dir: Paul Greengrass
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Finally, a film made by crack addicted monkeys with ADD for crack addicted monkeys with ADD! Be careful. You could go into this film without any recognisable neurological condition, and come out of it having contracted the epilepsy shared by the director and editor of this here film, The Bourne Supremacy. Kinda like the manner in which watching Disney films eventually leads to diabetes. And, let's face it, arse cancer.
It's true I tell you. The Bourne Supremacy is the apotheosis, the crowning pinnacle of the cinematic movement that now graces our screens with spastic creations that possess nothing but momentum. You
don't so much watch these movies, in my case, as endure them. The editing here would fill the people responsible for Moulin Rouge with jealousy and murderous rage. For the majority of the movie's running
time, few shots actually went for more than 3 to 8 seconds. There were a handful of scenes that may have gone for 15 seconds, but they were in the distinct minority.
With a ruthless efficiency that would make German manufacturers or Japanese robots glow green with envy, all elements not marked 'plot' have been completely deleted from what might have been the story. So
pared down is it in fact that they left no room for acting, character development, atmosphere, style or any other extraneous elements. All they have is ceaseless, jittery movement, like a live fish flopping around on a hot plate.
Ben Affleck's little brother Matt Damon, bless his little cotton socks, tries his darndest, he really does. He can act, I've seen plenty of evidence of it in the past. Unfortunately the budget for this film couldn't afford to give him anything more than one facial expression for the entire duration. But these budgetary constraints
aren't unfairly applied only to him; no-one else gets to use any more than one either.
Karl Urban, who no-one should remember from anything, literally doesn't vary his expression once, not once I tell you. To be fair, he only used one expression playing Eomer in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as well, and I'm sure they could have afforded to buy him one or two others had he been able to wear them, what with their massive budget and all.
But there seems to be something demonstrably wrong with his face. Despite being a young chap, there appears to be some nerve damage from botox injections, perhaps. Or maybe when he was a kid, he didn't
listen to his mum when she told him not to pull faces because if the wind changed it'd freeze like that forever.
Poor Karl. I didn't time it properly with a stopwatch, but I'm guessing that he has about 2 minutes of screen time in the entire film. This is broken down into 1.5 to 2 second grabs, and distributed over the movie's length. So for a bad guy, you'd be forgiven for wondering who, what or why he's in the story.
Asking herself the same question, and then reminding herself by looking at the cheque, Franka Potente reprises her role as Bourne's love interest and moral conscience Marie. The story needs someone like
her to give an audience something to look at for more than a few minutes that isn't jittering around like a ten year old that's had one too many Red Bulls. Alas, she is in the movie for mere moments, and she is certainly missed when she is not there.
Many characters reprise their roles from the previous film, but calling them characters probably overstates the importance of the role they serve as props. Brian Cox, who always generally brings something
worth watching to any screen, does little more than look like a taller version of the Simpson's character Hans Moleman, and basically repeats the same dialogue again and again.
Joan Allen plays a new character, CIA honcho Paula Landy, who's trying to get to the bottom of some espionage type mystery. She too is given one facial expression (I think it's called 'Intense' in the
catalogue), and one tone of voice (powerful government bitch). Like everyone else she is there to mouth words from the cocktail-napkin script and keep things moving along. She, like everyone else, could
and should have been played by holograms.
The plot is this: someone murders some people, the CIA thinks it's super assassin Jason Bourne at the same time someone is trying to kill him. He doesn't like this, so he must fly around Europe for a while and kill people until they leave him alone.
It's one of those bare bones pitches that doesn't tax even the mentally defective. From this they organised a few action sequences, strapped the cameras to the backs of monkeys, and let rip. And now we have the end result. Badly choreographed fight and action scenes abound, where either the editing or the way said scenes are filmed hamper not only any potential enjoyment on the part of the viewer, but also sometimes an ability to work out what the fuck is going on. This film isn't necessarily a bad sequel, since I'm sure it touched a lot
of people in their gooey placess, but the first film is looking like a masterpiece in comparison.
It is, after all, as is its predecessor, an action film within the espionage genre. Good or bad it is still miles ahead of the current Bond films, which make baby Jesus cry whenever He thinks of them. But that's not saying much. It's a genre that I like, or at least that I like the idea of. And I also like a movie where the central character is just not a nice person at all. I don't mean someone who is sadistic, or a rapist or one who calls people hurtful names. I mean someone who is just genuinely a nasty piece of work. Though they tame it down, Bourne is still a highly trained sociopath coming to terms with his sociopathy. The movie pays the most token lip-service to this illusory character development with calmly filmed 'emotional' scenes
at movie's beginning and end. You can tell they're important scenes because they resist the urge to masturbate the camera whilst they're filming them. Kudos to the cinematographer, truly.
In all honesty, I see this film as a failure on the part of the director. A lazy, incompetent or inexperienced director, or one without even modest vision, sacrifices dramatic narrative or any sense of style when to make up for a complete lack of ability they resort to epileptic editing throughout the entire goddamn film. If you can't stage a decent action scene, shake the camera around and edit the mishmash together in an approximation of a thought-out scene. Can't think up a decent way to do a chase scene? Film thousands of scenes of chasing, and then let the editor do the hard work putting it together.
I could not for the life of me care about anything that happened, and because of the way everything was put together, could not give a fat rat's fuckhole about the movie overall. I certainly can only recommend it to readers who, suffering from such a profound case of attention deficit disorder already, probably didn't make it to this part of the review anyway due to having been distracted by something shiny. Movies
are becoming so risk-averse, so timid in a way, the stories so stripped down of meaning or substance that even the mediocre films of the past that at least had mediocre stories are looking better and better by comparison to those that have all plot, no story. There is an important distinction there, people. When there's no story no matter how intricate or convoluted the plot may be, it doesn't matter, any of it.
Yes, I know what thou art thinking, such a movie hardly warrants pages of exposition, invective and mixed metaphors going off like a pork chop in a sock. But I'll watch pretty much anything, in case people haven't noticed yet, and it's my duty to relate such trifles to my brethren and sistren for their own curiousity or edification.
And if I knew what edification meant I could possibly expound upon that further, but I don't, so I can't. Stuff like this needs to be seen, just to establish whether something's going wrong with my head, in that either these kinds of films are becoming unwatchable, or I'm getting to be unable to appreciate them on even the most modest level. You can do better than this, and as your boyfriends and girlfriends think about you, they can do better too.
6 times Matt Damon should probably have reconsidered attaching his rising star to this franchise out of 10
'You're not going to kill me?'
'Marie wouldn't want me to.' – Jason Bourne, The Bourne Supremacy