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The Bourne Supremacy (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: On the Move with Jason Bourne. Bourne to be Wild: Fight Training. Crash Cam: Racing Through the Streets of Moscow. Deleted scenes. Matching Identities: Casting. Keeping It Real. Blowing Things Up. The Go-Mobile Revs Up the Action. Anatomy of a Scene: The Explosive Bridge Chase Scene. Scoring with John Powell. Feature commentary with director Paul Greengrass.

JASON Bourne may be a spy without a memory, but he has plenty of other attributes to make time in his company worth spending.

As portrayed by Matt Damon, he is a tough, ruthless, former assassin who takes no prisoners when on a mission, yet, above all else, he exists within the realms of realism.

At a time when James Bond and company seem obsessed with making themselves indestructible, and when the majority of their endeavours exist within a computer-generated action scenario, Bourne offers a return to basics and, most importantly, a return to the core values which made the spy thriller so exciting.

It is little wonder that his second outing is called The Bourne Supremacy, for in spy movie terms, this reigns supreme over most other fare we have been delivered recently.

From its opening moments, the film hits with all the deadly accuracy of an assassin’s bullet, delivering its deft blend of tightly-wound plot, dark characterisation and breathtaking action set pieces with clinical ease.

The pacing is as brisk as one of the latter episodes of 24, while the central character, who was devised by Robert Ludlum, harks back to the sort of no-nonsense grit of early 007.

Having wiped out the assassins on his trail at the end of The Bourne Identity, Damon’s amnesia-ridden agent is still attempting to piece together his fragmented memory in some remote part of India, together with girlfriend, Marie (Franka Potente).

But his quiet existence is shattered by the arrival of Karl Urban’s mysterious assassin and by the equally nonsensical murder of some CIA operatives, whose demise seems attributable to Bourne.

Betrayed and angry, Bourne resolves to fight back and his subsequent revenge mission uncovers vital clues about his own past, while placing him on a collision course with Joan Allen’s dogged CIA superior, who has her own career-enhancing reasons for unearthing the former assassin.

The globe-trotting thriller that results delivers just about everything you could possibly wish for, from plot twists you can’t seem coming, to shadowy figures existing in dark corridors whose past misdeeds come back to haunt them, right through to some outrageously jaw-dropping set pieces.

Damon is superb in the lead role, bringing a calculated menace to the character that makes him as cold-blooded and dangerous as those on his tail, while also hinting at the regret he feels for past endeavours.

But he is ably supported by the likes of Allen and Brian Cox, whose cat-and-mouse games with Bourne and each other provide plenty of intrigue for the conspiracy theorists.

Director, Paul Greengrass (of Bloody Sunday fame), who takes over from Doug Liman (now an executive producer), deserves maximum credit for the way in which he allows the complicated plot to unfold without ever losing his audience, or, more crucially, his characters, creating a world that is cold and uncompromising, but one which viewers can quickly warm to.

And when the talking stops and the action begins, the film refuses to pull any punches. A fist-fight, early on, quickly revives memories of the excitement of the first film’s hand-to-hand combat sequences, while a car chase through Moscow probably rates as one of the most exhilarating of all-time, easily surpassing the Paris-based jaw-dropper from the original, while also giving John Frankenheimer’s legendary French Connection and Ronin exploits a run for their money.

They provide the heart-pounding highlights of a film that never skips a beat, delivering audiences a non-stop adrenaline rush that’s guaranteed to leave them breathless.

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