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The Bourne Supremacy(2004)
When his lover is murdered and he is framed for the assassination of a fellow agent, Jason Bourne finds himself on the run again. But as he closes in on his girlfriend's killers, he realizes his former handlers are back on his trail. After his fingerprints are found at the scene of a murder in Berlin, an ambitious CIA operative becomes determined to stop him once and for all. Haunted by debilitating fragmented memories as he navigates the labyrinth of international espionage, Bourne must outwit, outmaneuver and outmuscle some of the most powerful forces in the world just to survive.
For more about The Bourne Supremacy and the The Bourne Supremacy Blu-ray release, see the The Bourne Supremacy Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on January 24, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Gabriel Mann
Director: Paul Greengrass
» See full cast & crew
The Bourne Supremacy Blu-ray Review
Series fans may be divided, but I couldn't be more sure...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, January 24, 2010
After co-authoring an autobiography that elicited the wrath of the British government, filmmaker Paul Greengrass attracted international acclaim with Bloody Sunday, a project that began as a television movie but soon earned its way into the Berlin Film Festival and Sundance (winning a prestigious award at each stop). It wasn't long before Hollywood came calling, budding franchise in hand. He accepted, then proceeded to do the last thing fans of The Bourne Identity expected: change the tone, tenor, and intensity of their beloved series debut. The criticism his Bourne Supremacy received in various circles was inevitable -- some complained about his use of hand-held cameras, others about his emphasis on character over plot, still others about his film being burdened with too much plot -- but the simultaneous praise and rave reviews it nevertheless garnered were well deserved. Further steeping mainstay Jason Bourne in reality, injecting kinetic energy into every shot and scene, and aggressively exploring the dark depths of his protagonist's fragmented mind, Greengrass produced a brazen evolution of the Bourne mythos; one I consider to be the most captivating, satisfying, and fully realized film of the trilogy.
After finding some measure of peace with the newfound love of his life (Franka Potente), former CIA assassin Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is thrust back into the fray after being accused of murdering two agents working in Berlin. Determined to expose the real killers and clear his name, Bourne goes on the offensive, using a manhunt a diligent CIA Deputy Director named Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) initiates to gather the intelligence he needs. It doesn't take him long to figure out that the whole mess traces back to Operation Treadstone; yep, the same secret project whose skilled assassins tried and failed to eliminate him in The Bourne Identity. While he thought Treadstone had been shut down and its operatives disbanded, it seems someone is still pulling the strings and giving orders. As he winds his way up the chain, he has to contend with Landy and her search, deal with the interference of a high-ranking CIA official (Brian Cox), survive the attacks of a number of assailants (Karl Urban and Marton Csokas among them), and gain viable information from a low-level Treadstone agent (Julia Styles). More importantly, he has to come to terms with the formative events of his career (that he still can't remember) and try to understand who or what he once was.
While there are some who complain that The Bourne Supremacy merely rehashes the upbeats and beatdowns of The Bourne Identity, Greengrass' film couldn't be more different. When director Doug Liman introduced Bourne, the once-and-future amnesic superspy was a shell of a man. Sure, Ludlum's titular hero quickly proved himself to be both capable and calculating, but Jason spent his first outing on the run, scrambling to uncover his identity, learn the rules of an intangible game, and best any assassin who came gunning for his head. Greengrass delivers a more settled, more stable Bourne; a relentless, preemptive weapon who alters the game to his liking and manipulates each player into whatever position he deems fit. Though self-discovery remains a central focus of the story, Jason all but abandons his quest for identity in favor of one for penance; for some semblance of redemption. His is a wounded spirit suffering from the sting of long-forgotten sins it can't hope to remember. Sure, the madness and mysteries that emerge are extensions of his past, but the majority of Jason's time is spent looking forward, his eyes transfixed on a goal he steadily defines as he pieces together clues pointing to a greater conspiracy. Even when he gains the upper hand, the story continues on, serving up an emotional climax that supersedes any car chase, explosion, or gunfight Greengrass could have selected to cap his endgame. In many ways, The Bourne Supremacy is obsessed with the internal mechanics of those who dwell in a deadly world. By contrast, The Bourne Identity is more akin to a traditional spy-vs-spy lark; one that examines the journey of its repentant killer more than the nature of his wandering soul.
But it's Greengrass' unruly cameras -- unsettled and impenitent as they are -- that lend urgency to Bourne's mission, momentum to his plight, and volatility to his trials; it's the director's disregard for traditional filmmaking techniques that make his seemingly erratic vision so arresting; it's his actors' willingness to sacrifice vanity in service of character and tone that makes their performances so resonant. Conventional shots are few and far between. Greengrass simply captures chases and conversations as they naturally unfold (something Liman experimented with in The Bourne Identity but never fully embraced). His cameras dart about a panicked room, hurtle through an angry crowd, bob and weave between combatants, shake and rattle in the front seat of a rickety car, all in a concerted effort to immerse viewers in the action and intrigue spilling out of their screens. It's a visceral, absorbing tool Greengrass uses to great effect, oftentimes in surprising ways. Likewise, Damon and his castmates spring to life, delivering startling, deceptively complex performances I could devote an entire review to dissecting. Unshackled from the telltale blocking and meticulous framing that tends to dampen the flow of a scene, the actors are able to divert their complete attention to the essence of the moment rather than the director's needs or the cinematographer's demands. Without having to worry about catching the perfect light, slinking into the shadiest shadow, entering or exiting a scene in just the right way, or barreling down a flight of stairs in a manner suited to the shot at hand, they're given the unique opportunity to tackle each obstacle as naturally and sincerely as possible.
