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The Bourne Supremacy

#47 - The Bourne Supremacy
Paul Greengrass, 2004

After the events of The Bourne Identity. Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living a peaceful existence until events force him to come out of hiding and start chasing the truth about his real identity.

I can't even remember how long it's been since I saw The Bourne Identity. It was definitely before The Bourne Legacy came out, that much I know for certain. Despite that, I have only just gotten around to watching the films that came out in the interim. The Bourne Supremacy promised an improvement on the success of the original film, but what I got was definitely not an improvement.

First of all, the catalyst for Bourne going after the shadowy organisation that holds the key to his past is a Russian assassin (Karl Urban) killing his girlfriend (Franka Potente) with a bullet meant for him. Not going to lie, I'm getting really tired of what's rapidly becoming known as the "women in refrigerators" trope where a female character is killed off or otherwise attacked simply to provide the male hero with vengeful motivations and thus a narrative. Even if you leave aside the unfortunate implications of having to damage a woman to provide motivation, using it still comes across as lazy. Despite the supposedly high-energy thrills on offer throughout the rest of the film, none of it seems to hold my interest. There's the usual duplicitious conspirators, the occasional fight or chase, there's Bourne managing to track down leads, etc. Even having him gradually recall some troubling memories doesn't do much to create intrigue (but at least it does something).

I'm not sure if this is the film that popularised the extremely intense methods of filming action movies with the shaky cameras and frequent cuts, but they're definitely here and they definitely look rough. The music is all loud and furious but just feels like white noise against the haphazard imagery. Quieter moments don't do much to hold my interest either. Knowing that this is the middle film in a trilogy only served to make it feel even more like 100 minutes of filler, but if I'd seen it back when it came out there's a good chance I might have come to the same conclusion anyway. There's just enough quality on display here that I don't quite feel like dismissing it outright, but even so it's still a horribly underwhelming film.