Bourne for Speed
For viewers not looking for anything other than being "in the moment" during a suspenseful, intriguing ride, The Bourne Supremacy fits the bill. Be warned, though -- the ride comes to an abrupt stop. My first reaction upon realizing we had reached the ending was, "That was it?"
Paul Greengrass takes over directing duties from Doug Liman for this sequel to 2002's well-received thriller, The Bourne Identity, where Matt Damon plays a super-trained but amnesiac spy who slowly learns the truth about his past. The changing of the guard for this outing tastes sweet and sour, though. What Liman lacked in stylistic flourishes, Greengrass overcompensates for. The look he gives Supremacy is kinetic and frantic, so much so that, much of the time, it's hard to tell what's exactly happening.
Although blurry moving shots add spice to a depiction of intense, spontaneous action, they become annoying because they happen all the time. Since this movie's particular strength lies in its tension-swelling action, the audience is treated to this style throughout, and it fully leaps on the chance to wear out its welcome. The final chase still emerges as a thriller, but action nirvana just can't be achieved if the viewer is thinking somewhere in the back of the mind, "really, what's going on?"
The Bourne Supremacy gambles all its chips on these action sequences, so, depending on what you prefer, your mileage will vary. Stepping back and recalling everything that happened, the film seems to be a chain of these set pieces -- alternating car and foot chases. However, the intriguing yet distant story driving the events mostly does its job in maintaining the thrill level. As a result, the movie moves very fast.
Unfortunately, that speed contributes to the desire to scratch one's head once the ending arrives. By the time the climax occurs, the major loose ends have been tied up, and the audience isn't given an indication of what is further motivating our hero in his actions. Thus, when the final chase is on, it feels like there might to be a lot more movie, since there's no clue that the final chase is the final chase -- indeed, it feels like a new beginning, because we've just now gotten past the original mysteries. Suddenly, the conclusion is reached, and it feels like a letdown -- and quite inconsequential.
Without something more hefty in the form of thematic weight to chew on, we finally realize we've just gotten a kind of rehash of the fast parts in the first movie. It's not totally satisfying, but it's fun while it lasts.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated "PG-13" for violence, intense action and some language.)
Review also posted on www.windowtothemovies.com.