A brisk, engrossing and intelligent thriller, The Bourne Supremacy stars Matt Damon as amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne, pulled back into the spy game when a Russian killer (Karl Urban) tracks him down in India. Fleeing the haven he's found with girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente), Bourne sprints and scraps his way around Europe, trying to discover why the CIA is out to get him. Meanwhile, Joan Allen's hard-nosed government spook uncovers the secrets of agency-within-the-agency Treadstone and butts heads with shady veteran Brian Cox...
As with franchise-starter The Bourne Identity (which belied bad buzz to become a big hit), this is a studio production with an indie sensibility. It is not overly complex, but neither is it patronising in the manner of many mainstream movies which emphasise every plot point to exhaustion. Paul Greengrass - the British director behind Bloody Sunday - treats the audience with respect, while the action is lent immediacy by his preference for in-your-face handheld camera work (the air is always heavy with the suggestion of violence).
"DAMON IS ONE HELL OF AN ACTION HERO"
And Damon is one hell of an action hero. He does a lot with very little, imbuing his limited dialogue with both rage and sorrow, looking harder and more haunted as the picture progresses. The bloody, brutal magazine fight (you'll see) is as original as the first film's painful pen battle, but even the more outrageous action is invested with an unusual degree of realism (when you're shot, it hurts; when you fall, you limp).
The driving score by John Powell is expertly mixed with impressively ear-pounding sound effects; issues of moral choice and responsibility are examined; and Tony Gilroy's script gives Cox a particularly pertinent political speech. In all, plenty of reasons to hope for Bourne again.