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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2010

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"The Bourne Supremacy" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-february-2010-bsupremacy210

Synopsis

The Bourne saga continues with Jason (Damon) and Marie (Potente) living in India seemingly hidden from their violent and mysterious pasts.  Jason is still having fragmented memories, this time of a mission in Berlin.  Within a few minutes however, chaos resumes when an assassin shows up.  It seems Bourne has been framed for a CIA operation gone bad that resulted in an agent’s death and the loss of sensitive files.  Deputy Director Pamela Landy (Allen) opens an investigation into the failure and quickly uncovers information about Treadstone, the weapons program that created Bourne.  As Landy digs deeper she discovers conspiracies and coverups that lead to the top officials of the CIA.  After realizing Bourne was framed she reaches out to him along with Ward Abbott (Cox) in an attempt to capture him.  Bourne remembers more of the Berlin mission and eventually atones for his misdeeds.  At the end he simply fades into the crowd leaving the door wide open for the third and final chapter in the series.

 

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2004, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 49 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen
  • Directed by Paul Greengrass
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

I found this film every bit as enjoyable as the first.  The action and intrigue are non-stop and even though I’ve watched it many times, it still feels fresh.  The plot is a bit more complicated than The Bourne Identity.  I picked up more information after multiple viewings.  Again the fight scenes and car chases are filmmaking benchmarks displaying truly excellent stunt work and choreography.  Joan Allen gives a great performance as the CIA Deputy Director who isn’t afraid to question her superiors.  Despite others efforts to hide the truth from her, she tenaciously gets to the bottom of the conspiracy surrounding Treadstone, the secret weapons program.  Julia Stiles is also good as Bourne’s former handler, Nicky Parsons.  You can really feel her terror when Bourne interrogates her at gunpoint.  Brian Cox rounds out the principal cast as the slimy protagonist, Ward Abbott.  His past is gradually revealed as the film progresses and by the end you are really hoping he’ll get what he deserves.  Like the first film, The Bourne Supremacy is highly recommended!

Technical

This Blu-ray transfer is identical to the version released in January of 2009 as part of a boxed set.  The big change from the first film is the use of handheld cameras.  Some people may find this movie difficult to watch because of this.  The camera is constantly moving and it can be difficult to follow the action.  It’s still a great ride though, with sharp imagery and a cold foreboding color palette.  Blues and greens abound both indoors and out.  Since most of the story takes place in the winter, this is entirely appropriate.  Contrast is excellent with good shadow detail though film grain is more apparent than in the brighter scenes.  Flesh tones pick up the green and blue tint most of the time but detail is preserved.  Skin textures and hair looked great at all times.

The soundtrack makes great demo material, especially in the extended car chase sequence late in the film.  Dynamic range and soundstage are quite wide with excellent use of the surrounds and subwoofer.  John Powell is once again called on for the musical score and he delivers beautifully.  The haunting bassoon is back for Bourne’s theme and the music fits the movie extremely well.  Dialog is very clear and detailed and always at the front of the soundstage.

Extras

Like The Bourne Identity, this release is a flipper disc with Blu-ray on one side and DVD on the other.  Please read my previous review for my comments on that.  I suspect this will become a trend, at least with Universal releases.

The bonus features are just as impressive as those included with The Bourne Identity.  There are deleted scenes and feature commentary with director Paul Greengrass.  Making of documentaries include casting, pyrotechnics, fight training, car chase creation and even an interview with composer John Powell.  BD Live features include live in-movie chat, webcam video commentary and a card-based strategy game.