Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Gabriel Mann
Nothing can get someone riled up like getting undermined by another person. Something members of the CIA begin to feel in this action sequel. The sins of the past meet their reckoning as the return of a certain former operative reveals some past indiscretions and plenty of pain along with it. All of it culminates for a worthy sequel within a series that makes fine films.
Having settled in a new life away from the CIA and its shenanigans, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) abruptly finds himself back in the mess of it all. This time a new team leader sets her eyes on taking him down, while Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) continues to play his own game in trying to cover up everything in regard to the Treadstone project.
Following up on the debut film we have The Bourne Supremacy, which sought to destroy the happy ending Bourne received at the conclusion of the first film. It, unfortunately, does so by fridging the love interest, but it’s the only way to bring Bourne back in action. This time, he needs to take on Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) and her attempts to take him down. While Bourne goes through his battles throughout the feature to fight off even more assassins and agents sent after him, the most interesting aspect becomes the face-off between Landy and Abbott, as they try to take Bourne down in different ways.
Abbott was part of the crew, who first put together Treadstone, and having Bourne out and loose further makes him look bad, while Landy is new to all of this and is simply trying to do her job. Both of them have the same desired end result, but they have very different ideas of methodology and motivation. Abbott certainly has the more selfish side, which does not stop him from displaying some truly horrible behavior and doing whatever it takes to eradicate any trace of Bourne’s existence in this world.
As with most action sequels, this film attempts to raise the stakes and make each set piece even more extravagant and daring than the one in the previous installment. It happens here with large car chases and putting Bourne in situations, which feel impossible to escape from. Nonetheless, he will always find a way, because that’s just how it goes in these types of films. The Bourne Supremacy also added moments to display the wit of the titular character, especially one where he makes it clear to Landy that he’s keenly aware of where they are much to their surprise. It works so well the first time in the film, they try it again with much less impact because they wanted to have the moment again.
The Bourne Supremacy builds on creating a reflection of intelligence agencies following the tragedy of 9/11 and the measures they’re willing to take on to carry out their duties. We get more of it as we learn more about the Treadstone project and Bourne’s involvement. It displays why his existence creates an air of uncertainty for those in power and how much they need him to be silenced. This act of self-preservation from men like Abbott reaches different levels of sadism, as their work to eradicate any evidence of their wrongdoing has collateral damage. At the beginning of the film, Bourne lived a life of bliss just trying to stay away from everything, but that was not good enough for men like Abbott. They needed to ensure the security of their future and their overreach ends up in having a vengeful Jason Bourne on their tails.
Everything else in the film felt rather predictable because it follows such a formula, which will be seen in almost every single film in this series. Bourne is on the run and then eventually an ominous assassin, who barely speaks is on the tail of our protagonist. Everything could be predicted but the sequences put together shows a good collaboration of Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass. It has the same shortcomings and successes of the film that came before it along with the films that follow because they have an existing formula that works. Do I wish they would push past it and be more daring? Sure, but this is what we get and it works.