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Written by Graham Reed  
Thursday, 16 September 2004
The name's Bourne.  Jason Bourne.

And here, in yet another kick up the arse to the flagging, flaccid and facile Bond franchise, comes a proper sequel. With proper violence and everything. And best of all, no crappy CGI.

Though Bourne Supremacy is a sequel, and follows on in a very linear manner from the first, it doesn't explain what happens in the first film, or its implications. Similarly, it doesn't need to. It's pretty much wham bam action all the way though, replete with excessive shakycam, bonzer car chases, Russian mobsters, corrupt CIA agents, gun fights, and lots of handy advice on how to blow your home using just a toaster and a gas oven.

The plot starts fast and then just keeps on speeding up. Jason Bourne (the impossibly good looking Matt Damon) is a CIA Agent who woke up one day with amnesia, after having been left for dead. Having salvaged his life and started anew in India, one day it all goes to hell when a Russian hitman named Kirilll (a chilling Karl Urban) attempts to wipe him out, succeeding in killing the love of his life. With no reason to go back, all he can do is move on and find out who wants him dead, and why. After all they stole his life, and he wants it back.

Following the trail to Berlin, he discovers that his fingerprints were discovered at the scene of a recent assassination. With CIA agent Pamela Landy (an impassive Joan Allen) dispatched to discover exactly what rogue CIA agent Bourne is up to, she discovers some disturbing facts about his previous life as a CIA assassin. The net closes, the tentacles of deceit run rampant, and the hunt is on. Turning the hunter into the hunted, the only thing Bourne can do is remain one step ahead of an international conspiracy before it kills him and covers its tracks.

Directed with verve and flair by Paul Greengrass, who did the acclaimed BBC fictumentary Bloody Sunday, The Bourne Supremacy continues the same muted, moody, European look as the first film thanks to cinematographer Oliver Wood. Dispensing with the slow build suspense for a string of quickfire action sequences, from a stakeout in Berlin to a monumental car chase in Moscow that is truly innovative but choppily and confusing edited, The Bourne Supremacy is closer to a standard Hollywood action flick than its predecessor. Fortunately, it doesn't dispose of the brains, keeping your mind working and the heart pumping, with the plot complex and unpredictable yet worrying logical.

Immaculately cast with fine performances, including the scenery-chewing Brian Cox and Julia Stiles as the vulnerable love interest,  The Bourne Supremacy lives up to its title. Standing head and shoulders above 99% of the pap you'll see on the shelves of Blockbuster, its supremacy is guaranteed. I'd expect the next Bourne movie sooner than later.

Oh, and if you ever see Matt Damon anywhere, run away. Very fast. Things have a nasty habit of exploding wherever he goes...and this film is the proof. 


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