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Bourne Again.

As I noted in my blurb on The Bourne Identity a few years ago, “I’d rather see another Bourne than another Bond.” Well, I got my wish, and thankfully The Bourne Supremacy is just as intelligent, fast-paced, gritty, and near-plausible as the first outing. Joan Allen has joined the agency this time around, and Karl “Eomer” Urban has replaced Clive Owen in the role of Eurobad assassin, but otherwise the gang’s all here again: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles (still miscast)…even Chris Cooper.

But, even if you missed Bourne I, if you’ve seen the ads, you know what you’re getting here: chilly European ambience, highly-trained fisticuffs, and Ronin-style car chases. The surprise here is how well everything’s executed — until the last fifteen minutes or so, when Bourne turns into R.E.M.’s The Apologist (the guy who insists on making everyone feel worse to make himself feel better), the film moves at a kinetic, captivating clip. Much credit goes to director Paul Greengrass (who also directed Bloody Sunday, which I’ve been meaning to see for awhile) for making each punch, kick, or crash provoke a shudder or a wince. (It’s nice to see a flick where the injuries actually take a toll on the hero for once…here Bourne hurts his leg two-thirds of the way through the movie and ends up limping the rest of the film.)

In sum, Her Majesty’s Secret Service should really take a gander at Treadstone…’cause while 007 was tooling around Iceland with Halle Berry last iteration, Bourne once again managed to deliver a quality cloak, dagger, and action payload.

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