Since the 1960's, spy thrillers have basically had one name: Bond, James Bond. Ian Fleming's British agent has been the entire story of spy
franchises... until now.

As the Bond films become more and more ridiculous, the Bourne series has stepped up and actually advanced the genre. I wasn't a huge
fan of The Bourne Identity (**1/2), but it certainly was a step in the right direction for the new generation of spy films.

The Bourne Supremacy is more than a step in the right direction, it is the right direction. It is a gritty, unforgiving look at the life of a
government agent.

The story begins in Goa, India where Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and Marie (Franka Potente) have settled down to try to live a normal life.
Bourne is soon framed for the murder of two agents and is now being hunted by both sides.

After a stunning opening sequence, Bourne decides to take matters into his own hands. From that point on the films never stops moving.
The story spans almost literally, the entire world.

Perhaps the biggest improvement over the first film is the plot. The Bourne Identity had far too much going on. The plot felt unfocused and
a bit confused. In Supremacy, it is like a laser beam.

As the story darts from one location to the next, we never lose interest for a second. We never lose sight of the conspiracies or characters
like in the original. Oh and by the way, Matt Damon kicks ass in this movie. Of course the dramatic acting is good, but it's the action
sequences where Damon truly stuns us. Just watch the movie and try to replicate even the least complicated stuff (like when he punches
out two guys in less than a second while hacking one of the guys cell phones).

Of course that is magnified by new director Paul Greengrass' intense editing and hand held cameras. And that brings me to my one
complaint. While Greengrass' quick editing and wobbly camera work certainly help keep things intense, sometimes it is a bit overdone.
When I can't tell what the hell is happening because the camera is in constant vibration, that's a problem. But honestly, it works more than it
doesn't, so it is a minor annoyance. Luckily, it works for the last action sequence.

The first film was famous for it's car chase. The climactic chase sequence in this movie is jaw dropping. In fact almost all the action is jaw
dropping. I have no idea how they filmed some of that stuff. However, ILM was credited with the effects, so maybe that's all I need to say...

The Bourne Supremacy has everything a serious spy thriller should: a great plot, intense action, and memorable characters. In just two
films, the Bourne series has both outclassed and outdone the recent Bond films in almost every way. Bring on Bourne 3.

* * * 1/2
(out of four)
Directed by: Paul Greengrass

Written by: Tony Gilroy

Starring: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles,
Franka Potente, Karl Urban

Cinematography by: Oliver Wood

Music by: John Powell

Released: July 23, 2004; 108 Minutes