The end result speaks for itself. The Bourne Supremacy doesn't adhere to any specific genre; it's too cerebral to be an actioner, too explosive to be a drama, too restrained to be a thriller, too grounded to be a spy spree, and far too ruthless to wrap everything up in a neat-n-tiny bow by film's end. Blood is spilled and rage ensues, adversaries are uncovered and potential allies are identified, but Bourne's ultimate solace is found in the last place he expects. Through it all, Greengrass' prowess as a filmmaker and ingenuity as an artist make Supremacy an electrifying jolt to the senses that shouldn't be brushed aside or shrugged off. It certainly isn't for everyone, but it's certainly for me.
The Bourne Supremacy Blu-ray, Video Quality
No hyperbolic bones about it: The Bourne Supremacy's 1080p/VC-1 transfer is stunning. Color and contrast are impeccable -- be it the orange flash of an explosion, the sun-seared wares of a marketplace in India, or the bleak iron hues of a snowy Moscow morn -- and skintones, regardless of Oliver Wood's interior or exterior lighting, remain exceedingly convincing throughout. Blacks are deep and inky (albeit a bit too oppressive on occasion) and shadows are natural and absorbing. Better still, Greengrass' endless shaky-cam shots rarely take their toll on the technical image. It's next to impossible to snap a solid screenshot of an action sequence, sure, but it all looks amazing in motion. Detail remains sharp and rewarding no matter how intense Bourne's hunt becomes; textures range from refined to tempered to downright striking; and delineation is faithful to the director's at-times obscured visuals. And unlike the Blu-ray edition of The Bourne Identity, the presentation isn't at the mercy of contrast inconsistencies, edge enhancement, or errant artifacts. A veneer of moderate grain emerges as an integral component of Greengrass' style, but unintentional noise, macroblocking, aliasing, DNR, and other distracting anomalies are MIA. Only negligible crushing, every instance of which seems inherent to Wood's photography, undermines Universal's near-perfect transfer.
The Bourne Supremacy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track hits hard and hits often, leaving its mark regardless of how quiet or chaotic a scene becomes. Bourne's questions, whether muttered or barked, dominate the center channel, Landy's orders are crisp and clear, and Cox's measured snarls are as rich as they are autocratic. Moreover, gunshots erupt from every channel, encircling the listener at every opportunity and enhancing the realism of the already immersive soundfield. The furious cries of protesters in Berlin surge and relent as Bourne darts in and away. A traffic jam idles nearby as our wounded superspy stumbles through a crowd in Moscow. The dense foliage of a Goan jungle flap by as Bourne and Marie flee a pursuing assassin. But it isn't just rear speaker activity that proves itself to be aggressive and involving. LFE output is weighty and robust, embracing the roars of red-lined engines, the thunder of head-on collisions, and the muffled whumps of gut punches. And John Powell's score? It hurtles along with the overwhelming momentum of a doomed locomotive, its diligent rhythms driving the film along with fervor. To top it all off, dynamics are brazen, directionality is decisive and precise, and pans are transparent. By the time Moby's "Extreme Ways" announces the credits, The Bourne Supremacy has made its presence more than known, and fans will respond in kind.
The Bourne Supremacy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The individual Blu-ray release of The Bourne Supremacy boasts the same generous supplemental package as its box set counterpart, the only difference being that it's all housed on a dual-sided BD-59 "Flipper" disc (Side A is the equivalent of a traditional BD-50, Side B is a DVD layer that contains a standard definition copy of the film).
The Bourne Supremacy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A riveting evolution in every way, The Bourne Supremacy is a pulse-pounding actioner and a cerebral spy thriller. While it has divided franchise fans into two camps -- those who appreciate director Paul Greengrass' frenetic visual style and those who need to pop two Excedrin Migraine capsules every time they look at the screen -- those who adore everything his intensity brings to the Bourne series will find Supremacy to be nothing short of a masterstroke. It's even better on Blu-ray. Universal's release boasts an exceptional video transfer, a remarkable DTS-HD Master Audio track, and a number of high-quality special features. Casual fans and diehards will be thoroughly pleased with their purchase.
The Bourne Supremacy: Other Editions
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The Bourne Supremacy Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Deal of the Day: Bourne Blu-ray Trilogy for $49.99 (Expired) - December 18, 2009
Amazon's Gold Box deal-of-the-day is a special offer on the Blu-ray box set 'The Bourne Trilogy', which only today can be bought on Blu-ray for just $49.99, or 58% off MSRP. The price history for this title shows that the lowest this title has been is $58.99. ...
• Universal Brings back Flipper Combos, now on Blu-ray - December 1, 2009
In an industry first, Universal Studios Home Entertainment announced today the introduction of "groundbreaking" dual-format discs containing both Blu-ray and DVD versions of some of the studio's most iconic films. The new "flipper" discs will launch on January ...
• Bourne Movies Get Separate Blu-ray Releases - November 29, 2009
Universal Studios Home Enterainment has announced that it will release the three movies from the Bourne Trilogy ('The Bourne Identity', 'The Bourne Supremacy' and 'The Bourne Ultimatum') separately on Blu-ray on January 19, 2010. Disc details are expected to be ...
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