadstone” (the undercover operation that went sideways in the first film) and all those involved.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, Germany, a new top-secret European mission is underway, this time headed by CIA task force chief Pamela Landy (Joan Allen). But Russian oil magnate Yuri Gretkov (Karel Roden), with his own elite assassin called Kirill (Karl Urban), is intent on spoiling the United States’ plans to protect sensitive files, uncover a mole, and track $3 million in cash (intended to buy information related to the loss of $20 million). And, thanks to some planted evidence, Bourne becomes the prime suspect – once again the prey of both the CIA and the Russians responsible for the botched murder plot.

Whereas “The Bourne Identity” was foremost a spy film masquerading as an actioner, this follow-up is predominantly an action picture … and that’s about it. Many of the same players return, including supporting parts by Brian Cox as a corrupt CIA man, Julia Stiles as a logistical operations coordinator (and psychiatric advisor), and Gabriel Mann as a somewhat nameless yes-man, but the majority of new additions are random thugs for Bourne to wrestle with or blow up. For the sake of the nonstop globe-trotting adventures, it’s helpful for Bourne not to be encumbered by a romantic hanger-on this time out. Plus, much of the amusement comes from the former spy tracking and surveilling the very people attempting to track and surveil him.

As for the action sequences, there are still a number of car chases and shootouts, but it’s the close-quarters fighting that has become a little more impressive. Nevertheless, the flashy, speedy editing still gets in the way of enjoying the hand-to-hand choreography of lurching punches or flitting knives. Also in the mix is the return of the bustle of agents and their invasive technology, which continues to fumble around as if deprecated, failing to come anywhere close to Bourne’s adaptive, spontaneous ability to reconnoiter, infiltrate, and interrogate. The music correspondingly makes a comeback (along with, strangely, the very same end-credits anthem by Moby).

While the previous movie used Bourne’s missing memories mostly for the surprise factor of his lethal skills, this new chapter creates a fresh mystery, which Bourne must solve to get to the bottom of his reappearance in the CIA’s crosshairs. But that puzzler is needlessly convoluted and corrupted, designed just to move him from location to location for target practice. Ultimately, “The Bourne Supremacy” is an excuse for merely continuing with visually arresting superspy undertakings – not essential developments to round out a previously unfinished story.

– Mike Massie

  • 6/10