Thursday, March 28, 2013

Movie Review: The Bourne Supremacy

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Engaging plot
Cons: Wooden characters, poorly edited action scenes
The Bottom Line:
Some mindless action
While not truly amazing
It can entertain

Jason Bourne is Back

It's amazing what you'll watch when the price is right.

I wasn't a fan of the first movie in the series. But one of my roommates owns The Bourne Supremacy. Since I could watch the sequel for free, I figured why not. I must say I found this movie better in some ways but worse in others.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is in hiding. After successfully evading the CIA in the first film, he and girlfriend Marie (Franka Portente) are living in India. Jason still doesn't remember very many details about who he is. But he keeps having dreams that may give him a clue.

Unfortunately, he's about to be thrust back into the spy game. A mission is going on in Berlin. When it goes south, Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) wants answers. The trail leads to a buried CIA project.

Meanwhile, Bourne has started moving again and he trips the radar, bringing the CIA down on him. Can he figure out why they are suddenly interested in him? What do his dreams mean? Will he get another piece of the puzzle of who he is?

My biggest complaint about the first movie was believability. Specifically, I found the characters behaving in some pretty stupid ways to advance the plot. Fortunately, that wasn't an issue here. The plot is very dense and you have to be paying attention the entire time to figure it out. But if you are, you can. Everything that happens follows logically from what has happened before.

Unfortunately, the characters are still pretty wooden. This is a plot driven movie, and the characters are just there to advance the story. Bourne stands out from the crowd, mainly due to Damon's great acting. But the rest of the characters aren't given much to do.

The acting, on the other hand, is great. Matt Damon sets the tone with his great performance as Jason Bourne. Everyone else does the best they can with what they have. If we aren't connecting with the characters, it's because of the plot heavy script and not because of poor acting.

So what's my big beef this time? The camera work. I read that the director was aiming for the documentary look so used hand held cameras for the majority of the film. I've got news for you. This isn't a documentary, nor is anyone every going to mistake it for one. I don't know why directors think it's trendy to show shaky camera work, but I don't enjoy it.

Even worse are the action scenes. I think my roommate described it best when he said it had the strobe light effect. The cuts are so quick, like every couple of seconds, it is literally impossible to follow what is happening half the time. And since you watch a movie like this for the action, that's a disappointment. Again, this is a stylistic approach. And again, it doesn't work.

Ultimately, The Bourne Supremacy is pretty much a wash. It isn't the worst way to spend a couple hours, but there are better ways.

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