Matt Damon is convincing as Bourne, haunted by fragments of memory and pained by the loss of his peaceful life with Marie and he handles the action easily. Sadly, Franka Potente, as Marie, is missing for most of the film and without her Supremacy struggles to give Bourne the emotional context that helped make The Bourne Identity so engrossing. To compensate, Julia Stiles reprises her role as the former CIA technician, Nicky, and is given some great scenes, as when Jason kidnaps her at gunpoint. Brian Cox also returns as the machinating CIA agent Ward Abbott who meets his match in Allen’s straightforward Landy. And of course there are the requisite car chases, bruising fist fights and cat-and-mouse manoeuvres that were trademarked in the first film. Even so, under British indie director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday), this movie lacks its predecessor’s dramatic impact and style.
If you like nervous, in-your-face camera work and action scenes that move at a blurring pace then The Bourne Supremacy may well be the best film you’ll see in a long time. Greengrass’ documentary past is clear from his choice of hand-held cameras that wobble, twitch and move constantly. No shot lasts much more than five seconds, and conversations and action set pieces are all given the same fast-cutting treatment. Greengrass want you to inhabit the edginess of Bourne’s world and to be a part of the car chases and fist fights. Unfortunately, if you get sea-sick, can’t read while on a coach, or just prefer to see what’s going on in a movie, then Supremacy is virtually unwatchable. And that’s a disappointment as under the maddening camerawork is a great film waiting to get out.
The Bourne franchise makes a refreshing change from the usual crop of slick Bond-style action-thrillers. A third film is devoutly to be wished although some may be hoping that Paul Greengrass is not asked to direct it.