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THE BOURNE SUPREMACY

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brain Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Gabriel Mann, Joan Allen
Director: Paul Greengrass
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Universal
Features: See Review
Length: 109 Minutes
Release Date: December 7, 2004

"I TOLD YOU PEOPLE TO LEAVE US ALONE!"

Film ***1/2

With The Bourne Identity becoming the big surprise hit that it was more than two years ago, and with more adventures left in the series of novels by Robert Ludlam, a follow up was certainly more than welcome. As good as the first movie was, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that The Bourne Supremacy exceeds it in the most unexpected ways.

First off, if you haven't yet watched the first movie, don't bother jumping ahead to this one, since so many elements of the predecessor are connected to crucial events in the plot of Supremacy. The movie opens as former CIA assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has obtained an identity, but is now haunted by nightmares. The reoccurring nightmare he has may have to do with a key assignment he was ordered to execute while still employed by the agency.

Bourne is currently try to piece together his past while hiding out in India with Marie (Franka Potente), the girl who helped him discover who he was in the first movie. The two are now very much closer than before. However, an even bigger web of deceit is about to head in Bourne's direction.

Cut to Germany, where a cover operation is being supervised by top ranking agent named Pamela Landy (Joan Allen). The op goes awry when the two agents involved are wiped out on the spot by a shadow assassin. It is the work of a rouge Russian agent named Krill (Karl Urban), who manages to pin Bourne to the killings with a single finger print.

When the same agent attempts to kill Bourne in India, the former assassin is once again on the run, only this time he intends on running in the direction of those trying to capture him as opposed to running away from them like in the first movie. Still being haunted by nightmares of the operation known as Treadstone, Bourne's intentions are to confront his former bosses to find out just what happened.

If one thing can be said about The Bourne Supremacy, as well as its predecessor, it's that both movies know how to mix up hard hitting action with a superb level of intelligence, which is to be expected in a CIA-based thriller. The stories very much drive the action, rather than the other way around. And as for the action numbers, they are as fast and furious as they come.

I think that, going into this movie, people were curious to see if the movie would have a car chase equal to that of the energetic chase sequence in The Bourne Identity. Boy does this sequence ever exceed it? Not only does the climatic car chase scene in Moscow surpass the chase in the first movie, but I think it's one of the most incredible car chases ever caught on film. The mind blowing camera work helps in putting the audience right in the front seat with Jason Bourne, and you really do feel all of those hard hitting collisions.

Another superb element in The Bourne Supremacy is the approach by the director, Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday). By applying a hand-held camera technique that acquires most of the movie, the feel of the movie is more authentic than before. It almost gives a documentary-like feeling, as the events and certain dialogue scenes look and sound that look and sound anything but phony.

With its in your face action, superb intrigue, and unexpected twists, The Bourne Supremacy is a dynamite action thriller that can certainly hold its own. Where as Identity was a solid introduction, Supremacy is an unexpected improvement that moves at such a fast pace, that it's impossible to blink.

Video ****

Universal's anamorphic presentation is nothing short of stunning. With the movie's unique use of camera work in tact, the anamorphic picture is sharply detailed, and as clear and crisp as can be. The various locations look fantastic, especially Moscow. Colors are also a strong factor. A marvelously grand picture presentation.

Audio ****

All I can say is…fasten your seat belt! The 5.1 mix on this disc is a pure assault on the sound speakers, and I mean that in a very good way. Everything ranging from the thunderous music score by John Powell to dialogue delivery to the outstanding action. That final car chase in Moscow is one of the best sounding sequences I've ever experienced on a single DVD! The highest of marks all the way!

Features ****

This is perhaps one of Universal's best packages in quite some time, along side the disc for The Chronicles of Riddick. This is one locked and loaded release, featuring a commentary with director Paul Greengrass, a deleted scenes gallery, a grand total of 8 featurettes on everything ranging from casting to fight training, to location shoots to the filming of the car chase in Moscow, and more.

Summary:

If you found The Bourne Identity to be a blast, then you're in for a real superior treat in the form of The Bourne Supremacy. This is an action-laced cinematic knockout that's also a terrific thinking person's kind of movie, which is hard to come by these days.

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