Classic Intel: The Bourne Supremacy - DVD Review

'Karl Urban's assassin Kirill is a welcome presence, blending into and out of the scenery and the plot quietly; like a Jean-Claude Van Damme impersonator on Valium'

Like any middle entry of a franchise, The Bourne Supremacy faces the dual difficulty of tying up the loose ends of the first effort and opening up enough new ones to justify the third film. New director Paul Greengass does what many new directors have done before him by choosing to stamp his seal early and kill off a major character. It's a brave step but one that, ultimately, works almost without reservation and lends the series, and the Bourne character (Matt Damon) in particular, a new angle to work on.

What doesn't work in Greengrass' first film though are two elements that almost single handedly wipe out any chance Supremacy had of being perfect; namely the anonymous Rusky villain (Karel Roden) who seems to have walked in from a completely different universe and the over-long, rambling, coda which, unlike the first film, adds nothing of a satisfying nature to the narrative. Roden's character in particular really grates and on several occasions it feels like he should have a white cat to stroke, dragging the series back down to the bad Bonds which the first film dispelled all knowledge of.

The script too, falters sometimes. 'Scary version?' someone - presumably a spotty-teenage hacker enquiring about the World's impending destruction - asks at one point whilst at another, 'uh-huh' appears to be accepted as a formal answer to a question from someone who's not part of the Tea Party movement. For all those sorts of problems, the story itself is a great continuation of Identity's with the voice of CIA authority moving fluidly and believably to Joan Allen's Pamela Landy. Although it's not quite twisting, the story does spiral around, seeking answers and whilst its doing this, many scenes are delivered so professionally they feel almost improvised.

In amongst this, Karl Urban's assassin Kirill is a welcome presence, blending into and out of the scenery and the plot quietly; like a Jean-Claude Van Damme impersonator on Valium. The trademark violence and action also continue, with an in-kitchen fight a highlight, whilst Greengrass pulls off a Ronin-esque car chase with precision and stylish direction. The conclusion though is a problem, especially after revelations about Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) suggested a more satisfying final frame. Still good but certainly a backward step from Liman's effort and the atypical stop gap for the greater things that were to come.




Look further...

'Bourne only has about three facial expressions -- blank, tense and furious -- but Damon captures the torrent of emotions flowing underneath and presents a character who works as a three-dimensional study' - Not Just Movies, 4.5/5

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