Director Paul Greengrass helmed the follow-up to 2002’s The Bourne Identity. Tony Gilroy returns as screenwriter, again adapting the script from Robert Ludlum’s novel. In this installment, there is more of the same from the first film but is taken to another level as we learn more about Bourne and his past as an event forces him out to again go on the run to face the ones who are after him.
The film begins with Bourne living happily with Marie (Franka Potente, from the first film) on a beach in India. Soon they are on the run after Bourne notices a man out of place. From there, things escalate and Bourne is thrust into another adventure with high stakes on the line. The film does not fail in delivering the fights, chases, and fast-paced character driven action that made the first film a success.
This installment brings together the usual thriller components and hurtles from location to location across the world, while never being bogged down with unnecessary action, dialogue, story and character development. Matt Damon returns as Jason Bourne and still brings the energy and intensity he had in the first film. I think what makes these films stand out for me is partly because of Damon’s performance. He brings the right level of energy without being overbearing and still true to the character and story. He wasn’t a flashy, over-the-top character to just exist because he is a character written on a page. He brings life to the character and it is hard to imagine any other actor in this role. Matt Damon is Jason Bourne
Joan Allen joins the cast as Pamela Landy, a CIA agent charged with finding Bourne after evidence emerges that Bourne was involved in a murder of a CIA agent and his criminal contact in Berlin. Brian Cox returns as Ward Abbott, essentially Landy’s boss. And Julia Styles reprises her role from the previous film.
The plausibility of some of the events in the film from ever happening (or happening they way they were portrayed in the film) is borderline preposterous, like similar events in the Taken franchise, but Bourne just does it better. It makes Bourne look like a guy who knows what he’s doing and does it so well. This is in part due to the fact the source material seems to be more credible than the Liam Neeson franchise. What also sets these films apart, as in the first film, is the use of the various locations and music to underscore the developing story. I also like the quick camera cuts and close up shots during the fight scenes. It seems to put the audience in the middle of the frantic action taking place on screen. Some may not like that. I think it adds to the film.
Are these films perfect? Not really. But they are very effective in telling the story while keeping the audience entertained and enthralled and they have just the right amount of movie magic to maintain that suspension of disbelief. Greengrass and company have scored another hit with this franchise. Identity doubled its production costs while Supremacy took in more than half of its production costs as revenue. There doesn’t seem to be anything slowing down the momentum of this engaging trilogy.