Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Movie Review - The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

OK, all up I enjoyed this movie - it was a hoot, as far as the carchasepunchupshootout action movies go. The obligatory car chase sequence at the end is one of the best I’ve seen in a while - I’ll never feel quite so comfortable using a subterranean vehicle tunnel again.

Right, now for the inevitable whinges - I just don’t feel that Matt Damon is quite up to the grade of the serious hero-type yet. He lacks the crusty brusqueness of Bruce Willis or the whatchamacallit of Harrison Ford. Not that he’s too far off in this one though, but he just doesn’t seem to carry off the tortured, brooding trained killer too well. Give him time, I guess.

And yes, as a bookophile I must make a token protest about the butchery Hollywood inflicts on good books. Fortunately it has been years since I read this one (unlike The Bourne Identity, which I ground my teeth in quite frequently with a muttered “That’s not right…” all too much) and I was unaffected by such puritanical qualms, allowing me to sit back and really enjoy the spectacle unfolding on the screen before me. (I inherited this trait from my father, with whom I saw the movie - and indeed, at one point during a climactic action scene I heard him mutter, “He’s fired about twenty shots already - when’s he going to reload?” I wanted to belt him with my popcorn box, except there was some left in it.)

One thing is unavoidable too folks - Ludlum penned this story absolutely yonks ago, and some updating (read change) is necessary. Ludlum’s heroines (like McLean’s and Smith’s) tend to be a bit ‘wilty’, which would have today’s feminists piqueting cinemas across the country. In the movies Marie (Franke Potente, who we don’t see enough of in this one, damnit) has a bit more gristle in her character than her print version, which is most welcome. And can you imagine what the movie would be like were it still stuck with the technology from a quarter-century ago? Things like mobile phones, integrated high-speed digital computer systems and satellite surveillance were not available to Ludlum when he wrote it - these things make a hell of a difference to the story in themselves, so changes are unavoidable. And they’re pretty gnarly too, if you like that sort of thing.

There’s also a bit of criticism floating out there about the director’s rapid-change and jarring scene shots. Don’t know why this should be so, it’s one of the things that makes the feel of the movie. If you want to meanderingly cast your eyes over a scene, with time to take in every detail of the background and every nuance of the wax-dummay character’s faces, then go and hire out Pride and Prejudice or something, if that’s all you can take, you wimpy peacenik.

In conclusion, it’s a good, fast-paced action thriller, a definite cut above the usual pap we get fed, and not excessively violent. But if you don’t like this sort of thing, don’t bother.

Official site here.

Want to see The Bourne Identity first (or again?) Check availability here.

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