Making the Grades
With the exception of a few bad dreams, black-ops agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has finally settled into a more regular life in Goa, India. Yet Bourne hasn't relaxed to the point where he doesn't notice a man tailing him and his girlfriend Marie (Franka Potente). By the time the morning passes, he's back on the run-both to save his life as well as to try and complete his forgotten past.
As he works his way across Europe, the audience is treated to a mosaic of locations and scenery, while the hero dodges CIA agents who may or may not be on his side. Only the screenwriters know for sure, as even confident, takeover agent Pamela Landy can't keep control of Bourne or figure out what went wrong with the original operation. Making matters worse is the belligerent attitude of Ward Abbott (Brian Cox), who resents Landy being put in place as his superior.
But the center of this story is nearly always on Bourne. That keeps us on the edge of our seats wondering how he will escape the never-ending onslaught of police, security teams, and agents who are pursuing him. Thankfully, this script is adept at avoiding the tedium of watching one guy being chased for two hours. By having him turn the tables on his aggressors from time to time, Bourne jumps from defense to offense, making the actor's characterization of a dangerous human weapon very believable.
Yet these high-octane confrontations may prevent The Bourne Supremacy from fitting into the approved lists of summer movies for your teens (it's definitely not for younger children). A couple of scenes feature brutal hand-to-hand confrontations that become deadly when a knife is pulled, and two intense car chases result in numerous crashes with uninvolved drivers. Bloodied faces and a suicidal shot to the head (seen for a split second) are additional content concerns, as is a single use of the sexual expletive in a script that is otherwise low in profanities.
Refreshingly, this film has no sexual content, other than the assumption that Jason and Marie (who is seen in a bikini top) are unmarried and living together. Like other recent action films, it appears creators are trading off sex in favor of more explicit violence in an effort to pump up the testosterone and still stay within the PG-13 rating.
But what pushed this film into our just barely recommended viewing territory is its strong message about deciding who and what you will become, even if everyone else tells you otherwise. Learning of his history as a hired assassin, Bourne's loss of memory leaves him susceptible to believing comments from others, who say he will always be a killer. The struggle within himself to come to terms with his past and take control of what he wants for his future makes this second Bourne a more worthwhile choice than his former outing.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Bourne Supremacy.
This well-crafted film’s dark and dangerous illusions are magnified through the use of long lenses, handheld camera moves (which left a few audience members complaining of motion sickness) and peering through foreground obstacles-all of which add to the credible simulation of spying on our protagonist. If you have a video camera in your home, encourage your children (with your supervision) to experiment with these techniques. Can you turn some houseplants and a family pet into a jungle safari?