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THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (article first published : 2004-10-28)

When we first met Jason Bourne, as played by Matt Damon, he was floating in the Mediterranean, having been riddled with bullets and flung over the side of a boat. The film, released two years ago, was The Bourne Identity and saw Jason recovering and working through amnesia to discover he was a former, crack CIA agent.

At the end of that compelling saga, he walked away to try to live a life away from the demons of his past. And that's where we pick up now in The Bourne Supremacy which again has a fighting fit Damon on good form.

Based on the novel by Robert Ludlum, the sequel starts with Bourne enjoying a peaceful life with his girlfriend (Franka Potente, of Run, Lola, Run fame), but still battling with amnesia and further troubled and pushed to high-alert when a suspicious looking character starts to tail him.

It soon becomes apparent the stranger (Karl Urban) is a hitman assigned to kill Bourne and the danger levels rise when Bourne goes on the run again and discovers, too, that he has been framed for the murder of a CIA agent.

He then has to contend with both his former foes and one-time allies - including CIA team leader Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) and Bourne's old boss, Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) - baying for his blood.

More confusing initially, less intelligent and less riveting a movie that its predecessor, the film, directed by Paul Greengrass, is engaging enough as thrillers go, with some strong performances. However, action has taken over the reins from character development and while the endless, frantically edited brawls and chase sequences are often thrilling and stylishly done, the movie deserves no more than a 7/10 rating.

It's worth noting that the movie certainly gets around - Bourne's travels take him from India to Naples, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Munich, Berlin, New York and Moscow. Rating:7/10 - Billy Suter




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