Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente) have spent the last few years living off the grid in India. When a Russian hit man frames Bourne for the murder of a CIA agent, this flushes him out of hiding, which is when the unknown assailant tries to assassinate Bourne himself. The CIA, led by Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), begins a manhunt for Bourne while he tries to figure out why they are chasing him and how to make them stop.
Paul Greengrass takes over the directorial duties for “The Bourne Supremacy,” a sequel which picks up three years after the events of the previous installment, “The Bourne Identity.” Matt Damon returns as the titular Bourne, as does Brian Cox as Ward Abbott, Franka Potente as Marie, Bourne’s girlfriend, and Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons, the operation Treadstone support technician. New to the cast are Joan Allen as CIA operations director Pamela Landy, Karl Urban, who plays Russian hit man Kirill, and Karel Roden, who plays Yuri Gretkov, the Russian oil oligarch and boss of Kirill. Bourne has been living with Marie in India, staying off the grid as much as possible, though he is still haunted by his forgotten past. In an effort to remember his transgressions under operation Treadstone, Bourne tries to write down what he is able to gather from his small memory flashes and fragments of the things he has done. A Russian oil man name Gretkov hires an assassin named Kirill to frame Bourne for the murder of a CIA agent, who was attempting to retrieve the “Neski files” for the CIA and deputy director Pamela Landy. Kirill is instructed to kill Bourne so the case dies with him. After an unexpected tragedy, now Bourne has come out of hiding to unravel yet another mystery that is tied to his past.
By now, Matt Damon must be used to kicking ass and taking names. He is really great as Jason Bourne and we can’t see anyone else playing this role. He continues to sell the badass assassin persona quite well, and we have always believed him in roles like this. Much like the first movie, there is a massive amount of believable, fantastic action, now with even more car chases than the first, along with many thrilling, intense moments of mystery solving. The addition of Joan Allen was really a brilliant job by the casting director. She is extremely commanding as the deputy director of the CIA and Bourne’s rival who, despite leading a manhunt for him, isn’t exactly a villain. We get enthralled watching Landy and Bourne play a game of cat and mouse with one another. As Landy’s mystery unravels, so too does Bourne’s, and the juxtaposition of it all makes for good watchin’. Other standouts include Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons, who seems to always get dragged back into Bourne’s messes whether she likes it or not. Stiles sells her fear really well as Bourne takes out his anger on her more than once in this series. Brian Cox is also stellar as Ward Abbott, who never seemed like he was telling the truth in “Identity.” Now, his story progresses further as his true nature and real motivations are finally revealed.
Even though we like “The Bourne Identity,” there is something about “The Bourne Supremacy” in the way it is written and directed that feels so much better than the first installment. There is a fantastic level of intensity set early on and it’s rarely ever diminished the entire film. We never once feel bored or disinterested in what Bourne must do to clear his name. It is skillfully crafted for optimum audience pleasure, and the stylish thrills keep coming from start to finish. Minus some shaky camera work, this is one of the best and most worthy action sequels of note. It is fun and action-packed and will keep you on the edge of your seat, provided you let the “action movie physics” of it all fall by the wayside.