The Bourne Supremacy

Posted by james on April 19, 2007

(post.rating: 9)

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Just got done with Bourne Supremacy, and I'm amazed. First, I vaguely remember watching the prequel, The Bourne Identity. I can't remember much, except that it had Matt Damon (doing ok), incredibly fast paced hand-to-hand action, a non-standard female lead (Run Lola Run's Franka Potente), and was mostly decent. I really can't remember much of it though. Oh yeah, and Julia Stiles in a out-of-place strange/confusing role (some pretty girl in a broom closet talking on the phone, randomly).

The previews looked good; they always do. But this time, thankfully, they didn't lie as usual. The action was pretty intense, the characters all seemed right. There's a certain brusque and concise manner to the actor's physical movement, a no-nonsense approach to action and spy-ification (spy as a verb?) that's the complete opposite of all-flash James Bond style movements. Each physical fight under-emphasizes each movement and lets things get lost in a flurry of movement. Frankly, it's what I always wish for while I'm waiting out the typical 20-second slow motion flying-roundhouse kick, plus an extra 3 seconds to watch Tom Cruise's hair move back into place. Do I digress?

I was sad that Franka had a 5 minute role in the movie, and I almost wished they'd established either her character or her importance to Bourne/Damon. But after watching to the end, it makes sense. Any time spent emphasizing their relationship would've been cheesy recap for the "There was a first one?" crowd, and wasted valuable time. Touche, nameless director, touche. I'm beginning to think that Brian Cox is doomed to be type-casted as, what I'll only name, "The Creepy Guy with the Drawling Voice". I didn't even think about Joan Allen as the no-nonsense female boss during the movie, which is quite a compliment; she did exactly the role, perfect. Usually they stand out with "I'm tougher than any guy!" insecurities and get in the way. Karl Urban wins first prize as the best bad guy with the least amount of lines. I didn't even realize he hadn't spoke much, his intensity makes up for it.

Last, the dark horse... Julia Stiles. She's actually a double-surprise. She's supposed to be a favorite, but all the things I can remember her in she's been absolutely miserable (actually, all I can picture is her in "10 Things I Hate About You". Gah). But during that one scene (don't want to say too much), wow. Just incredible. It's one of the most amazing moments on screen I've seen in a long, long time. It's one of those things that make you reevaluate your opinions on a seemingly overrated actor(ress). Is she actually good in anything? Worth trying to figure out...

Last, Damon. Pretty amazing. He's been really good in other roles (Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan of course) and he's still good. It probably has a lot to do with good script writing not trying to ham everything up, but he's just good.

Overall, I'm really surprised to find a great and solid sequel to my vague memories of an uninspiring action movie. I really do think I'll have to rewatch the Bourne Identity now...

PS. I almost forgot! My only complaint about the movie is actually attached to a compliment. They hired some indie-director to do an almost documentary-style approach, which really helps. I really do appreciate the underkey, personal cinematography, it really does engross you in Bourne's struggle. However (and this is a big one), I would also like to deem the action sequences of the movie "NaseaVision". Really close, really shaky, all confusing. Come on man, use some medium shots to balance out those "in your face" closeups. It's like watching an earthquake from 2 inches away. Chaotic, confusing, and gives me a headache.